NY Times Cites Allegations of US Cluster Munition Use in Yemen

This week the New York Times cited Amnesty International’s allegations that the US used cluster munitions in a strike in Yemen in December 2009.  The article also references a Yemeni parliamentary committee inquiry, which found that the strike, that claimed to target militants, killed over 40 civilians at the time. The inquiry claimed an additional 12 casualties (three killed, nine injured) were caused by unexploded ordnance after the strike. The Yemeni government has denied the allegations.

“Amnesty International is gravely concerned by evidence that cluster munitions appear to have been used in Yemen, when most states around the world have committed to comprehensively ban these weapons,” said Mike Lewis, Amnesty International’s arms control researcher.

The use of cluster munitions by the US is highly disappointing. Obama voted in favor of restrictions on cluster munitions as a senator and in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech argued that:

“Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct…. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war.”

Anti-cluster munition campaigners in the US are currently trying to get on-the-record comment from the White House or Defense Department as to the truth of these allegations.

Neither the USA nor Yemen are among the over 100 countries that have signed the Cluster Munition Convention, which entered into force this month. The Convention bans the use, transfer or sale of cluster munitions, which are widely seen as inherently indiscriminate weapons that disproportionately affect civilians in current and former war zones.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 17 August 2010.

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