Media Clips Cluster bombs
April 2, 2013 3:40 pm
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With due respect, I wish that what you have said here is as factually correct as you depict it. The Australian government did take submissions that were supposed to help shape this as an Australian law as the Criminal Code Amendment (Cluster Munitions Prohibition) Bill 2010. I was one of those who made a submission (No 2). However, as we fortuitously learned from Wikileaks, Washington intervened and found that most of the material in the submissions from Australian citizens and organisations were given little attention, deed there was little acknowledgement of the work of Canadian expert, Earl Turcotte, particularly in respect of Article 21.
I refer readers to this article in The Guardian, dated 1 December 2010, which showed the British government bowing to similar pressure from Washington:
‘WikiLeaks cables: Secret deal let Americans sidestep cluster bomb ban’ – “Officials
The Australian Ratification process was also being undermined, as Philip Dorling detailed in his article in the Fairfax press:
Labor foiled bomb treaty
Paul Barratt also wrote in The Age:
We must do more to help rid the world of these foul weapons
Please also read NAJ Taylor’s contribution in Crikey, in which he also points out that the Australian government also failed to end investment in cluster munitions (mentioned in several submissions including my own):
The loopholes in the Labor Party’s Cluster Munitions Bill
So, Bob, please make sure that you have the story right, because you will be getting questions in the lead-up to the 14 September elections.
The last time they were used by our allies was December, 2009, in Yemen.
What are they good for now, besides propagandising against Mr al-Assad, and lining the pockets of arms manufacturers in countries like Russia, China and the USA?
The CCM is a robust treaty, and I do hope Australia can use its status as a State Party to actively advocate for a universal ban on these pernicious devices, as well as to advocate for disinvestment in overseas companies directly involved in their manufacture. It's all very well cleaning up old battlegrounds and dumping zones, but it's even better to eliminate their use. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
By Zara Zaher
Australia has officially become a party to the international Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Legislation passed last year has just come into force, making it an offence in Australia to develop, keep or transfer land mines or cluster munitions.
The federal government says the Convention and the legislation will apply to Australian Defence Force personnel during military operations, including when serving with the defence forces of other countries.
Laurel Thomas, from the Australian Network to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions, says it's pleasing that Australia has joined the Convention.
But she told Zara Zaher her organisation isn't entirely happy.See it here:
This is a good interview with John Rodsted.
John Rodsted travels the world to find and photograph images of cluster bombs. In Eastern Cambodia he doesn't have to travel far to find the dangerous legacy of unexploded bombs.
Over the past 20 years Cambodia and development agencies have worked to de-mine much of the country. However in the remote eastern Cambodia, it's small tennis ball-sized cluster bombs that remain a dangerous threat to villagers.
The bomblets remain buried and hidden in much of the country's heavily forested east. Every day these deadly legacies of war continue to be a terrible hazard.
John Rodsted recently travelled to eastern Cambodia to document the extent of the problem and assess what financial support is needed to increase the rate of clearance.
John Rodsted has spent 30 years documenting the legacy of landmines and cluster munitions and was part of a team that in 1997 won the Nobel Peace Prize. He talks to Richard Aedy about his work.
Good to see Eureka street publishing this concise and strongly worded condemnation of the Clusters legislation as being contrary to and actually negating what Bob Carr said about Australia being a good country and fine global citizen!
Campaigners have welcomed Australia's ratification of a new treaty banning cluster bombs, but they still have concerns.
Australia is joining 76 other nations in ratifying a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs.
But Australian anti-cluster bomb advocates still have concerns that Australia will support the use of cluster bombs during joint military operations with the United States, which refuses to sign the treaty.
2012.08.21 Minister for Defence: Minister for Defence, Attorney-General and Minister for Foreign Affairs – Joint Media Release – Legislation to ban cluster munitions
9 days after the Australian ratification comes the first "official" mention of it by Bob Carr.
This United Nations Treaty Collection shows that there has been no policy statement on behalf of Australia as promised by Minister for Defence Stephen Smith 23 November 2011: "The commitment not to authorise stockpiling by foreign governments will be confirmed in a public statement at the time of Australia’s ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and in Australia’s Annual Transparency Report under the Convention." (http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2011/11/23/minister-for-defence-australia-committed-to-cluster-munitions-convention/)
(London 10 October 2012): Australia has become State Party 77 to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), having deposited its instrument of ratification on 8 October. Australia will formally become a State Party on 1 April 2013, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention.
While the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) welcomes Australia as the newest State Party to the Convention, the network regrets that the Australian government recently passed seriously flawed legislation to enforce the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Amy Little, Campaign Manager for the CMC said: “We hope and expect that Australia will live up to both the letter and spirit of the comprehensive ban convention, despite the loopholes in its weak national legislation. Our campaigners all over the world will be watching closely to make sure it does everything in its power to ensure cluster bombs are never used again.”
Mette Sofie Elisessen from Cluster Munition Coalition Australia said: “Other countries that are also allies of the US and members of NATO have passed stronger legislation that upholds the intention of the treaty while also providing for military interoperability. It was entirely possible for Australia to do the same, and yet the government has indicated with this legislation that it chooses to put US military interests ahead of humanitarian needs. It is an embarrassing situation for Australia. We wish we could say that we trust Australia to never actually allow the stockpiling of foreign owned cluster bombs on Australian soil.”
Australia participated extensively in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Oslo signing conference, 3 December 2008.
According to the Cluster Munition Monitor, Australia has never used or exported cluster munitions and has never had an operational stockpile.