Arms control

Cluster Munitions

What are cluster munitions?

Cluster munitions are explosive weapons that release small sub-munitions or bomblets. Because cluster bombs release many small bomblets over a wide area, they pose considerable risks to civilians during attacks and afterwards. Many cluster munitions may remain unexploded, posing a risk to civilians long after a conflict has ended.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which entered into force on August 1, 2010, contains an absolute prohibition on the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions, as well as banning assistance with any of these activities. However, Canada’s proposed implementing legislation, Bill C-6, would allow activities by Canadian forces that contravene both the spirit and letter of the treaty.

WFMC took the stance that Bill C-6, even with the changes made at committee, would still require additional amendments in order that the legislation conform to the objects and purposes of the Convention.

Numerous legal experts called for C-6 to be radically revised, to eliminate the “exceptions” (Article 11) that allow Canadian soldiers to participate in actions otherwise proscribed by the treaty.

Furthermore, while the CCM does not permit reservations, the numerous “exceptions” in Article 11 of C-6 served a similar purpose to a reservation, as they allow Canadian personnel to carry out precisely the types of activities the treaty is meant to eliminate, and are therefore contrary to the spirit and intent of the Convention.

Canada ratified the CCM on March 17, 2015.

 

Background Information

MEDIA ADVISORY: Canada’s regrettable Cluster Munitions legislation (March 17, 2015)

MEDIA ADVISORY: WFM-C expresses regret at passage of faulty Canadian cluster munitions law (November 20, 2014)

Submission provided by World Federalist Movement – Canada to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development Regarding Bill C-6, An Act to Implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions (November 2013)

MEDIA ADVISORY: Canada’s Flawed Cluster Munitions Bill (May 30, 2013)

Canada’s cluster munitions bill undermines treaty / Fergus Watt (Mondial, December 2012)

Canada’s cluster bomb loopholes by Warren Allmand (Ottawa Citizen, November 18, 2012)

Notes for a presentation by Hon. Warren Allmand, P.C., O.C., Q.C., National President, World Federalist Movement – Canada to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Regarding Bill S10, Proposed Canadian Legislation to Implement the Convention on CLuster Munitions (October 18, 2012)

Open Letter to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird Re: Bill S10 – The proposed Canadian Legislation to Implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions, signed by 24 legal experts (October 17, 2012)

Stink-bomb: Draft law would gut cluster treaty / Fergus Watt (Mondial, June 2012)

Review: Cluster munitions treaty: a history / Robin Collins (Mondial, December 2011)

Further resources

Full text of the Convention on Cluster Munitions


Bill C-6, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Standing House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Comments by Robin Collins, former chair, Mines Action Canada, to Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, October 18, 2012, Regarding Bill S-10

Video of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (October 18, 2012): Ilario Maiolo (Canadian Red Cross), Louis Maresca (International Committee of the Red Cross), Warren Allmand (World Federalist Movement), Robin Collins, and Walter Dorn, testify and continue to discuss Bill S-10, An Act to implement Canada’s international obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Tamar Gabelnick (Cluster Munition Coalition), Paul Hannon and Erin Hunt (both from Mines Action Canada), and Ken Epps (Project Ploughshares) discuss why the bill should be amended by the Senate.