No declaration on cluster ban (FIJI)
FIJI has not declared its commitment to ban cluster munitions that result in thousands of injuries and fatalities throughout the globe annually. However, Fiji still has the opportunity to sign the so-called Wellington Declaration before the Diplomatic Conference in Dublin, Ireland from May 19 to 30.
Nine Pacific Island nations including Australia and New Zealand have led the way for the region in declaring its commitment to ban cluster munitions.
Other nations that signed the declaration are Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, Marshall Islands, Niue, Cook Islands and Palau.
They joined 73 other countries that signed the declaration to create a new treaty that would prohibit cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.
The 73 nations that signed the declaration were part of a group of 103 countries that met in Wellington, New Zealand from February 18 to 22 to continue work on an international treaty to address the humanitarian consequences of cluster munitions. Afghani national, Soraj Ghulam Habib, 16, 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 and 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." Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau could not be contacted for a comment yesterday.
The International Committee of the Red Cross welcomed the outcome of the Wellington Conference. The committee has urged states to conclude a treaty that would prohibit the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of inaccurate and unreliable cluster munitions; require current stocks to be destroyed; and provide for victim assistance, the clearance of cluster munitions and activities to minimise their impact on civilian populations.
Von: www.fijitimes.com, 29.02.2008