Rights group urges ban of cluster munitions by 2008

New York (dpa) - Human Rights Watch on Tuesday urged governments meeting this week in Norway to ban the use of cluster munitions considered the greatest threat to civilians in conflicts.


The Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions Thursday and Friday should agree on a treaty banning the weapons by 2008, the New York- based group said.

"No conventional weapon poses greater danger to civilians today than cluster munitions," said Steve Goose, director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch.

"Governments should act with an urgency that matches this threat and conclude a new treaty restricting cluster munitions by next year," he said.

The group said more than 30 countries have formally declared their support for a new treaty, backing the position of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and many other non- governmental groups. Legislators in some countries, including the US and Britain, have also voiced support for the treaty. Human Rights Watch said the US and Britain are two of the biggest users of cluster munitions in combat areas.

The group said cluster munitions pose a double threat as they can cause death immediately or act like a landmine. A cluster bomb can spread a large number of unexploded submunitions, or duds, which can kill or maim people long after a conflict has ended.

The organization said there are billions of submunitions stocked in more than 70 countries and used in at least 23 countries.

Von: 20.02.2007 www.eux.tv

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