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Cluster munitions: Lebanese Red Cross hosts meeting in Tyre

01-02-2007 News Release

The Lebanese Red Cross, in partnership with the Norwegian Red Cross, is holding a meeting in Tyre from 1 to 3 February to discuss global humanitarian concerns related to the use of cluster munitions.

 

 The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC delegation in Beirut  

On this occasion, 14   National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with a specific interest in this issue will have the opportunity to debate ongoing national and international efforts to address the human cost of cluster munitions, as well as the contribution of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to these efforts. The ICRC is supporting the meeting with expertise and logistical assistance.

" We hope that by hosting this meeting in an area severely affected by these weapons, we will encourage participants to promote the clearance of unexploded cluster sub-munitions in all affected countries and the development of new rules to protect civilians from the effects of these weapons, " said Sami Al Dahdah, president of the Lebanese Red Cross.

Although the meeting is focused on global humanitarian concerns, participants will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the human cost of cluster munitions in southern Lebanon, where the unexploded bombs have caused more than 200 deaths and injuries since the cessation of armed hostilities in August 2006.

Cluster munitions have had a severe and long-term impact on civilians in most of the conflicts in which they have been used – not only in Lebanon – but also in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Laos. Although a number of States have begun reviewing their policies on the use of cluster munitions, there has not yet been an effective international response.

The ICRC an d many Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies have long been concerned about the impact of cluster munitions on civilians. Over the past few years national societies have been encouraged to promote national measures to address this issue. In 2006, the ICRC called on States to end the use of inaccurate and unreliable cluster munitions and to prohibit the use of cluster munitions in populated areas.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Iyad El Monzer, Lebanese Red Cross, tel. ++961 1 372802/3/4/5 or ++961 03449665  

 Bernt Apeland, Norwegian Red Cross, tel. ++47 909 88103  

 Anna Schaaf, ICRC Beirut, tel. ++961 1 739297/8/9 or ++ 961 70129869