Statement calling for end of Cluster Munitions in Ukraine and Around the World
July 8, 2023 - Save the Children is reaffirming its call that all parties to conflict end the use of cluster munitions after Friday’s announcement of U.S. military aid to Ukraine brought new attention to these explosive weapons.
James Denselow, Head of Conflict & Humanitarian team at Save the Children UK, said:
“Save the Children has long called for warring parties to end the use of cluster munitions—in the conflict in Ukraine and around the world. Children in Ukraine have long suffered from the direct and indirect impacts of these weapons. For some, it means they cannot go to class or see a doctor because those facilities are damaged or the trip requires them to cross land contaminated with scattered bomblets. For other children, cluster munitions mean injury—or even death.
“These weapons spread bomblets indiscriminately over large areas, so civilians and civilian infrastructure are easily hit. The bomblets themselves often fail to explode, littering communities with unexploded ordnances. Many children are then killed or injured when they innocently pick up the curious objects. Children’s small bodies are more susceptible to these blast injuries than adults’.
“Children and families are suffering under the ongoing and increasing threat of accidentally setting off an explosive.
"Save the Children welcomes the UK’s continued commitment to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and urges them to work closely with relevant actors in Ukraine to support the awareness raising and clearance of these weapons that pose such a disproportionate risk to children."
- Save the Children and Imperial College London’s Paediatric Blast Injury Partnership developed The Paediatric Blast Injury Field Manual, a comprehensive guide to injuries suffered by children from attacks like airstrikes and weapons like artillery and landmines. It features step-by-step instructions that cover situations ranging from resuscitating children on the battlefield and saving limbs, to rehabilitation, and psychological care. The manual was published in 2019, has been translated into six languages, and distributed in conflict zones including Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Now, a team of medics are training medics in Ukraine on how to treat children with blast injuries.
- Save the Children educates children in Ukraine on the risks of landmines and other explosives through awareness seminars in schools and by distributing informational materials. Following the Kakhovka dam breach in June, Save the Children and the Ukrainian Deminers Association launched an online campaign to educate members of the public about the dangers of unexploded ordnances dislodged by flood waters.
- In the first year following the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, the amount of Ukrainian land contaminated with explosive ordnances increased tenfold.
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