As the Guardian reports, the signing of the international cluster munitions treaty has begun. Sadly, there are some nations who insist on retaining their rights to use these indiscriminate bombs and it should come as no great surprise that America is included in the pro-cluster bomb club. Other club members include Iran, Pakistan, India, Russia and Israel. Well with or without them, it is to become International humanitarian law, although frustratingly, many of the countries refusing to sign are major producers, users and stockpilers of the weapons with the good old US of A enjoying top spot. I guess we can always hope that Obama will immediately reverse the Bush position and sign up to the treaty once he moves into the White house. I do remember reading that he voted in favour of the ban when he was Senator of Illinois, so if he doesn’t flip-flop when he takes charge then this treaty is looking even better.
But what’s important right now is that tribute is paid to the politicians, the NGO’s and the human rights campaigners who fought tirelessly for this ban.
Cluster bombs have rightly been described as lethal remnants of war. They have the same humanitarian impact as landmines and they leave the same legacy so although there are some notable exceptions from the unified agreement, this historic achievement will hopefully serve to demonise the weapons worldwide and bring international condemnation on the countries that continue to use them. If other powerful major NATO countries can abandon these weapons, why can’t America?
“…the road to Oslo does not end in Oslo. It ends when use of these weapons has ceased, when stockpiles are eliminated, when contaminated areas have been cleared and when victims have been helped to rebuild their lives.”
Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross