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Cluster munitions motion rejected

Nov. 14, 2008 at 3:35 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- An attempt by several members of the international community to legitimize cluster munitions failed Friday in Switzerland, a Human Rights Watch official said.

Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch's Arms Division, said while the United States, China, Finland, India, Israel, Pakistan and Russia all supported the proliferation of the weaponry, a majority of nations rejected the proposal in Geneva, the rights organization said.

Goose said the attempt was aimed at a new Convention on Conventional Weapons protocol regarding the production, sales and use of the controversial weaponry.

"This draft CCW text would have given a sheen of legitimacy to nations that want to continue to use cluster munitions," he said. "The nations that rejected it were right."

Among the 25 states opposing the motion based on its lack of focus on humanitarian objectives were Austria, Ireland, Mexico and South Africa.

The Human Rights Watch said more than 100 other nations are set to sign an official ban on cluster munitions on Dev. 3 in Oslo, Norway.

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