Cluster bombs banned by the UK
25 Mar 2010 - A Bill banning the use, production and stockpiling of cluster munitions will come into immediate effect today. The step by the UK increases momentum for a global ban on cluster munitions. The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act received Royal Assent today. The Act implements in domestic law the Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibitions on the use, development, production and stockpiling of cluster munitions.
Whilst momentum is building behind the Convention, with 104 countries already signed up to it, others such as the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan and Israel have still not signed up to this ban on cluster munitions. With implementing legislation now in place the UK's efforts will focus on making the ban on cluster munitions a global one. We are already taking forward work on this and lobbying at international meetings.
Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant, who is the minister responsible for steering the bill through parliament, said the UK should be proud to be leading the way on banning cluster bombs. He added:
"Of the thousands who have been maimed or killed by cluster munitions the vast majority, more than 60 percent, are civilians going around their daily business. A third of them have been children. That is why we are determined not to use cluster munitions anymore."
The Prime Minister said:
"Cluster munitions cause immense suffering to civilians caught in conflict zones, and leave a deadly post-conflict legacy for future generations. I am hugely proud that with this Bill receiving Royal Assent, Britain is leading the world in banning the use of these munitions and moving to end the harm they cause.
"But this alone is not enough. We want all other users and producers of these munitions around the world to follow in our footsteps: we want nothing less than a full global ban on cluster munitions, with all countries signing up to the international Convention. There can be no place in the international community for cruel and indiscriminate weaponry such as cluster bombs."
Richard Moyes, Director of Policy & Research, Landmine Action said:
"Passing this law sends a strong signal of the UK's determination to protect civilians from the effects of conflict. The support the bill has received shows a cross party commitment to this humanitarian issue."
In implementing international obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions the Act paves the way for UK ratification. It shows the UK's continued leadership on arms control, from landmines to the Arms Trade Treaty.
The Act will ban direct financing of cluster munitions production. The Government announced to Parliament in a WMS on 7 December 2009 that it will work with the financial sector, NGOs and other interested parties to promote a voluntary code of conduct to prevent indirect financing of cluster munitions.