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Laos hosts Southeast Asia meeting on cluster bomb ban

Laos hosts Southeast Asia meeting on cluster bomb ban

Countries from across Southeast Asia gathered in Laos yesterday for the start of a conference on cluster bombs ahead of a ban due to be signed by over 100 nations in Oslo in December.
The U.N.welcomed the South East Asia Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, saying the weapons "cause human suffering both during conflicts and long after they have ended."
International campaigners and regional officials were meeting in the country that during the Vietnam war became the most heavily bombed nation on earth per head of population and remains littered with so-called "bombies."
The convention - the text of which was adopted by 107 countries at a conference in Dublin in May - would prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.
Major producers and stockpilers the United States, Russia, China, India, Israel and Pakistan did not attend the Dublin talks.
The U.N. stressed in a statement that it "encourages states to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on December 3 and to ratify without delay to allow its rapid entry into force."
"This convention is extremely relevant for Southeast Asia as peoples across the region, particularly in Lao PDR, Vietnam and Cambodia, still live with the tragic effects of the Indochina conflict," said the U.N. statement.
"The Lao PDR (People's Democratic Republic), with the unenviable experience of being the most bombed country per capita in the world, is consequently the most cluster munitions affected country in the world."
Cluster bombs, dropped from aeroplanes or fired from artillery to kill enemy troops, explode in mid-air to randomly scatter hundreds of tennis ball-sized bomblets over areas typically the size of football fields.
U.S. bombers targeting communist forces flew about 80,000 missions over Laos in the 1960s and 70s and dropped over two million tons of explosives, more than were dropped in Europe during World War II, according to U.N. data.
Many of the bombs and bombies failed to explode, leaving the poverty-stricken country littered with countless de-facto landmines.
The U.N. said the munitions have "continued to injure and kill an average of 300 Lao people every year over the last decade."


Updated : 2021-10-28 12:11 GMT+08:00