Civil groups rally against cluster bombs (Lebanon)
BEIRUT: The National Mine Awareness Steering Committee (NMASC), in coordination with the Lebanese Army and the Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), held a news conference at Monroe Hotel on Wednesday on the occasion of the Global Day of Action against Cluster Bombs.
Youssef Moucharref, representing the Lebanese Army's National Demining Office, explained the activities carried out by the center, which he said, "is cooperating with international civil organizations for demining and cluster-bomb-clearance operations."
He also tackled the issue of cluster bombs in Lebanon before and after the 2006 war with Israel and the army's plans to deal with the dangerous munitions.
Speaking in the name of NMASC, Ziad Khweiss said the committee's activities included organizing awareness campaigns at schools, establishing checkpoints where awareness brochures are to be distributed and the forwarding of a petition to ban the use of cluster bombs.
"We will also have some advertisements published in newspapers," he added, highlighting the role of media in shedding light on the dimensions of the humanitarian, environmental and economic catastrophe left by Israel.
NPA's head Wafaa Yassir said that there is an Oslo initiative that aims to reach an international convention banning the use, manufacture, storage and trade of cluster bombs by the end of 2008.
Yassir called for condemning the "Zionist enemy" and demanding that it hand over all information about the locations it had planted with cluster bombs during the summer 2006 war.
International efforts, and those by the UN in particular, have failed to force Israel to submit maps of the areas that it littered with cluster bombs.
"I also call on the Lebanese government to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which provides mine victims with all the rights that improve their living standards," she said.
Von: 24.4.2008, www.dailystar.com.lb