65 countries meet in Peru to ban cluster munitions

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(Official press release)

More than 65 governments are meeting in Lima from May 23 to 25, 2007, to begin discussion on elements of a new treaty to ban cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians. The Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions follows the successful February meeting in Oslo where 46 countries agreed to conclude by the end of 2008 a new treaty on cluster munitions.

“Governments realize they must act swiftly to avert the future disaster we’re likely to face if cluster munitions are left unchecked,” said Steve Goose, director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch. “Unexploded cluster munitions already harm civilians every year, and unless we act to ban them, they have the potential to dwarf the landmine crisis.”

Cluster bomblets (submunitions) are packed by the dozens or hundreds into artillery shells, bombs or rockets, which scattered them indiscriminately over wide areas, with many failing to explode immediately. Unexploded bomblets can lie dormant for years after conflicts end until they are disturbed, often by children. At least 75 countries stockpile cluster munitions containing billions of submunitions.

To see a Human Rights Watch special feature on cluster munitions, please visit:

http://hrw.org/campaigns/clusters/index.htm

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