4 days to save our children from cluster bombs

10 Nov

In days, the US could push through a new law to allow the use of cluster bombs — a banned lethal weapon that kills children in playgrounds years after wars have ended. But if we build a massive campaign now, we can persuade other governments to stop the US and stop these weapons being used. Sign the urgent petition to save our children now!

Ahmad picked up a bright metal object in a park in Lebanon where he was celebrating his 5th birthday. It was an unexploded cluster bomblet, which blew up in his face, killing him slowly in front of his family.

 

Three years ago, public pressure pushed through a ban of these cruel bombs. But now the US is lobbying nations to quietly sign a new law that allows their use — signing the death warrant for thousands of other children. Most countries are still on the fence on how to vote. Only if we raise the alarm across the world can we shame our governments to block this deadly decision.

 

Positions are being drawn up now. We only have four days until countries meet to send our leaders a clear message: stand up for the cluster bombs ban and keep our children safe. Click below to sign the petition— it will be delivered directly to delegates at the Geneva conference:

 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/cluster_bombs_ii_b/?vl

 

Thousands of people — mainly children — have been maimed or killed by these bombs. When they are fired, they spray small “bomblets” over a wide area, many of which fail to explode. Years later, people disturb them in their fields or school playgrounds not knowing what they are, and they explode.

 

In 2008, over half of the world’s governments outlawed these weapons by signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions. But now, shockingly, countries like France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK, who all signed the Convention, are under pressure from the US, China and Russia to run rings round the ban by signing a separate agreement that would allow them to use cluster munitions. Only Norway, Mexico, Austria and a few others are fighting this horror.

 

Negotiators at the Convention on Conventional Weapons meet in Geneva next week. Most governments don’t really want this protocol and have not said which way they will vote, but they are under severe pressure from the US to comply and will only object if the global public persuades them.

 

There’s no time to lose — the conference starts on Monday. Let’s call on our governments to reject this deadly and cynical US campaign to legalize cluster killing. Click below to sign the petitionand forward this email widely — we’ve done it before, let’s do it again:

 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/cluster_bombs_ii_b/?vl

 

Cluster bombs and land mines were banned because citizens raised the alarm across the world — with victims and survivors leading the way. For their sakes and to ensure no more lives are lost, let’s not allow these cruel weapons back and join together now to demand a more peaceful world.

 

With hope,

 

Alex, Stephanie, Alice, Ricken, Laura, Nicholas, Wissam, and the whole Avaaz team

 

More information:

 

UK backs bid to overturn ban on cluster bombs (The Independent):
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/uk-backs-bid-to-overturn-ban-on-cluster-bombs-6259139.html

 

ICRC chief says proposed cluster bomb pact is weak (Reuters)
http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5E7M328S20111109

 

Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Weapons:
http://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/%28httpPages%29/43FD798E7707CE5AC12578B20032B630?OpenDocument

 

Weapons law to cause humanitarian harm (Stop Cluster Munitions.org):
http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/ccw/

 

The Past and Future of the CCW (Arms Control.org):
http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2011_03/LookingBack

 

No backsliding on cluster bombs (The Indepedent):
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-no-backsliding-on-cluster-bombs-6259009.html

 

Raed Mokaled and the story of Ahmad (Handicap International):
http://www.handicapinternational.be/en/raed-mokaled

 

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that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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