Nine Pacific nations declare cluster ban

Nine Pacific Island nations have led the way for the region in declaring their commitment to banning cluster munitions. Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Samoa, Marshall Islands, Niue, Cook Islands and Palau signed the commitment last weekend joining 73 other countries in the so-called Wellington Declaration, committing them to conclude a new treaty in 2008 that will prohibit cluster munitions that "cause unacceptable harm to civilians".


They were part of a group of 103 countries that met in Wellington, New Zealand from 18-22 February to continue work on an international treaty to address the humanitarian consequences of cluster munitions.

Fiji still has time to sign the Declaration before the Diplomatic Conference in Dublin, Ireland from 19-30 May 2008, where States supporting this process will meet to negotiate and adopt the agreement.

Soraj Ghulam Habib, a 16-year-old Afghani national who lost both legs and a finger to a cluster submunition addressed the Wellington conference and urged the delegates to support a strong cluster munition treaty.

"Cluster munitions prevented me to go to school, play with the kids, do social activities. Cluster munitions destroyed my dreams. People laugh at me and have a negative attitude vis--vis me. They see me as a beggar. They pity me."

Von:, 28.02.2008

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