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Disarmament: A Basic Guide

Third Edition

image of Disarmament: A Basic Guide

International peace and security - and therefore disarmament - stand at the core of the UN mandate. This publication is designed to inform, educate and generate public understanding of the importance of multilateral action, and to rally support for it, in the field of arms limitation and disarmament. Intended primarily for the general reader, this basic guide may also be useful for the disarmament educator or trainer. It is published by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in collaboration with the NGO (non-governmental organizations) Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security pursuant to the purposes of the United Nations Disarmament Information Programme.

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Cluster munitions

In simple, functional terms, a cluster munition (or cluster bomb) is a container that holds a number of submunitions, ranging from a few to several hundred. They can be air- or groundlaunched, releasing “bomblets” or “grenades” respectively. Since their design and first use over half a century ago, more than two dozen countries have been affected by the use of cluster munitions and at least 15 countries have used them. Viet Nam, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which were bombed by the United States between 1964 and 1973, together have the tragic distinction of being the world’s most heavily cluster-bombed region.

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