Momentum is building to outlaw cluster munitions. Last month 111 countries meeting in
That treaty will open for signature on December 3, but the Bush administration has indicated that it does not support the convention. We urge you to support Senate Joint Resolution 37, which calls upon the United States to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and to cosponsor the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2007 (S. 594).
Cluster munitions are bombs, rockets, and artillery shells that disperse smaller submunitions over broad areas. Their humanitarian impact is clear. Designed to attack large vehicle and troop formations, and not for the insurgent-based conflicts we see today, cluster munitions are indiscriminant weapons. Many of their submunitions fail to explode initially, posing potentially lethal risks to anyone that might later disturb them, including children attracted to what can look like shiny toys.
The United States has more than 700 million submunitions in its stockpile, the vast majority of which are aging and do not meet Department of Defense purchasing standards adopted in 2001 that require submunitions to have a 99 percent or higher functioning rate. Also, for the current fiscal year the
The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions. It requires the destruction of all stockpiled cluster munitions within 8 years. There is an exclusion for weapons with a small number of submunitions that have specific characteristics, such as point target acquisition and self-destruct and self-deactivating mechanisms, so that they do not have the indiscriminant wide area effect of cluster munitions or leave behind excessive unexploded ordnance.
The accord also requires the clearance of unexploded cluster submunitions and includes measures for international assistance to victims of these weapons. The
Members of Congress do not need to wait for Presidential action on cluster munitions.
We urge you to cosponsor the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2007. Introduced last year in the Senate (S. 594) and House of Representatives (H.R. 1755), the act limits the use, sale, and transfer of cluster munitions that do not meet a 99 percent or higher functioning rate. It also requires that the weapons be used only against clearly defined military targets and not in areas normally inhabited by civilians, or where civilians are known to be present.
We respectfully encourage you to cosponsor the measure to limit weapons, the use of which by the
National Executive Director
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
Mary Ellen McNish
American Friends Service Committee
George Cody, Ph.D.
American Task Force for
Daryl G. Kimball
Arms Control Association
British American Security Information Council (BASIC)
Executive Director Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)
Church Women United
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Episcopal Church
Andrew D. Genszler
Director for Advocacy
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Paul F. Walker, Ph.D.
Legacy Program Director
Executive Director, Arms Division
Human Rights Watch
Rev. Kenneth Gavin, S.J.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
Just Foreign Policy
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee
Rolando L. Santiago
Mennonite Central Committee
William D. Hartung
Director, Arms and Security Initiative
Director of Humanitarian Policy
David A. Robinson
Peace Action West
A. Frank Donaghue
Chief Executive Officer
Physicians for Human Rights
Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
Compassion, Peace, and Justice Ministry
Presbyterian Church, (
David T. Ives
Albert Schweitzer Institute
Ken Rutherford, Co-Founder
Jerry White, Co-Founder and Executive Director
James E. Winkler
General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society
Ambassador William Luers
United Nations Association of the
National Advocacy Director
Vice President, Office of Public Policy and Advocacy
Womenâs Action for New Directions
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