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Coalition Welcomes Congressional Letter to President Biden
Press release-April 22, 2022
The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) welcomed a letter to President Biden encouraging him to ban cluster munitions. The letter, (linked here) led by Representative Bill Keating, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Europe, Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Representative Sarah Jacobs of California. The letter was signed by 27 members of Congress.
The letter called “U.S. policy on cluster munitions as it stands is wholly unacceptable.” It urges President Biden “to take all the necessary steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, transfer, stockpiling and production of cluster munitions.”
"Cluster munitions are explosives that detonate in the air or are fired by artillery, releasing smaller bomblets on the ground," said Jeff Meer, Steering Committee Chair for USCBL-USCMC and U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. "One of the worst features of these arms is that the smaller bomblets tend to look like toys and are, for this reason, especially dangerous when used in areas inhabited by children. Despite their relatively small size, cluster munition bomblets are viciously deadly and have no place in modern warfare."
Following independent observers' documentation of numerous cluster munition attacks by Russian Forces in the invasion of Ukraine, the USCBL-USCMC strongly condemned their use and called for the immediate end to the use of these banned weapons by all parties. The USCBL-USCMC also condemns the reported use of cluster munitions by Ukrainian Forces in the conflict.
Cluster munitions, no matter how they are deployed, are among the most harmful weapons to civilians because in addition to their immediate effects, they often remain unexploded, sometimes for decades, and can detonate with deadly results years after a conflict ends. The indiscriminate use of cluster munitions that is taking place in Ukraine is banned under international humanitarian law.
U.S. officials have specifically mentioned these weapons in their justified criticism of Russian behavior. So too have a growing number of countries.
There exists an international agreement to forever ban the use of cluster munitions: the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Unfortunately, Russia is not a party to this treaty, nor is the United States and Ukraine. The failure of the United States to join the international agreement banning cluster munitions weakens the impact of United States’ criticism about Russia’s use of these weapons.
Therefore, we echo this letter’s call from 27 members of Congress for the Biden Administration to ban these weapons and join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The time for the United States government to act is now.
U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines-U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition
The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines-U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition is the U.S. affiliate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the global Cluster Munition Coalition. The coalition works to achieve a comprehensive U.S. ban on cluster munitions as well as U.S. accession to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which 121 nations have joined.
Coordinator, U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition U.S.