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Rid the World of These Terrible Weapons

Oct 29, 2008, 6:18 AM

We are in the midst of a very important week. According to press release from the West Africa Network for Peace building, the World is observing a global week of action from 27th October 2008 to 2nd November 2008. This week is dedicated to a vigorous campaign to increase awareness on the newly negotiated legally binding treaty banning the use of cluster bombs/munitions.

It is crucial to lives of millions that this treaty is adhered to by every country in the world. Cluster munitions are large weapons which are deployed from the air and from the ground and release up to hundreds of smaller submunitions.

Air-dropped or ground-launched, they cause two major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians; first, their widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme, especially when the weapon is used in or near populated areas. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended.

These brutal instruments of war are a plague on our world and we must consign them to the annals of history.

If even a fraction of the money spent of murderous weapons of this kind was channeled into eradicating world hunger and disease we would see incredible results in a very short space of time. Those who manufacture these weapons only intend to profit from the misery of others so a clear message must be sent by the international community that this kind of "business" is simply unacceptable.

In February 2007, 46 Governments met in Oslo to endorse a call to conclude a new legally binding treaty that prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

Subsequent international Oslo process meetings were held in Peru (May 2007), Austria (December 2007), New Zealand (February 2008) and Zambia (March 2008).

On 30th May 2008 107 States negotiated and Adopted at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference a legally binding international treaty that prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster monitions and provides assistance to affected communities. In September 2008, The Gambia participated in a follow-up Oslo process conference held in Kampala, Uganda. The convention will be open for state signatures in Oslo on 3rd December 2008.

We urge our government to sign the convention in Oslo on the 3rd of December and take a step towards ridding the world of these dreadful weapons. It is our moral duty a nation to do so.

"Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die."

Herbert Clark Hoover