A plea from Chile: 106 signees, but 70 nations yet to join global ban on cluster bombsBy Carla Candia, AP
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Chile: International plea to join cluster bomb ban
SANTIAGO, Chile — A global effort to ban cluster bombs has gained the signatures of 106 countries, but 70 more have yet to sign on with only weeks to go before the ban goes into effect on Aug. 1.
The United States is among those refusing to sign. The Pentagon considers cluster bombs to be a key part of its defense strategy.
That saddens Lynn Bradach, mother of U.S. Marine Travis Bradach-Nall, who died trying to remove the bombs in Iraq in 2003.
“These bombs are killing our own troops,” she told The Associated Press.
Bradach, a spokeswoman for the U.S. campaign against cluster bombs, was among those trying to get more countries to sign on as part of an international lobbying effort in Chile on Wednesday.
The Cluster Munition Coalition gathered representatives of more than 100 countries in Chile this week to plot strategy. Only 36 countries have both signed and ratified the convention, which will go into effect nevertheless, two years after it was presented in Norway.
“It saddens and frustrates me a bit that they haven’t signed,” said Jesus Martinez of El Salvador, who lost his legs to a land mine in 1989.
Other countries that haven’t signed on include Brazil, whose foreign relations ministry said Wednesday that the matter remains under consideration.
Gustavo Vieira, of Brazil’s campaign against land mines and cluster bombs, suspects that’s because Brazilian companies produce the weapons.
“It seems to me that they haven’t signed in order to protect these commercial interests,” Vieira said.
Argentina also hasn’t signed on, because its government considers the ban to be too weak, according to Maria Pia Devoto, who directs Argentina’s Association for Public Policy. “Argentina actively participated in the Oslo treaty and presented a proposal that was stronger than what was accepted,” she told the AP.
Chile, a treaty signer, produced and planted thousands of mines in the 1970s, when it was at the point of war with Argentina and felt threatened by Peru. Now it’s trying to clean them up.
Associated Press writer Marco Sibaja in Brasilia, Brazil, contributed to this report.
Tags: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, International Agreements, Land Mines, Latin America And Caribbean, North America, Santiago, South America, United States