12 June 2013
Proposed Canadian cluster bomb bill cause for alarm
(Geneva 12 June 2013): The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) joins member Mines Action Canada in calling on the Canadian Government to modify the flawed Bill S-10, so that it properly and fully serves its legislative purpose to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The legislation should be reviewed to safeguard not only the spirit and the intent of the Convention, but also innocent lives and Canada’s reputation as a protector of civilians in armed conflict.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, requires countries to clear affected areas and destroy stockpiles of the weapon and includes groundbreaking provisions requiring assistance to victims and affected communities. It is the most significant international disarmament treaty since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.As proposed, key elements of Bill S-10 run counter to the legal requirements of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and its life-saving work. Currently, the bill includes a loophole permitting Canadians to request other countries to use cluster munitions in the course of joint military operations, and in certain cases enables Canadians to use these outlawed weapons themselves.
These provisions are in clear contradiction not only to the spirit of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but also the convention’s ban on the use of cluster munitions and on assisting others to do so."As written, this bill does not reflect Canada’s leadership on humanitarian disarmament issues. The Convention on Cluster Munitions is about prevention of future tragedies and the protection of civilians, and the loopholes found in Bill S-10 run counter to this intent," said Cluster Munition Coalition Director, Sarah Blakemore.
The Cluster Munition Coalition calls on Canada to revise the bill to reflect the spirit and letter of the Convention and bring it in line with similar legislation from Canada’s NATO allies."Canada could have the weakest legislation in the world unless MPs are willing to make some much needed amendments. Bill S-10 requires a full and detailed examination," said Mines Action Canada Executive Director, Paul Hannon.The Cluster Munition Coalition urges Canada to hear testimony from international experts in the fields of law, humanitarian aid work, mine action and military as well as from victims of these indiscriminate weapons, in considering the bill.
PDF version of press release