by Tom Fawthrop
Published: Sep. 30, 2011 – Foreign Policy in Focus
Laos, a small landlocked country in Southeast Asia known as “the most bombed country on earth,” fittingly hosted an international disarmament conference in November 2010.
This was a follow-up to an Oslo conference in 2008 when 94 nations signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty to ban all cluster weapons following in the footsteps of the global campaign to ban landmines which came into force in 1999.
“This convention is a humanitarian instrument in nature that aims to liberate ourselves from fear and threat of cluster bombs,” Saleumxay Kommasith, director general of the Department of International Organizations at the Lao foreign ministry, told IPS news agency. “We view our role in the cluster ban treaty as a contributor to the global effort to ban cluster munitions.”
by Jerome Taylor
Published: Aug. 16, 2011 – The Independent
British high-street banks, including two institutions that were bailed out by taxpayers, are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in companies that manufacture cluster bombs – despite a growing global ban outlawing the production and trade of the weapons.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Barclays and HSBC have all provided funding to the makers of cluster bombs, even as international opinion turns against a weapons system that is inherently indiscriminate and routinely maims or kills civilians.
Published: Aug. 02, 2010 – Al Jazeera
At least 26 million cluster bombs were dropped on Cambodia by the United States during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s.
And decades after the bombs stopped falling, millions of undetonated bombs lying in fields across the country continue to maim thousands of people who are unfortunate enough to step on them.
Efficient Killing, Profits and Human Rights
by Ramzy Baroud
Published: Jul. 11, 2010 – CounterPunch.org
Cluster bombs are in the news again, thanks to a recent report from Amnesty International.
The human rights agency has confirmed that 35 women and children were killed following the latest US attacks on an alleged al-Qaeda hideout in Yemen. Initially, there were attempts to bury the story, and Yemen officially denied that civilians were killed as a result of the December 17 attack on al-Majala in southern Yemen. However, it has been simply impossible to conceal what is now considered the largest loss of life in one single US attack in the country.
If the civilian casualties were indeed a miscalculation on the part of the US military, there should no longer be any doubt about the fact that cluster munitions are far too dangerous a weapon to be utilized in war. And they certainly have no place whatsoever in civilian areas. The human casualties are too large to justify.