VIENTIANE, Laos, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Supporting a ban on cluster bombs doesn't translate to a blanket halt to proliferation of the weapons, Human Rights Watch said ahead of a summit in Laos.
A 304-page report released last week by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor found that of the more than 16,500 casualties linked to cluster munitions globally. Most of the injuries were caused by munitions that didn't detonate properly during initial deployment.
The organization credited London with taking the lead in destroying its stockpile of cluster munitions. Authorities with the group said the United States, Russia, China and Israel are the largest military users of cluster bombs.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions. Human Rights Watch blames Washington in particular for stating its belief that it can engage in some use in the weapons.
"Countries that support the ban need to interpret it and carry it out in a comprehensive way to end the humanitarian harm caused by cluster munitions," said Bonnie Docherty, a weapons researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. "This means explicitly prohibiting assistance to other countries with activities banned by the convention."
The criticism comes ahead of a Tuesday meeting in Laos on cluster munitions, the first formal meeting for countries that have signed on to the ban.