Most British people believe UK Government cannot claim to be a force for good unless it agrees to cluster bombs ban

UK campaign to ban cluster bombs

Nearly eight out of ten people (79%) in Great Britain think the government should support a worldwide ban on cluster bombs according to a new YouGov poll released today.

Findings from the poll commissioned by Amnesty International, Landmine Action and Oxfam also indicate that more than six out of ten people (62%) believe that the UK Government cannot claim to act as a force for good in the world if it fails to adopt the treaty.

These findings come days before a major conference in Dublin where world leaders will finalise the text of an international treaty to ban the use and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

Landmine Action’s Director, Simon Conway said:

“The polling is clear; people recognise that if Britain is to be a force for good in the world, the government should totally ban these weapons – no exemptions, no loopholes.”

Cluster munitions release and scatter smaller bomblets indiscriminately over a wide area. Many of the bomblets do not explode on impact, remaining lethal to the civilian population. These weapons can cause injury and death in communities for months and even years after wars are over.

Children's rights are often the main victims of these weapons as they have been injured or killed while picking up unexploded bomblets thinking the devices were toys.
Currently more than 100 governments support the international cluster munitions treaty.

The UK – the world’s third largest user of cluster bombs in the last decade – is seeking to gain exemptions to the treaty for the types of cluster munitions that it stockpiles.

In addition it is lobbying for changes to the treaty which would give tacit approval for the US to continue using them and allow them to be stored in US air force bases on UK soil.

Simon Conway said:

“It’s terrible hypocrisy, on the one hand to say that these weapons cause unacceptable harm and ban them and on the other hand to give a sly nod to the US to continue using them.”

Amnesty International’s Arms Programme Director, Oliver Sprague, said:

“Evidence from recent conflicts has shown that cluster bombs are inherently unreliable, inaccurate and have no place in modern warfare.

“If the UK Government wants to be seen to uphold international law, it has a duty to make sure that these indiscriminate weapons are no longer part of its arsenal.”

The YouGov poll also found that 73% of those surveyed would be “disappointed” if the government failed to adopt an international treaty.

Head of Oxfam in Scotland, Judith Robertson said:

"This poll shows that the overwhelming support for a binding treaty banning cluster bombs is even more marked in Scotland, where 85% of respondents support a ban.

“As we approach crucial talks in Dublin this weekend, the poll sends a clear message to the UK Government that the public expects them to act as a force for good internationally. Ministers who represent Scottish constituencies must listen to public opinion and grasp this opportunity to secure a ban on these lethal weapons."

On Tuesday (13 May), the All Party Group for Landmine Eradication held an event in Parliament with the UK Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs where they called on the UK Government to support the negotiation of the strongest possible instrument banning cluster munitions in Dublin next week.

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