Callout for maintaining the ban on cluster munitions
Reposted from a Facebook note, edited to protect the innocent:
The US, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan are very close to permanently undermining the Cluster Munitions ban. This would be the first time ever that an international arms control treaty was actually regressive and made a weapon legal again.
Here’s a Guardian story which basically tells you what’s going on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/22/us-pushing-un-cluster-bombs
The short version is that we need to make a massive fuss about it now so that the UK is unable to support what’s happening. That would be enough to stop this initiative, probably forever and cluster bombs would remain an unacceptable and illegal weapon that most governments would avoid using.
The UK has so far sat on the fence in the negotiations – it was scared away from giving more vocal support to the US, unlike a lot of other states it has not taken a position, apparently because so many MPs were very angry about this. Essentially a strong impression of public opposition could push the government into opposing what’s going on. If one or two countries joined the very isolated few who have stood up to oppose what is happening, that would be enough. Basically, this is a situation where we really can have an effect through letter writing and all of that stuff. The talks are only for the next few days, so we need to blitz the Government with messages about this NOW.
I won’t ask you to do this very often, but please sign the Avaaz petition.
Then send an email to Hague, Cameron (links after the Avaaz petition) and also to your local MP asking them to get in touch with the foreign office straight away to tell them to oppose Protocol 6 (find them on www.theyworkforyou.com).
Here is a sample letter addressed to William Hague. Again, give me a shout if you want something in it explaining:
Dear William Hague,
I am writing to you to express my dismay that the UK has not yet spoken out against the current draft of Protocol 6 of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. In its present form the draft would undermine the high humanitarian standards of the Convention on Cluster Munitions by legitimising these unacceptable and inhumane weapons. While the temptation to include non-Oslo signatories in a binding treaty may be powerful, in its current form Protocol 6 would permit weapons which cause unacceptable harm to civilians and must not be allowed to go ahead.
The only way Protocol 6 can be acceptable in humanitarian terms, is as a treaty which sets clear, binding steps which would bring countries which are currently not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions into line with the standards of that treaty within a certain time period. It is time for the UK to show the leadership on this issue which we have so often boasted of, and to publicly state that this is the minimum standard the UK is willing to support.
I look forward to your assurance that such a statement will be forthcoming