UK Steps Forward in Bid to Ban Cluster Bombs

6 January 2010 (Last Updated January 6th, 2010 18:30)

The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill, which seeks to prohibit the use, production and stockpiling of cluster bombs, has reached the committee stage in the House of Lords. The Bill describes the UK's continued leadership on arms control, from landmines to the Arms Trade Treaty and als

The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill, which seeks to prohibit the use, production and stockpiling of cluster bombs, has reached the committee stage in the House of Lords.

The Bill describes the UK's continued leadership on arms control, from landmines to the Arms Trade Treaty and also paves the way for UK ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

UK Foreign Office Minister Baroness Kinnock said cluster munitions caused immense suffering to civilians caught in conflict zones, and when they fail to explode they also leave a deadly post-conflict legacy for future generations.

"There has been excellent debate and wide support for the bill so far. This reflects the strength of the legislation proposed and the cooperation between the government and the Cluster Munition Coalition," she said.

"The UK Government is therefore at the forefront of efforts to prevent the proliferation and clearance of cluster munitions and will continue to encourage those countries that have not signed the convention to do so."

Article 1 of the Cluster Munition Convention prohibits State Parties from using, developing, producing and stockpiling cluster munitions and direct financing on their production.

The bill will create defences for certain permitted purposes set out in the convention, which include the retention or acquisition of cluster munitions for training in disposal techniques, transfer for the purposes of destruction and usage during the military operations with non-States Parties.

In addition, the bill would assign necessary ancillary provisions to enforce the offences including conferring power to enter premises, and to destroy and remove cluster munitions.