Tag Archives: treaty banning cluster bombs

Who is Afraid of a Nuclear Weapons Ban?

The United States is urging countries that have ratified a U.N. treaty to ban nuclear weapons to withdraw their support as the pact has reached the 50 ratifications needed and will enter into force on January 22, 2021. The U.S. letter to signatories, obtained by The Associated Press, says the five original nuclear powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — and America’s NATO allies “stand unified in our opposition to the potential repercussions” of the treaty.  It says the treaty “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament and is dangerous” to the half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global nonproliferation efforts.

“Although we recognize your sovereign right to ratify or accede to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), we believe that you have made a strategic error and should withdraw your instrument of ratification or accession,” the letter says. The treaty requires that all ratifying countries “never under any circumstances … develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices — and the threat to use such weapons — and requires parties to promote the treaty to other countries.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the nuclear ban treaty, told The Associated Press Tuesday that several diplomatic sources confirmed that they and other states that ratified the TPNW had been sent letters by the U.S. requesting their withdrawal.  She said the “increasing nervousness, and maybe straightforward panic, with some of the nuclear-armed states and particularly the Trump administration” shows that they “really seem to understand that this is a reality: Nuclear weapons are going to be banned under international law soon.”…Fihn stressed that the entry into force of the treaty will be “a really big deal” because it will become part of international law and will be raised in discussions on disarmament, war crimes and weapons.”And I think that over time pressure will grow on the nuclear-armed states to join the treaty,” she said.

Excerpts from US Lobbies Against UN Nuke Treaty, Associated Press, Oct. 22, 2020

Saudi Arabia Uses Cluster Bombs in Yemen

A Saudi-led Arab coalition will halt its use of British-made cluster munitions in Yemen, the Saudi government said on on December 19, 2016, after 20 months of war in which thousands of civilians have been killed and injured in airstrikes.  In London, Britain’s defense minister, Michael Fallon, confirmed in Parliament that the coalition had dropped “a limited number” of British-supplied cluster munitions in Yemen.   Britain, a signatory to an international convention that prohibits use of the munitions, has been investigating whether the coalition dropped the munitions, BL-755 bombs, in Yemen after a report in May 2016 by the rights group Amnesty International…Mr. Fallon stressed that Britain had sold the munitions to Riyadh in the 1980s, long before the convention in 2008.

They pose a particular risk to children, who can be attracted by their toylike appearance and bright colors.  Amnesty International said in May 2016 that civilians returning home in northern Yemen risked injury and death from “minefields” of deadly cluster bombs.

Excerpt from Saudi Arabia Says It Will Stop Using British-Made Cluster Bombs in Yemen, Reuters, Dec. 19, 2016