Norway condemns use of cluster bombs in South Sudan

The UN has reported that remnants of recently-used cluster munitions have been found in South Sudan. “It is completely unacceptable that cluster bombs have been used in the conflict in South Sudan. Norway condemns all use of cluster munitions,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The UN has reported that remnants of recently-used cluster munitions have been found in South Sudan. “It is completely unacceptable that cluster bombs have been used in the conflict in South Sudan. Norway condemns all use of cluster munitions,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has found remnants of recently-used cluster munitions along a stretch of road between the South Sudanese capital, Juba, and the town of Bor. The team found remnants of up to eight RBK-250-275 cluster bombs, which each contain 147 bomblets or submunitions. Bombs of this kind are usually dropped from aircraft, and they explode in the air, spreading their submunitions over a wide area. The submunitions are unstable and detonate easily.

Norway played an active part in the process to negotiate the Convention on Cluster Munitions, an international treaty that prohibits all use of cluster munitions. A total of 113 states have now joined the Convention, but South Sudan is not among them.

After armed conflict broke out between factions loyal to President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar in mid-December, over 870 000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

“The remnants that have been found may indicate yet another breach of the Agreements on Cessation of Hostilities, which the parties to the conflict signed on 23 January. The use of cluster munitions will only serve to exacerbate and prolong the conflict. The parties must honour their commitments to end all hostilities and enter into genuine dialogue with a view to finding a political solution. Civil society organizations including women’s rights organizations should be active parts of the process,” said Mr Brende.

The humanitarian situation in South Sudan is rapidly deteriorating. More than three million people are in need of food, water, blankets and medicines. The UN has warned that the food security situation is further deteriorating. So far, Norway has provided NOK 100 million for the emergency relief efforts.