International treaty bans use of cluster bombs
An international treaty banning the use of cluster bombs agreed in Dublin in May 2008 became law yesterday.
The Irish Government played a leading role in negotiating the treaty, which has been hailed internationally as one of the most significant disarmament and humanitarian agreements in over a decade.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions was a cause for great celebration.
"I am proud that Irish commitment has resulted in the comprehensive ban contained in the convention and the far-reaching provisions on victim assistance and on clearance of cluster munitions.
A new international norm has been established, stigmatising cluster munitions and ultimately making their use unthinkable."
A cluster bomb contains dozens, often hundreds, of smaller bombs, called bomblets. The bomb breaks open in mid-air, scattering the bomblets across an area the size of several football fields. This means they can hit anyone, military or civilian in that space. But many of the bomblets fail to explode and lie on the ground, posing a threat to civilians.
Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O'Gorman said: "We can be especially proud of the role Ireland played in banning these weapons. They have killed and maimed countless thousands of men, women and children."