Pope welcomes ban on cluster bombs

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict

The Vatican Press office has issued a statement welcoming the Treaty to Ban Cluster Munitions (CCM), which came into effect on 1 August. The convention, first launched in May 2008 and then proposed for signing on December 3, 2008 prohibits “all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Cluster Munitions."

After the Angelus, the Holy Father said: "With the entry into force of the new Convention, to which I exhort all states to comply, the international community has demonstrated wisdom, foresight and the capacity to pursue a meaningful result in the field of disarmament and international human rights.”

The CCM also addresses the pressing issue of the fact that cluster bombs can remain unexploded, but armed, on the ground for many years after their launch, preventing the civilian population from being able to resume their normal lives. It offers hope to all those who have suffered from the effects of cluster munitions.

The Holy See has been an active participant in the Oslo process, which led to the CCM, having been one of the first states to propose a moratorium on the use of such munitions and having been from the start one of the six members of the Core Group, the group of states promoting the initiative. The Holy See was one of the first states to ratify it, in the conviction that the logic of peace and stronger than the logic of war, which must in all cases always hold as the ultimate limit the protection and care of the civilian population and the most vulnerable”.

The Holy See  said: "the entry into effect of the CCM represents a legal and humanitarian challenge for the near future. An effective actuation should be based on the constructive cooperation of all government and non-government actors and it should solidify the link between disarmament and development. This can be done by directing material and human resources toward development, justice and peace, which are the most effective tools to promote international security and a peaceful international order".

The note adds that from November 9-12, there will be held in Vientiane, in Laos, the first Conference of States Party to the Convention.

Pope Benedict welcomed the news, saying his first thought was for “the numerous victims who have suffered and continue to suffer serious physical and moral injuries, even loss of life, from these insidious explosives…With the adoption of the new Convention, to which I exhort all States to adopt, the International Community has demonstrated wisdom, foresight and the capacity to pursue a significant result in the field of disarmament and international humanitarian law. My hope and encouragement is that this road be pursued with ever more vigor to defend human life and dignity, to promote integral human development, to establish and international peaceful order and foir the achievement of the common good of all persons and peoples”.

Source: MISNA

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