For Immediate Release

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Nidya Sarria, media@aiusa.org

USA: Pentagon Cancels Ban On Deadliest Cluster Munitions

WASHINGTON - Responding to news that the US Pentagon will indefinitely postpone a ban on older models of cluster munitions, Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

“Cluster munitions are internationally banned for very good reasons. Those that don’t instantly explode lie dormant until they are uncovered by unsuspecting civilians, often children, killing and maiming them. The decision by the Pentagon to indefinitely postpone a ban on the most dangerous types beggars belief.

“This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the US way out of line with the international consensus – cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries due to their inherently indiscriminate nature and the risks they pose to civilians.

“Apparently conscious of these risks, the Pentagon had originally promised to ban models that result in more than 1% unexploded ordnance by 2019. But today it has reneged on that promise by keeping older types with dud rates* of 20% or more, raising serious questions about its regard for the lives of civilians in war zones.

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“The USA must go much further than past initiatives and immediately join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It must also assist and invest in awareness-raising and clean-up of any unexploded ordnance to protect civilians from the ongoing threat posed by these weapons.”

*Cluster bombs can contain hundreds of small but lethal bomblets. The “dud rate” refers to the percentage of bomblets that fail to explode on impact, leaving large areas strewn with potentially lethal unexploded munitions.

This statement can be found online at https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/usa-pentagon-cancels-ban-on-deadliest-cluster-munitions/

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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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