ATFL Applauds 94 Countries Signing Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo
President-Elect Barack Obama has said he supports initiatives to minimize civilian casualties from conventional weapons, including cluster munitions. The
Because of cluster bombs’ impact on noncombatants, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and hundreds of humanitarian groups around the world have condemned the use of these weapons. A group of retired British military officers was influential in persuading the British prime minister to agree to give up cluster bombs.
The Foreign Ministers of
Cluster munitions are fired from aircraft or artillery and spray smaller “bomblets” over an expanse the size of two football fields. Many do not explode on impact but remain in fields and parks as instruments of war, waiting to be found by unsuspecting civilians. Many of the unexploded munitions look like harmless objects, such as toys or cans of food.
“Like the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions is establishing a powerful, humanitarian benchmark that cluster bombs are no longer an acceptable weapon of war,” said Dr.
The Pentagon has opposed an outright ban on the weapons, arguing that their military utility outweighs the humanitarian concerns. In
“This treaty signing means a lot to me and the other victims and family members who have lost loved ones to these weapons,” said
SOURCE American Task Force for