Cluster Munition Monitor 2017 Fragments

Cluster Munition Monitor 2017 and the Fragments Collection.

The exhibition Fractured in Penang at the George Town Festival is showing art that is inspired by conflict.

Side by side, the Fragments collection and Witness Collection are a testimony of the horrors of war.

Still, the work doesn’t exclusively depict the atrocities of combat but rather illustrates hope.

The Fragments collection was created as a vehicle to raise funding in order to clear landmines.

Art is an investigation of thoughts and emotions and through that process we can sometimes create something that is helpful.

The sculptures of the Fragments collection were modelled in clay as entire figures then deliberately destroyed.

The remaining fragment went to the foundry to be cast in bronze.

These sculptures have done much good by raising over $300,000 for landmine clearance, but it is disheartening to read The Cluster Munition Monitor Report for 2017 that has just been released.

While 119 countries have signed or acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the report indicates a significant increase in the use of cluster munitions in the past year ending in August 2017. [1]

It confirms the highest number of casualties since reporting began in 2009, with 971 new cluster munitions casualties, the majority occurring in Syria (860), Lao PDR (51), and Yemen (38).

As is commonly found 98% of all casualties, whose status was recorded, were civilians.

The Cluster Munition Monitor reported that the total globally documented casualties caused by cluster munitions since 1960 is estimated at more than 21,200.

When estimating casualties including unrecorded or undocumented occurrences, total global numbers approximate 56,000, with the majority remaining civilians.

The new increased contamination in Syria, Yemen and in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan over the last year, will without doubt lead to a continuing raise in number of casualties in the coming years.

Although the Dubrovnik Action Plan has committed signatory States to improving assistance for the victims of cluster munitions by 2020, the availability and quality of rehabilitation has been hampered by the recent declines in international funding.

This has, in turn, restricted the deliver of the immediate type of assistance that cluster munitions victims require to sustain life due to the sever nature of the injury usually suffered by the victim.

On the side of hope it was estimated that clearance activities would have decontaminated approximately eighty-eight square kilometers of land resulting in the destruction of over 140,000 sub-munitions.

However, the continuation of the conflict restricted clearance activities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia, as well as in and six countries that are non-signatories to the agreement; Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

We must remember that we are winning this struggle to rid the world of explosive remnants of war and have succeeded in clearing much of our world of these silent assassins.

Although 2017 appears to be a set back in our progress we should see it as a call to increase our efforts for “…the task that has been set before us is not above our strength…” [2]

[1] The information above is taken directly from The Cluster Munition Monitor 2017 Report. The full report can be found here pdf

[2] Sir Winston Churchill

Fragment Butterfly PFM-1 a contemporary sculpture representing a fragmented male figure in bronze. Created by Blake Ward Cluster Munition Monitor 2017 Fragments
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