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International

Denmark dismantles last cluster bombs

The total destruction of the stockpile cost the state 17.5 million kroner


Dismantled over four years ahead of schedule, Denmark is leading the way in munitions disarmament (Photo: Forsvarets Materieltjeneste)

March 20, 2014
16:41

by Christian Wenande


Denmark has dismantled the rest of its cluster bomb stockpile several years ahead of schedule, thus sending a strong signal to the rest of the world.

The deadline for the destruction of Denmark’s national cluster bomb munitions stockpile was actually not until 2018 as per the UN-run Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard (R), is pleased that the Scandinavian nation is showing the way.

“It sends a strong signal that Denmark has now destroyed our entire operational stockpile of cluster munitions,” Lidegaard said in a press release. “Cluster bombs are inhumane weapons that all countries should abolish as soon as possible.”

Lidegaard went on to say that he hoped that all states had joined the Convention on Cluster Munition in order to ensure a total and global ban.

Sarah Blakemore, the head Cluster Munition Coalition, which represents humanitarian organisations in 90 countries, expressed her delight following the news.

“That Denmark has completed the destruction of its cluster bomb stockpile is a milestone in the global battle against this terrible and forbidden weapon,” Blakemore said.

“We urge all nations to follow Denmark’s example and ensure that all cluster bomb stockpiles are taken out of commission and never used again.”

READ MORE: Ban on investment in "indiscriminate weapons" proposed 

Deadly decades later
The cluster bomb ejects up to 200 smaller explosive charges that are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles, but because the released smaller bombs are scattered over a wide area, they are a high risk to civilians, especially in populated areas.

Because the smaller explosive charges can remain active many years after being dropped and are about the size of a can of soft drink, children are able to pick them up and detonate them.

The Danish cluster bomb stockpile had included about 42,000 bombs containing around 2.5 million smaller explosive charges. The total destruction of the stockpile cost the state 17.5 million kroner.

The convention permits nations to keep a limited number of cluster bomb munitions and explosive charges for educational purposes, and the Danish Defence has kept about 3,600 charges in order to maintain its expertise in mine and explosive clearing.



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