The US, Russia, China and Israel have lost a battle to get cluster bombs legalised. The weapons, which scatter ‘bomblets’ over a wide area, were banned in 2008, but the US and a number other countries have refused to sign up to the ban and have been working instead to get it overturned.
From Lebanon to Iraq and Afghanistan, cluster bombs have been widely used in recent years. The main reason why so many people are opposed to them is that by design they leave behind smaller bombs, which are often found by children or civilians.
The UK was one of a number of countries that blocke the US-led bid; others included Portugal, France, Germany, Italy and Australia. However, the US and its allies are likely to continue to push for the legalisation of the devices, and some critics argue that cluster bombs are still going to be used in combat situations regardless of their legality.