17 November 2011

European Parliament urges members not to endorse new law allowing use of cluster munitions

(Geneva, 17 November 2011) The European Parliament has sent a strong message to member states not to support a proposed new law currently being discussed in Geneva that will allow cluster munitions to be used.In a widely popular resolution adopted today, the Parliament has called on members "not to adopt, endorse or subsequently ratify any protocol to the CCW allowing for the use of cluster munitions, which are prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)," and asks them "to act accordingly" at the Fourth CCW (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) Review Conference, currently being held at the United Nations in Geneva.In the resolution, the EP said it "deeply regrets" the fact that the draft text of the proposed new protocol on cluster munitions will "weaken the protection of civilians".In referring to the resolution during today’s negotiations the Spanish ambassador said that the resolution "represents the views of the entire continent" – a statement welcomed by the Cluster Munition Coalition.The resolution acknowledged the humanitarian consequences and high political cost of supporting the proposed draft protocol and clearly said that States Parties to the existing global ban "have legal obligation to strongly oppose and reject the introduction of a protocol."The Greens, followed by the Christian Democrats, Socialists, Liberals and the United Left introduced proposal, combined in one strong joint statement.Mina Zunac, a cluster munition survivor from Croatia and Ban Advocate involved in the Oslo process, said: "The message the European Parliament is sending by adopting this resolution is very clear and strong and should be taken into account by all EU Member States. Ensuring that as many states as possible sign up to the existing ban is the best guarantee we have of avoiding new cluster munition victims in the future."Lynn Bradach, mother of a US marine who was killed by a cluster munition during a clearance operation in Iraq, and campaigning as a Ban Advocate against cluster munitions, asked the US and other countries not to compromise on human lives by agreeing to a weak CCW protocol on cluster munitions."The CCM is the global gold standard and no country should be willing to accept anything lower," said Bradach.You can read the full text of the joint resolution here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=P7-RC-2011-0588&language=EN