Faith leaders appeal for international treaty to ban cluster bombs

 Faith leaders from around the world issued a joint statement last night appealing for an international treaty to ban cluster bombs. In the document they say: As people of faith, we raise our voices for the protection of life and promotion of peace by calling on all governments to end the production, transfer, stockpiling, and use of cluster bombs. 'For more than 40 years, cluster bombs have killed and wounded innocent people, causing untold suffering, loss and hardship for thousands in more than 20 countries across the planet. These weapons cause death and injury to civilians during attacks and for years afterwards because of the lethal contamination that they cause. Cluster bombs hamper post-conflict rebuilding and rehabilitation and the dangerous work of cluster bomb clearance absorbs funds that could be spent on other urgent humanitarian needs. Without determined action, the civilian harm caused by these weapons both during and after conflict will continue to grow. The voices of those whose lives have already been shattered by cluster munitions call us to take meaningful and courageous action. Our faith traditions call us to stand with those who have suffered, and to work for the well-being of the human family through relationships of respect, justice, and peace. We are speaking out today on the Global Day of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs where people across all continents, cultures and faiths are taking action and calling for a ban on cluster bombs. A comprehensive ban on cluster bombs can and must be negotiated one month from now in Dublin, Ireland, in May 2008. We urge governments to take up this heavy responsibility by seizing this opportunity to take concrete action for the protection of the vulnerable and for the promotion of peace. Signatories include: Monsignor Laurent Monsengwo, Kinshasa, DR Congo and Co-President of Pax Christi International, Marie Dennis, Director Maryknoll Global Concerns and Co-President, Pax Christi International, Bishop William Kenny, Auxiliary Bishops of Birmingham, spokesperson on European Affairs for Catholic Bishops' Conference England and Wales, Archbishop Dermot Martin, Ireland, Rabbi David Rosen - Chair of International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, Israel, Indarjit Singh, Network of Sikh Organisations UK, Mohammad SAmmak, Secretary General, Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogoue, Lebanon and many more.

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