US fails to internationally legalise cluster munition
Following 14 days of intensive negotiations in Geneva, the US, India, China and other proponents of cluster munitions have not succeded in their attempt to legitimise their weapon arsenals. „The prevention of the legalisation of cluster munitions is a milestone in the development of international law which can partially be attributed to the achievements of civil society“, claims Thomas Küchenmeister from ‘FACING FINANCE’. He points out that this prevention has considerably strengthened the status of the Oslo-Convention and its absolute ban on cluster munitions as an internationally binding norm. Küchenmeister expects that it helps to pressure the proponents of cluster munitions to justify their arsenals and exert a stigmatising effect on them. Furthermore, it could foster national measures prohibiting investments and financing internationally condemned arms.
Together with the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands, the German government generally accepted the US draft proposal and thus a legalisation of cluster munitions, but also encouraged improvements. „Germany needs to refocus on humanitarian aid, the removal of duds and the implementation of an absolute ban on cluster munition as enshrined in the Oslo-Convention“, stated Klaus Seitz, Director of the politics and campaign department of ‘Brot für die Welt‘ (Bread for the World). According to Seitz, this also entails a complete prohibition of investments in the production of cluster munition.
A group of 50 countries including Norway, Austria, Switzerland and South Africa have rejected the proposed draft version with regards to a low humanitarian value-added and a potential legalisation of cluster munition. The group was supported by the ICRC and the Cluster Munition Coalition, among others.
In an open letter (only availabe in German) 13 NGOs have urged the German governmental coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Liberals (FDP) to do everything in their power to prevent the softening of the proscription of cluster munitions. The prohibition had just entered into force in Germany one year ago. On November 10, two requests for a ban on cluster munition by the opposition parties were rejected. In a joint motion (17/7637), the Social Democrats and the Greens had called for a veto of the German government against the draft proposal of the UN Convention on Cluster Munition.
Thomas Küchenmeister, Coordinator FACING FINANCE
(Cluster Munition Coalition in Germany), +49 (0)175-4964082
Rainer Lang, Bread for the World: +49 (0) 174-3135651.