Cluster bombs banned – now it's time to put a stop to transit and investments

30 June 2010

Cluster bombs banned – now it's time to put a stop to transit and investments

From 1st August cluster bombs, when more than a hundred countries will bring the treaty containing the interdiction into force, will be banned. And the SP can claim some of the credit for the fact that the Netherlands signed. "This is a big step forward in the abolition of gruesome weapons, weapons which cause enormous suffering," says Jasper van Dijk, Member of Parliament for the SP. "Ratification by the Netherlands is partly down to former SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen, who fought for years to bring it about. At the same time, it's only a first step. We must now also tackle the transit of cluster munition and the investments by firms in cluster munitions.”

The treaty has unfortunately not yet been signed by all countries, with major users of cluster bombs including the United States, Israel, China and Russia being amongst the exceptions. The Netherlands must do all it can to put these countries under pressure to sign.

During the parliamentary debate on the treaty Van Dijk put forward two demands. Firstly, the government should complement the treaty by banning, in addition to use, possession, production and transfer, the transit of cluster weapons through Dutch ports and airports. The transport of, for example, American cluster weapons via Rotterdam's port would no longer be allowed. Other countries have already introduced laws to this effect.

Secondly, Van Dijk is urging the government to carry out the demands of the SP's parliamentary resolution calling for a ban on investment in cluster munitions. This would prevent Dutch banks and pension funds from continuing to invest in the weapons. "The ban on cluster weapons is extremely important, but that goes also for these two measures, which would be a logical follow-up," says Van Dijk, speaking this evening on behalf of the SP during the parliamentary debate on the treaty.

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