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Cluster munitions finally banned

December 5, 2008

On wednesday 3. december, representatives from governments around the world signed the most significant disarmament treaty of the decade, banning the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

Les om klasevåpenforbudet på norsk hos Norsk Folkehjelp.

– This treaty shows what can be achieved when states and civil society act together, said Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) Grethe Østern of Norwegian People’s Aid.

– This is a victory because the treaty outlines clear obligations for states to help survivors, clear the land and destroy stockpiles so that the weapon can never be used again, Østern said.

18 of 26 NATO countries are signing the treaty, including the UK, France and Germany, as well as most African and Latin American countries, and some of the most contaminated nations, including Laos and Lebanon. However, some of the largest military powers in the world – such as USA,and Russia –  have not been willing to sign. Neither have heavy users of cluster munitions such as Israel.

CMC Co-Chair Steve Goose, Director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch hopes that the treaty will stigmatize the use of the weapon by all countries, even those who have not yet signed the treaty.

– This is a time to celebrate, but the work doesn’t stop here. It is time for countries to turn these binding words on paper into a reality on the ground, Goose concluded.

Photo: John Rodsted

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