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Cluster Bombs, Banned / Not Banned

  • November 2nd, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

cluster-bomb.jpgCluster bombs are back under surveillance after the publication of a new report (1.11.10) on efforts to reduce stocks of the weapons globally.

In Australia Lawyers for Human Rights have complained that a recent treaty agreement entered into by the federal government, has not gone far enough in preventing firms from doing business with traders in such arms.

Legislation passed in August made Australia a signatory to the International Convention on Cluster Munitions, with critics welcoming the change, but saying it is weak enough, event to allow them to be stored in the country.

The Human Rights watch organisation marked the first three months of the convention with a declaration  that “remarkable progress” had already been made, with 108 countries agreeing to join in suppressing their use, with seven countries announcing a total ban – meaning the destruction of some 176000 explosive devices.

cluster-bomb-2.jpgCluster bombs are canisters packed with smaller ones that scatter and then themselves detonate when the main device goes off, shattering the area with shrapnel – a savage weapon  not so much destructive to objects, but devastatingly  harmful to persons.

Steve Goose, from Human Rights Watch, releasing the organisation’s progress report in Bangkok, said such arms were “among the most shocking ever developed”.

He said they were believed to have been used in 39 countries, killing or injuring 85 000 people.

The United States, a major exporter of cluster bombs in  the past, has imposed its own ban on exporting them now, but has not signed the convention.

Other major producers – China, Israel and Russia – have likewise refused.

The bombs, also called fragmentation bombs, are sometimes put in the category of sous munitions or low-level munitions, along with anti-personnel land mines.

The latter, also banned today by Australia and most other powers, but still in  production, are still littering the Earth, unexploded, in battlefields-past, and directly harmful to persons including children.

Reference

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR), Sydney, (home). http://www.alhr.asn.au/, (2.11.10).

Kerry Smith, “Call to ban cluster bomb investment”, Green Left Weekly, Sydney, 24.10.10. http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/45812, (2.11.10).

Le Monde, Paris, Des progrès “remarquables” dans la lutte contre les armes à fragmentation (“Remarkable” progress in  the struggle to control fragmentation weapons), 1.11.10. http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2010/11/01/des-progres-remarquables-dans-la-lutte-contre-les-armes-a-fragmentation_1433977_3210.html#xtor=EPR-32280229-[NL_Tit, (2.11.10).

Radio Australia, Melbourne, “Australia hit over law for cluster bomb ban”, 1.11.10. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/asiapac/stories/201011/s3054383.htm, (2.11.10).

Pictures   henryjacksonsociety.org, thewe.cc

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