Agencies accuse UK government of reclassifying cluster bomb in order to beat the weapon’s ban


From Amnesty International

The UK, the world’s third largest user of lethal cluster bombs over the last ten years, has renamed one of its two remaining cluster munitions in an effort to beat an expected worldwide ban next year said humanitarian organisations Oxfam, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action today.

The move would mean that the Hydra CRV-7 rocket system, which can deliver 171 ‘M73’ bomblets from a helicopter-mounted rocket pod, would remain part of British arsenals.

As recently as 23 November 2006, the government listed the CRV-7 as a cluster munition. But on 16 July this year, just months after it said it would back a worldwide cluster bomb ban, the Government said the CRV-7 was no longer a cluster bomb.

Simon Conway, Director of Landmine Action said:

‘Ten years after it championed a treaty banning landmines the UK has a chance to do the same with cluster bombs – but instead it is spinning a cluster bomb con.

‘This is a deeply cynical move. The UK Government needs to announce an immediate end to the use of these indiscriminate killers.’

US forces used the rocket-delivered M73 ‘bomblets’ in Iraq in 2003. Human Rights Watch reported contamination of unexploded M73 bomblets left behind after the strikes…

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