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Thursday, 20 March 2003
Page: 9817

Senator NETTLE (New South Wales) (9.36 a.m.)—I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the Human Rights Watch report, from December 2002 regarding the use of cluster bombs, which described these munitions used by both British and American forces as `fundamentally flawed';

(b) recognises that by February 1993 unexploded bomblets had killed 1 600 Kuwaiti and Iraqi civilians and injured 2 500, sixty per cent of which victims were under 15 years of age;

(c) notes:

(i) that a leaked British Ministry of Defence report estimated that 60 per cent of the 531 cluster bombs dropped by the Royal Air Force during the Kosovo war missed their intended targets or were unaccounted for,

(ii) the provisions of the protocol additional to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949, relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts (Protocol 1) of 8 June 1977, to which Australia is a state party, in which Article 51 forbids indiscriminate methods and means of attack,

(iii) that unexploded cluster bomblets are indiscriminate and cluster bomblets cause higher rates of live `duds' than other explosive munitions, and

(iv) that Article 35(2) of Protocol 1 additional to the Geneva Convention states, `It is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering';

(d) accepts the status of these munitions as being as unacceptably dangerous to the safety of civilians as the use of anti-personnel landmines, which are banned under the Ottowa Convention;

(e) therefore, endorses the European Parliament's call for the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) State Parties to declare an immediate moratorium until an international agreement has been negotiated on regulation or restriction or ban on the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions under the CCW, including air-dropped cluster munitions and submunitions delivered by missiles, rockets and artillery projectiles; and

(f) calls on the Government to guarantee that Australian forces will not use, or be involved in the use of, these cruel and indiscriminate weapons.

Question agreed to.