North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries were sternly reprimanded on Saturday for “supplying cluster munitions or failing to condemn their supply and use.”
“Circumstances under which the use of cluster munitions is acceptable simply don’t exist,” said Charlotte Slente, secretary-general of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), an NGO refugee relief organization clearing mines in eight countries.
Invited to speak with the Parliamentary Assembly during the 69th annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen, Slente criticized the lack of condemnation on cluster munitions from other countries.
“The United States providing cluster bombs to Ukraine is reprehensible and cannot be defended in any way,” she said.
“Using it on either side of the war is absolutely unjustifiable, no matter the circumstances, and so is supplying it to the fighting parties. There is no excuse or exception,” she added.
A diplomat who used to work at Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slente reprimanded the assembly for sending a clear message to the defense ministers and national politicians present “when they think about defense options in their own home countries.”
“The fact that other NATO countries did not protest is a moral failure”, she said. “A failure to condemn use under any circumstances signals a view that the use of weapons that cause unacceptable suffering and harm is acceptable.”
According to the DRC, 95 percent of the victims of recorded cluster munitions in 2022 were civilians. “Of those whose age is known, 71 percent were children.”
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen runs from Oct. 6 to Oct. 9, 2023.