Ban on Cluster Munitions Only Sane, Humane Option
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Despite being more lethal than landmines there is still no treaty that controls cluster munitions - which is why a conference hosted by New Zealand this week could play such a crucial role in banning these weapons.
The Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions (February 18-22) aims to deliver a draft treaty text that will be negotiated in Ireland in May. Amnesty International, amongst other members of the Cluster Munitions Coalition, will be campaigning to ensure that draft commits to a total ban, without exemptions such as self-destruct mechanisms or a 1% dud rate.
"These weapons are designed to spread their payload of bomblets far and wide. Because anywhere between 25-40% of them fail to detonate, long after a conflict is over it is often innocent civilians and in particular children who lose limbs, lives or loved ones when they pick cluster munitions up," says Amnesty International NZ spokesperson, Margaret Taylor.
"The only guaranteed way to prevent this carnage is to ensure cluster munitions are banned, and that adequate resources are provided to assist survivors and to clear areas contaminated with unexploded cluster munitions. That is the only sane, humane way forward," says Taylor.
Amnesty International is campaigning to ban cluster munitions and opposes their manufacture, stockpiling, transfer and use worldwide.
Cluster munitions are weapons that are fired, launched or dropped by aircraft or land-based artillery. The munitions open in the air and scatter large numbers of sub munitions (bomblets) that are designed to explode when they hit the target. Because of the large number of bomblets in each weapon, and the high explosion failure rate areas bombarded with cluster munitions become contaminated with unexploded bomblets which can remain on the ground for many years.
Amnesty International members will be amongst those taking action from midday-5pm on Wednesday, February 20 in Civic Square to highlight the human cost of cluster munitions.