Thursday, December 04, 2008

International Cluster Bomb Treaty Gains Signatories

Today the Los Angeles Times reported that Afghanistan signed a treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs despite pressure from the United States not to sign the treaty. Afghanistan joins 92 other countries so far who have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at a signing conference taking place in Oslo, Norway, December 2-4. The United States and Russia have refused to sign the treaty.

The Times article explains that "cluster bomblets are packed by the hundreds into artillery shells, bombs or missiles, which scatter them over vast areas." Some of these bomblets can lie undetonated for long periods of time until they are disturbed--by civilians in many cases. You can read more about the Convention on Cluster Munitions at its official website.

For the U.S. government's official stance on cluster munitions and reasons that it won't sign the treaty, see this Q&A web page from the Department of State.

If you would like to do further research on treaties, see our guide.

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