Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Convention on Cluster Munitions

I recently read that the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions agreed in May to forbid the use or production of cluster munitions.  As many know, cluster bombs have been used in warfare for decades and have caused immense harm and suffering.  Now, on December 3, the Convention on Cluster Munitions will be signed in Oslo, Norway.  This is an incredibly exciting event as it puts human welfare and decency over the production of violent weapons.  The UN, Red Cross, and multiple other organizations have been involved in this treaty, which will be the first international treaty to prohibit a whole category of arms.

This is a great step for non-violence and many hope to continue this disarmament effort and include other types of weaponry in the ban.  Hopefully, in years to come, the push for disarmament will gain even more strength and follow the example of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


Kelsie said...

A great video for some more background information on this issue can be found here:

It will be interesting to see which nations become signatories to this convention, as some major stockpilers or producers of cluster munitions (China, Russia, the United States, India, Israel, Pakistan and Brazil, to name a few) have expressed opposition to this measure. Hopefully this convention will place such a stigma on cluster munitions that even nations that do not sign the convention will hesitate in using them.

Sam Harris said...

The Human Rights' Watch video on cluster bombs is fascinating. I did not realize the extent to which cluster bombs had an effect on civilian populations. It is unbelievable that children in war afflicted countries can be found playing with these unexploded bombs.

Other than poor international participation, my only concern about such conferences is that they become evidence of token policies of nonviolence. However, I suppose change must begin gradually. While the SALT I and II conferences did not have immediate repercussions in the 1970s, they did eventually lead to a more stable peace between the United States and the USSR. Hopefully, the Dublin discussions will also have such a positive effect on international welfare.