The Saudi-led aggression on Yemen has on at least two separate occasions used cluster bombs to attack villages in Yemen's northern Saada Province, according to Human Rights Watch. Cluster munitions are imprecise weapons which often fail to detonate on impact, leaving the unexploded bomb on the ground, ready to kill or maim when disturbed or handled.
The failure rate of cluster munitions is high, ranging from 30 to 80 percent. But “failure” may be the wrong word. They may, in fact, be designed to kill later. Reports from humanitarian organizations and mine-clearing groups have shown that civilians make up the vast majority of the victims of cluster bombs, especially children attracted by their small size and often bright colors.
Cluster weapons had been largely used by US forces during the Vietnam War, especially along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The impact is still being felt, and much land is unfit for cultivation.
The revulsion at the consequences and long-lasting impact led to the start of negotiations in Geneva leading to the Convention on Prohibition on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects − called by its friends “the 1980 Inhumane Weapons Convention.”
My NGO text presented during the negotiations in August 1979 for the Citizens of the World on “Anti-Personnel Fragmentation Weapons” called for a ban based on the 1868 St Petersburg Declaration—at the time the only law of war standard which seemed to apply.