Cluster Bomb Ban Closer to Ratification: UN

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Agence France-Presse

Cluster Bomb Ban Closer to Ratification: UN

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A cluster bomb (including its bomblets) is on display at the Spreewerk ISL Integrated Solutions weapons decommissioning facility near Luebben in 2009. The United Nations announced that a 30th country had signed on to the international convention banning cluster bombs, paving the way for the document to come into force on August 1.

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations announced that a 30th country had signed on to the international convention banning cluster bombs, paving the way for the document to come into force on August 1.

"The United Nations received today the 30th instrument of ratification for the Convention on Cluster Munition," said a statement from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's press office.

"The Secretary-General welcomes this major advance on the global disarmament agenda, and notes that the Convention's entry into force just two years after its adoption demonstrates the world's collective revulsion at the impact of these terrible weapons," according to the UN statement.

"Cluster munitions are unreliable and inaccurate. During conflict and long after it has ended, they maim and kill scores of civilians, including many children," the UN said.

The munitions can also impair post-conflict recovery by making roads and land inaccessible to farmers and aid workers, the statement added.

Burkina Faso and Moldova were the 29th and 30th countries to sign on for ratification after the Convention was opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008.

"The short time it took to reach this milestone shows that governments have a strong desire never to see these terrible weapons used again," said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch.

The convention prohibits the use, production, and trade in cluster munitions and requires assistance to victims of the weapons.

"In light of this new international law, it is especially important for former users of the weapon -- such as the United States, Russia, and Israel -- to re-examine their positions, which put questionable claims of military necessity above the well-documented humanitarian damage cluster munitions cause," Goose said.

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