End use of depleted uranium in munitions

7 April 2011

End use of depleted uranium in munitions

The air-raids on Libya against Gaddafi’s units must not be conducted with depleted uranium (DU) weapons, according to a series of parliamentary questions put by the SP and the Labour Party in response to international media reports. ‘Various aircraft have been deployed over Libya which are equipped with in-flight weapons which can be used to fire depleted uranium,’ SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel explains. Van Bommel put his questions along with fellow SP Member Jasper van Dijk and two Labour MPs.

Harry van BommelVan Bommel has access to information on the use of DU munitions by the US AV-8B Harrier and A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft. The SP and the PvdA (Labour Party) are demanding that the Dutch government should be fully informed by its partners in the Libya operation and that it distance itself from any use of DU weapons. “The government must think about the conditions under which these weapons are being used and put pressure on the Americans to stop using them,” says Van Bommel. “DU munitions could in time have far-reaching consequences for the health of the Libyan people.”

Defence Minister Hans Hillen recently stated during a parliamentary debate that the campaign to halt the use of depleted uranium is extremely important, describing DU as ‘strongly polluting’. It can affect not only the victims of attacks with DU weapons, but can also be dangerous for the user. The SP agrees with the Dutch military trade union that the health risks are unacceptable.
Surviving sections of any munitions can remain radioactive for a very long time, putting unsuspecting inhabitants, as well as any soldiers still active in the area, in danger. Van Bommel is urging the government to do all in its power to bring about an international moratorium on the use of DU.

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