Pacific states urged to sign treaty to end cluster bombs

By Xinhua,

Wellington : One month before world governments go to Oslo, Norway to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), Pacific governments have been urged to show greater commitment to victims of the cluster munitions by initialing the convention, according to Pacnews regional news agency Friday.

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Leading the campaign is the Suva-based Pacific Concerns Resource Center (PCRC), which launched its region wide lobby on Thursday night to mark Global Week for Action on cluster bombs, the news agency said.

PCRC’s disarmament campaigner Ema Tagicakibau said, “even though the use of cluster bombs may not be a major issue here in the Pacific, it is our humanitarian responsibility to ban the use of these weapons.”

“However, labor mobility means more Pacific Islanders now serve in UN peacekeeping missions, foreign armies, volunteers in international humanitarian organizations or as private security guards in war torn Iraq, Afghanistan or Lebanon where cluster munitions have been used,” she added.

Fifty-four states, including two Pacific Islands Forum members -Australia and New Zealand, have indicated their intention sign the Cluster Munitions Convention in Oslo in December.

Six Pacific states were party to the diplomatic negotiations in Dublin, Ireland in May this year to negotiate the text of the convention.

PCRC urged these governments including Cook Islands, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu to put their hands up and sign the convention, Tagicakibau said.

Over the last 40 years, cluster bombs have killed and injured a large number of civilians from Laos to Lebanon, Iraq to Afghanistan.