Cluster munitions to be discussed

More than 150 delegates from African countries are expected to attend the second Africa regional meeting in Kampala on the use of cluster munitions on the continent, revealed Uganda’s minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Tarsis Kabwegyere.

More than 150 delegates from African countries are expected to attend the second Africa regional meeting in Kampala on the use of cluster munitions on the continent, revealed Uganda’s minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Tarsis Kabwegyere.

“The use of cluster munitions causes human suffering during and after wars in many parts of the world. The challenge is that these weapons quite often do not explode on targets; they therefore lie dangerously wherever they have been fired, with potential to kill and injure civilians,” Kabwegyere told journalists last week at a press briefing on the upcoming conference.

According to Kabwegere, the conference aims at creating a partnership within African states to address the problem of these munitions that have been described to have ‘unacceptable humanitarian consequences’.

He added that cluster munitions create severe humanitarian and development problems, continue to maim and kill civilians for many years following the end of a conflict.

“The main objective of this African conference is to mobilize and inform African States about Cluster munitions and ensure that as many African States as possible sign the Convention when it is opened for signature in December 2008.

We have to work together with the various governments on the ratification and implementation of the treaty,” underscored Kabwegere.

On May 30 this year, in the Ireland city of  Dublin, 111 States around the globe adopted a Cluster Munitions Convention that prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

Cluster munitions were developed during the Cold War, and according to Human Rights Watch, an international rights organisation, about 75 countries currently stockpile them, accounting for millions containing billions of individual sub munitions.

In February (22-23) last year a group of states, the United Nations Organisations, International Committee of the Red Cross, the Cluster Munitions Coalition and other humanitarian organisations met in Oslo (Norway ) and agreed to conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument that will prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

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