Van Bommel: Use of cluster bombs in Ukraine unacceptable

22 October 2014

Van Bommel: Use of cluster bombs in Ukraine unacceptable

The use of cluster munition in populated areas is under all circumstances unacceptable. This was SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel’s reaction to the news that the Ukrainian army had deployed these weapons. Van Bommel is urging the Dutch government to reprimand Ukraine.

According to a report from Human Rights Watch the two sides in Ukraine have used cluster bombs on twelve occasions. The Ukrainian army, the rapporteurs say, has deployed the bombs against the rebels in Donetsk.

‘Cluster bombs are extremely damaging weapons,’ Van Bommel says. ‘They cause a great many casualties. As well as that, the use of these weapons has seriously obstructed the peace process. The Dutch government must put pressure on the two sides to put an immediate stop to the use of these weapons.’

Cluster bombs are projectiles which consist of a large quantity of smaller bombs, which means that they can destroy a huge area. Many of the small bombs don’t explode straight away and years afterwards can explode and cause casualties. These are often children out playing, because the bombs are shaped like coke bottles. The SP has fought for years against their use. 114 countries, including the Netherlands, have ratified the treaty banning them, but Ukraine hasn’t signed it.

This doesn’t mean that Ukraine can’t be called to account. Van Bommel is urging the government to ask NATO to take action. ‘NATO has established a military partnership with Ukraine, so I’ve asked the government to admonish Ukraine via NATO,’ he explains. To date around 3,700 people have lost their lives in the conflict.

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