The Common Good
November-December 2000

A Move to Ban Cluster Bombs

by Ryan Beiler | November-December 2000

The movement against land mines has achieved moderate success since the mine ban treaty
became international law in March 1999.

The movement against land mines has achieved moderate success since the mine ban treaty became international law in March 1999. Though some signatories continue to use mines and an estimated 250 million remain stockpiled, trade in the weapon has nearly ceased and some 22 million have been destroyed.

Now movements are forming against another indiscriminate killer: cluster bombs. Dropped from planes, these weapons release many smaller "bomblets" over a large area. These bomblets are brightly colored, and often attractive to unsuspecting children who comprise a large number of the 151 civilians killed by them in Kosovo in the last year. By NATO's estimates, 10 percent of the 290,000 bomblets dropped on Kosovo remain unexploded.

Mennonite Central Committee decried the weapons, saying, "Cluster munitions are so abhorrent, so inherently indiscriminate, and so likely to cause unnecessary suffering that they should be banned." The Red Cross has also called for a moratorium on cluster bombs.

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