Vatican asks UN for moratorium on submunitions

 Archbishop Silvano Tomasi CS, the Holy See permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions at Geneva, called for a moratorium on some new conventional weapons last week. The Archbishop was speaking at the 15th Session of the Group of Governmental Experts of States Parties to the CCW ("Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects") which was held from August 28 to September 6. Speaking in French, Archbishop Tomasi said: "we have heard no convincing evidence from those who consider these arms [sub-munitions] to be legitimate. In any case, all arms are called legitimate before being prohibited or regulated. Was that not true of chemical, biological, incendiary and laser weapons? The fact of declaring a particular armament legitimate does not make it more acceptable or less inhuman." After highlighting how the Holy See considers "it vital to undertake a profound reflection on the nature and use of sub-munitions," Archbishop Tomasi pointed out that the victims of conflict "cannot wait for years of negotiations and discussions. For this reason, there must be a moratorium on the use of these arms. At the same time, the States parties to the CCW must set themselves to work." The permanent observer concluded his address by indicating that "the review conference being prepared must be capable of adopting a specific mandate to begin discussions and negotiations on an effective instrument to eradicate the risks associated with sub-munitions." Source: VIS

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