Senate questions government over investment ban on cluster munitions

29 March 2011

Senate questions government over investment ban on cluster munitions

A clear majority of the Senate today voted to support a motion calling on the government to impose a ban on direct investment in cluster munitions. Only the right wing VVD and the centrist D66 voted against. Such a ban would bring the government’s policies into line with the international treaty on cluster munitions ratified by the Senate in February. Describing himself as ‘delighted with this motion’, SP Senator Arjan Vliegenthart said: ‘During February’s debate a clear majority in the Senate in favour of an investment ban on cluster munitions was evident. The government then announced that as things stood it favoured a ‘covenant’, under which banks and investors would state on a voluntary basis that they would no longer invest in cluster munitions, but that it wanted to examine its options. With the adoption of this motion the Senate has given a clear signal to the government that it should take action and make investment in these horrible bombs impossible.'

During the Senate debate the government also stated that there would be a 'de facto' ban on the transit of cluster munitions through the Netherlands. In Vliegenthart’s view, this is a step forward. “We would have liked to see an absolute ban on transit,” he said. “The government, however, is of the opinion that this is not possible under the existing NATO treaty, but promises to introduce and enforce a ban on non-members of NATO. That’s a step in the right direction, especially as the government has said that it will inform NATO allies that it believes that an end must be put to the manufacture, use and transport of cluster munitions.”

The SP has fought for years for a ban on cluster munitions. “Our former MP Krista van Velzen travelled the world advocating a ban. Thanks in part to her efforts and those of the SP as a whole the Netherlands joined the growing worldwide consensus that these weapons must be banned. We can be a little proud of that.”

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