Congratulations to Cluster Munitions Campaigners

This week campaigners succeeded in attracting some 100 countries to Oslo, Norway to sign a ban on cluster munitions.  This is a historic development of humanitarian law, further extending the norm that civilians have a right to life, even in war.

The new treaty marks the culmination of a long campaign seeking regulations on cluster bombs, dating back to the Vietnam War.  For historical perspective, click here. Nonetheless, the rapid rise to prominance of the Cluster Munition Coalition owes its success to its shrewd campaigning, broad linkages, clever media outreach and the diplomatic talent of its coordinator, Thomas Nash. Read their press release on the treaty here.

The cluster munitions also marks a replication and innovation of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, with small countries, NGOs and social movements standing up to great powers and military establishments, calling for constraints on the technologies of violence.

Cluster munitions are particularly pernicious weapons; 98% of cluster bomb casualties are civilians.  They scatter indiscriminately over wide areas and many remain unexploded and unstable in the ground, like de facto landmines, long after the end of war.  To learn more about cluster munitions, click here. To view a web video on cluster munitions, click here.

Unfortunately there are some notable absences from the treaty, including the great powers such as the US, Russia and China.  The campaign must thus continue to push for universalization of the treaty and the norm.

In terms of the US, Barack Obama has a good legislative record on arms control issues, but is currently sitting on the fence as to whether he will sign the treaty when he comes to office. Click here to read more.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 5 December 2008.

2 Responses to “Congratulations to Cluster Munitions Campaigners”

  1. […] To see my earlier posting on this week’s signing of the cluster bomb treaty, click here. […]

  2. […] UK, click here.  For an earlier post congratulating the success of the Cluster Munition Coalition, click here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Kampala Action PlanMAC: PRESS RELEASE:Cluster […]

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