Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Morality and cluster bombs

In their letters to the Herald this week Kenneth MacColl and Alyn Smith MEP are quite right in their highlighting the contradictions in Gordon Brown's speech before the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland by way of his failure to make any mention of the Oslo process on cluster munitions which is culminating in the Diplomatic Conference currently taking place in Dublin.

While the UK government grapples with finding ways in which it can seek exemptions for some types of cluster munitions, let it not be forgotten the damage and destruction that these very same cluster munitions cause for so many innocent lives, particularly those of children, and for livelihoods.

10 years ago the UK government backed an international treaty banning landmines, why won't it show moral leadership and moral courage in supporting an outright ban on cluster bombs?

Across in Brussels the European Parliament has been an active and strong supporter of the Oslo process that was launched in February 2007. Last October the European Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution, "Towards a Global Treaty to ban all cluster munitions" which reaffirmed the need to speedily adopt at the international level a comprehensive ban on the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

The resolution also called for an immediate moratorium until a binding global treaty has been negotiated and for all 27 EU Member States to adopt national measures that fully ban the use of these weapons. Those Member States that have used cluster bombs are also called on to accept responsibility for the clearance of these munitions, to keep accurate records of where they have been used and for assistance to be provided to local populations that have been affected by these deadly weapons. This resolution was passed overwhelmingly across all political parties and sent to the national governments and parliaments of the EU Member States.

This is yet another example where Europe's thinking resonates more closely with that of the people of Scotland than does the current policy of the UK government.

The campaign to ban cluster bombs can be accessed here:

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