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Press release

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Use of Cluster Bombs

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

It is with great concern that the Media Review Network (MRN) releases this press statement.

The United Nations General Assembly Committee on Disarmament and International Security shall sit in New York to discuss the ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions signed in 2008. The MRN is aware of the strength of the US lobby in ensuring that countries do not ratify the convention and instead allow the use of cluster bombs to once again be legalised.

The Media Review Network should like to urge the South African Government to continue its ratification of the CCM of 2008 and continue to lead peaceful nations in the fight against cluster bombs and sub-munitions.

We should like to remind the government and civil society of the danger of cluster bombs, the majority of which have been detonated by unsuspecting children. These bombs not only detonate with fatal effects but project other live bombs which are scattered during the explosion. These sub-munitions are then detonated when picked-up by their victims and the cycle of human destruction continues. Undetonated cluster bombs can explode nearly thirty years after lying dormant and can therefore disrupt communities and societies long after conflicts have ended.

We should further like to remind the government that a third of the world’s victims from cluster bombs have been from Africa. Victims of such bombs have been found in Uganda, Angola, Chad, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and the conflict ridden zone of Sudan and occupied Western Sahara. We are aware of the millions of bombs placed alongside the berm in Western Sahara by the Moroccan occupying forces, rendering such areas inhabitable and posing a fatal risk to those living around such areas, especially children and animals.

Furthermore, we are reminded of the 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon where Israel dropped 4.3 million bombs in Lebanese towns and cities, 1 million of these failed to explode during the conflict and have now detonated amongst unsuspecting peaceful Lebanese communities.

We are reassured by the role that the South African Government has taken toward ensuring that the CCM is ratified and the commitments the government has made toward reducing South Africa’s stockpile of this barbaric weapon. However we should like to urge the government to maintain its stance on the prohibition of cluster munitions and lobby other nations to follow suit. We are deeply concerned that should the convention not be ratified by key global nations, these weapons shall be transported and sold to unstable and rogue nations and shall be used among civilian societies with fatal consequences.

Isssued By:

Sophia Javed – MRN Media Unit

Cell: 083 457 8286