Magazine article The Christian Century

Humanitarian Concerns Stall Cluster Bomb Accord

Magazine article The Christian Century

Humanitarian Concerns Stall Cluster Bomb Accord

Article excerpt

Religious leaders and disarmament campaigners hailed the decision in Geneva by 50 countries to derail a proposal backed by the United States, Russia, China, India and Israel to create a new global accord on cluster bombs, contending that it did not meet humanitarian concerns.

The proposal, put forth during the Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), which ended November 25, called for the destruction of all cluster munitions produced before 1980. However, it would have allowed the use of munitions with a failure rate of 1 percent or less, as well as those with only one safeguard mechanism.

"The bottom line is the use of these weapons would have continued in some form, and we look to the day when these weapons are banned," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent representative to the UN.

A cluster bomb releases smaller bomblets designed to kill enemy personnel and damage vehicles and enemy munitions. The Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions, enacted in 2010 and ratified by 111 countries, imposed a comprehensive ban on cluster bombs and mandated the destruction of existing stockpiles.

Despite changes introduced by the U. …

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