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Inhumane weapons convention countries fail to adopt cluster munitions protocol

November 26, 2011, 4:36 UTC+3

About 50 countries opposed the adoption of this legal protocol

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GENEVA, November 26 (Itar-Tass) —— The participants in the 4th review conference of the convention on inhumane weapons, which ended on Friday, failed to adopt a protocol regulating the production, transfer, keeping and use of cluster munitions. About 50 countries opposed the adoption of this legal protocol, which, among other things, would introduce a ban on the use of cluster bombs that had been manufactured up to 1980s.

The proposal for adopting a protocol was supported by the main producers of cluster munitions – the United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Brazil and South Korea. The opponents of the protocol, in turn, argued that its adoption would be a step backward in comparison with the convention on the prohibition of cluster munitions (Oslo Convention) which came into force in 2010. A total of 111 states signed the convention and 60 countries ratified it. That convention was not signed by the main producers of cluster munitions.

The head of the Russian delegation, director of the security and disarmament department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Ulyanov, told Itar-Tass the position of the countries that had refused to support the protocol was "ideologized and based on the principle ‘all or nothing’.” In the case of adoption of that protocol the amount of munitions limited or removed from circulation would be several times greater than in accordance with the Oslo Convention by virtue of the fact that countries that have limited or no stocks of cluster munitions would join in," he said. Also if the protocol were approved, then obligations would be placed on the “heavyweights”, which account for 85 percent to 90 percent of stocks of this type of weapons, said the diplomat.

The Cluster Munition Coalition, which consists of two hundred human rights groups, welcomed the fact that the protocol was not adopted. As the Coalition’s chairman Steve Goose, told the media the adoption of the protocol in view of the existing Oslo Convention would be the first case of regress in international humanitarian law.


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