Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cluster Bomb Treaty Achieves Necessary Ratifications to Take Effect

The United Nations announced today that it had received the 30th ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions meaning that the treaty will take effect August 1, 2010.  Both Burkina Faso and Moldova deposited their instruments of ratification allowing the treaty to become legally binding.  The treaty was opened for signature in 2008 and has received over 100 signatures since that date. 

The treaty bans the production and use of cluster munitions and obligates states to compensate victims of such weapons.  Cluster bombs contain a number of sub-munitions or "bomblets" that are designed to spread out upon explosion to cover a wider area and deter an advancing army.  However, unexploded cluster bombs pose serious hazards to civilians similar to landmines.

Despite the large number of signatories, some of the largest stockpilers of such weapons, including the United States, China and Russia, have not signed the treaty, lessening its potential effectiveness.  The United States takes the position that cluster bombs have military utility and are necessary to protect its troops.  For more information, visit the website of the Cluster Munition Coalition.


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