Consigning cluster munitions to chapters of history
Discussions begin in Dublin today to develop the treaty for a ban of cluster bombs.
The UK Government is one of more than 100 attending the negotiations. But as Martin Bell points out in today’s Independent, it seem it cannot decide on whether to totally ban these weapons, or to hold to onto a few just in case.
If the UK Government is in a phase of listening to the general public, then my suggestion to them is to go for a total ban of these deadly devices.
According to a recent YouGov poll, more than six out of ten people said the UK Government could no longer be considered to be a force for good if they didn’t support a cluster bombs ban.
British Generals have also lent their support to the call for an outright ban on these deadly weapons, as seen in today’s Times Letters pages.
There really shouldn’t need to be a debate around this issue. Cluster bombs are extremely dangerous explosives. They scatter little bomblets over a wide area, many of which don’t explode on impact.
As a result they can have devastating consequences, especially for children who have picked up unexploded bomblets thinking that they were toys and then been killed or severely injured as a result.
As Thomas Nash writes at AllAfrica.com these weapons have a 98 per cent civilian casualty rate. As a result, they need to be got rid of.
Key states like the UK and Canada need to stick their heads above the parapet and push for a total ban on cluster bombs, with no loopholes or exemptions as the British Government seems to be seeking.
Thomas Nash the international co-ordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition goes on to write in his piece that the banning of cluster bombs should be an open and shut case.
I agree – there really is no place for such indiscriminate weapons in 21st century warfare.
Let’s hope that by the end of the two weeks in Dublin, all 100 states will agree also.
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