23 May 2008

Campaigners Call On U.S. To Stop Bullying Negotiators

Download Press Release (PDF)(Dublin, May 23rd, 2008) The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) today called on the US to stop bullying and spreading inaccurate statements in an obvious attempt to weaken the treaty to ban cluster bombs. Cluster munition survivors, campaigners from all over the world and the American Nobel Prize winner, Jody Williams today protested outside the US embassy in an effort to draw attention to the issue.“The US is making misleading statements suggesting that if it can’t use cluster munitions it can’t help victims of natural disasters. This is a cynical attempt to try and intimidate the countries that are negotiating in good faith here in Dublin to ban these indiscriminate weapons” said Simon Conway, Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition and Director of Landmine Action.The Cluster Munition Coalition, which brings together survivors and campaigners from all over the world, is advocating for a ban on the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions. The US government is threatening that the ban on clusters would prevent it from undertaking or participating in humanitarian operations. In fact, identical provisions in the treaty banning anti-personnel landmines have had no effect on US humanitarian efforts in the 9 years since the treaty came into force.“We are here to ban cluster munitions, not to create loopholes that would make it easier for the United States to use them,” said Steve Goose, CMC Co-Chair and Director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch. “US allies in Dublin must resist the pressure from Washington.”The current draft treaty text includes a provision that obliges states parties to the treaty not to assist non-states parties with acts that are prohibited by the treaty, such as cluster munition use. The provision will help stigmatize cluster munitions, as well as deter states that are not party to the treaty from using them. Unfortunately, some states in Dublin are pushing for an exemption clause from the prohibition on assistance - Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Denmark, Germany and the UK.The treaty process began in February 2007 in Oslo, and states are expected to adopt a new convention on May 30, 2008.