12 March 2009

Cluster Munition Coalition welcomes U.S. Cluster Bomb Export Ban

The Cluster Munition Coalition welcomes legislation signed into law on March 11, 2009 by President Obama that makes permanent a ban on nearly all cluster bomb exports by the United States. The United States should review its stance on joining the international treaty prohibiting cluster munitions in light of this action."This permanent export ban is a major turnaround in US policy," said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch and Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. "It brings Washington into closer alignment with international opinion on this terrible weapon."The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (USCBL), CMC's US campaign partner, has pushed hard for this export ban and is now calling for the US to take the next step and ban cluster bombs entirely."If they're not fit for others to use, they are not fit for us to use," said Lora Lumpe, coordinator of the USCBL. "The next step is to ban these weapons."As 17 year old Soraj Ghulam Habib from Herat, Afghanistan, who lost both legs to a U.S. cluster submunition in 2001, observes, "You'd ban them for sure, if you had them here."MORE INFORMATION:Human Rights Watch Press Release, 12 March 2009Human Rights Watch Press Release, 18 March 2009USCBL Release, 11 March 2009CONTACT:Steve Goose, Human Rights Watch and CMC, Tel: +1 540 630-3011Lora Lumpe, Coordinator USCBL, Tel: +1 202 547-6000