29 April 2009

Tajikistan: Two children wounded by cluster bomb highlights persisting problem and need for the country to join Convention

On April 27, two children were seriously wounded by the explosion of a cluster bomb in eastern Tajikistan where unexploded weapons dating from the civil war in the 1990s still threaten civilians. The two children aged 11 and 18 were tending cattle when the bomblet exploded. They are now in hospital in a serious condition. This recent example of the indiscriminate impact of cluster bombs on innocent civilians highlights the need for a global and comprehensive ban on the weapon. Unlike 96 other countries, Tajikistan has still not signed the new Convention on Cluster Muntions."Joining the treaty would open the door to increased international funding to help clear contaminated land and therefore prevent more injuries and deaths" said Bakhtiyor Begmuradov, CMC campaigner from Tajikistan. "How many children will have to get injured or die before more action is taken?"According to the Tajikistan Mine Action Centre (TMAC), the governmental structure in charge of all mine action activities, more than 17 million square metres of land need to be cleared of different unexploded ordnances like cluster bombs and landmines.