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Denmark leads global disarmament, destroys cluster munitions

20.03.2014  08:51
Denmark’s national stockpile of cluster munitions has been destroyed several years ahead of the deadline set by the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This sends a strong signal to other countries to abolish their cluster munitions as soon as possible.

Denmark’s deadline for destroying national stockpiles is not until 2018, but having decided to advance the destruction process, Denmark has now already disposed of the last Danish cluster bombs.

Danish Foreign Minister Mr. Martin Lidegaard is proud that with the destruction of its cluster bombs, Denmark is well in advance of the deadline and is at the forefront of global disarmament:

“It sends a strong signal that Denmark has now destroyed our entire operational stockpile of cluster munitions. Cluster bombs are inhumane weapons which all countries should abolish as soon as possible. Our work does not end here. All states outside the Convention on Cluster Munition must join the convention in order to ensure a total and global ban. I thank the Cluster Munition Coalition and its campaigners around the world for their continued work. In close partnership with likeminded countries and Danish and international humanitarian organisations, we will continue our joint efforts towards a world free from cluster bombs.”

Danish Minister of Defence, Mr. Nicolai Wammen, added:

“I am very satisfied with the completed destruction of the Danish stockpile of cluster muni-tions. Cluster munitions have posed great risks for civilians. Having finalized the destruction of the Danish stockpile so well ahead of the deadline set by the Convention sends a strong signal about our efforts to support the realization of the Convention’s aims. The Danish Defence de-serves great appraisal for their swift handling of this important task.”

The Cluster Munition Coalition, representing humanitarian organisations in 90 countries, is also pleased that the Danish stockpiles have been destroyed. CMC Director Sarah Blakemore:

“The completion of Denmark’s stockpile destruction is a significant milestone in the global fight against this horrific and banned weapon. Completing four and a half years ahead of the dead-line obligated by the Convention on Cluster Munitions shows Denmark’s commitment to the treaty and to the protection of civilians worldwide. We urge all other states to follow Denmark’s example to ensure all stockpiles of cluster munitions are taken out of circulation and can never be used again.”


Cluster bombs are large shells containing up to 200 small deadly bomblets that remain active for many years after they have been dispersed. They can detonate with very little disturbance and are so small that children can pick them up easily. In 2008 the harm cluster bombs had caused civilians led to a ban in the form of an international convention, which presently has 113 signatories. Denmark was amongst the 30 first states ratifying the Convention on Cluster Munition thereby triggering entry into force of the convention on 1 August 2010. The convention commits states to rid themselves of existing cluster munitions within 10 years of joining the convention. 

The Danish stockpile of cluster munitions comprised of approximately 42,000 shells containing a total of approximately 2.5 million bomblets. The destruction of these munitions relied on ex-tensive recycling which has helped minimise destruction costs. The total destruction costs amount to approximately EUR 2.3 million or less than EUR 1 per bomblet. A representative of the Danish Acquisition and Logistics Organization monitored the destruction of the last cluster munitions.

The convention allows for the retention of a limited number of cluster munitions for training in and development of clearance techniques. For this purpose the Danish Defence has retained approximately 3,600 bomblets in order to sustain the expertise to clear this type of ammunition in the future. 

Denmark has for many years supported efforts to universalise the conventions on cluster mu-nitions and anti-personnel mines and has also supported UN work to clear mines, cluster muni-tions and other explosive remnants of war. Between 2013 and 2015 Denmark is providing in-ternational humanitarian organisations with approximately EUR 1.3 million to promote univer-salisation and implementation of the two conventions. Denmark contributed to the work of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) with EUR 4 million across 2013 and 2014.

For more information please contact:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs:  Press Advisor, Marcus Carter Mathiasen, mobile: +45 4153 2567
Ministry of Defence: Duty Press Secretary, telephone: +45 2323 6500
Cluster Munition Coalition: Head of Mine Action, Richard MacCormac, Danish Church Aid, mobile: 2969 9138