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12-year old Muhammad | Lebanon

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

The Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted to address a serious humanitarian

problem: the unacceptable levels of death, injury and unspeakable suffering caused by

cluster munitions. These weapons pose a grave danger to civilians and have long-term

consequences for war-affected communities.

In 2006, 12-year old Muhammad lost both

his legs and suffered severe burns due to an accident with unexploded submunitions. He has not been back to school, as there are no toilets for the disabled. Muhammad and his family are

refugees living in poverty. Muhammad was fitted with his first artificial limb in 2008. Rashidiyeh Palestinian Camp, Tyre, Lebanon, 2008.

© Marko Kokic, ICRC

Cluster munitions are unacceptable mainly for two reasons: Firstly, they are designed to disperse large quantities of explosive submunitions over wide areas and are unable to distinguish between civilians and combatants. Secondly, the use of cluster munitions leaves behind large numbers of dangerous unexploded ordnance. Such remnants kill and injure civilians, obstruct economic and social development, and have other severe consequences that persist for years and decades after use. The levels of death, injury and suffering caused by cluster munitions are therefore unacceptable.

© Marko Kokic, ICRC

Cluster munitions routinely inflict suffering significantly over and above that created by

other types of weapons. In some countries and regions, submunitions are a major cause

of deaths and injuries to civilians. In fact, 94% of all recorded cluster munition casualties

are civilians, of which 40% are children.

Unexploded submunitions continue to kill and maim civilians long after a conflict has ended. Children are particularly impacted, as submunitions are small

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