Cluster bombs victims challenge the United States

affiche survivors tour

Three members of Ban Advocates team to travel through Midwest promoting new treaty banning cluster bombs

Three individuals whose lives have been affected by cluster munitions will tour the Midwest in October to raise awareness and support for a U.S. ban on cluster bombs. Raed Mokaled from Lebanon, Soraj Ghulam Habib and Suliman Safdar from Afghanistan will be touring from October 6 to 15 as part of the Ban Advocates initiative, a project of Handicap International that seeks to involve members of affected communities in the international process to ban cluster munitions (known as the Oslo Process). Since the launch of the Oslo Process in February 2007, the United States lobbied more than 100 states to prevent the adoption of an international ban on cluster munitions. During the final negotiations in Dublin, some negotiators indicated that President Bush had been contacting some of his counterparts in order to weaken the treaty. Despite these efforts, 107 states adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in Dublin on 30 May 2008. The CCM is set to be signed into law on 3 December 2008 in Oslo. In a final attempt to undermine the CCM, the United States is likely to push for a new protocol legitimizing cluster munitions in November this year. Last year the U.S. Congress halted cluster munitions exports. While presidential nominee Barack Obama repeatedly expressed support for measures prohibiting the use and transfer of cluster munitions, the position of presidential nominee John McCain remains unclear. Several Midwestern Senators are key to the effort to ban U.S. cluster munitions.