WVCBL (WEST VIRGINIA CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES AND CLUSTER BOMBS) URGES THE UNITED STATES TO JOIN THE GLOBAL BAN ON CLUSTER BOMBS
Thursday, August 1st, 2013 marked the third anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). This year also marks the Cluster Munition Coalition’s 10th anniversary.
WVCBL Campaigners are raising awareness of the devastation caused by cluster bombs and urges the United States to join the global cluster bomb ban and do more to help survivors of cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.
Cluster bombs have killed and injured thousands of civilians during the last 70 years and continue to do so today. They cause widespread harm on impact and yet remain dangerous, killing and injuring civilians long after a conflict has ended. One third of all recorded cluster munitions casualties are children. 60% of cluster bomb casualties are injured while undertaking their normal activities. Air-dropped or ground-launched, they cause two major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians. First, their widespread dispersal via air means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme, especially when the weapon is used in or near populated areas. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended. These duds are more lethal than antipersonnel mines; incidents involving submunition duds are much more likely to cause death than injury.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions was negotiated to end for all time the unacceptable harm caused by cluster bombs. The Convention bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and places obligations on countries to clear affected areas, assist victims, destroy stockpiles and provide international assistance.
“WVCBL are committed to educating the public about the devastation caused by landmines and cluster munitions and the indiscriminate nature of these weapons leading to the destruction of innocent life, especially children, after wartime hostilities have ceased. We work to raise awareness about survivor issues, prevent future casualties through our service projects and contribute to the universal signature of the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions by ALL countries, especially the United States. 112 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The stigma against cluster munitions is strong, and growing stronger with every country that joins the convention. It is time to ban these weapons recognizing that any conceivable use is outweighed by the moral consequences” says Nora Sheets, WVCBL coordinator. “We urge concerned citizens to join us in contacting our national leaders and encourage them to support the ban on cluster munitions”.