Pakistan asked to abide by Convention on Cluster Munitions
ISLAMABAD: The Asian chapter of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Pakistan to abide by the provisions of Convention on Cluster Munitions by instituting a prohibition on the transfer of cluster munitions manufactured in the country.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, HRW Arms Division Director Stephen Goose and Asia Division Director Brad Adams said that a total of 111 governments signed or acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions adopted on May 30, 2008, but not Pakistan.
“As an interim step towards acceding to this important humanitarian convention, the HRW urges Pakistan to abide by the spirit and intent of its provisions, including by instituting a prohibition on the transfer of cluster munitions manufactured by Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) and any other Pakistani entities,” they wrote.
They wrote that recent events underscore the need for Pakistan to address its policy and practice on the transfer of cluster munitions, weapons that were banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions. On September 15, the London-based arms expo Defence and Security Equipment international (DSEi) permanently closed the POF stand and Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organisation pavilion after promotional materials were found on both containing references to equipment found to breach UK government export controls and DSEi’s contractual requirements.
The closure came after a British Member of Parliament found the companies were distributing brochures listing cluster munitions available for sale, including the 155mm base bleed dual purpose improved conventional munitions containing 45 submunitions and the 155mm M483A1 cluster munitions containing 88 submunitions, both manufactured by the Pakistan Ordnance Factory, they said, adding that similar concerns were raised during the 2009 DSEi arms fair, when POF was found to be advertising the 155mm Base Bleed DPICM cluster munitions.
They added that an export ban would be consistent with Pakistan’s long-standing export moratorium on antipersonnel landmines, which are prohibited by the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, another crucial agreement that Pakistan has not joined.
Pakistan announced a comprehensive moratorium of unlimited duration on the export of antipersonnel landmines in March 1997 and strengthened it after the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty with a February 1999 regulation that makes the export of antipersonnel mines illegal, they said, adding, “We understand that Pakistan has been complying with this regulation although no data is available on persons arrested or charged under this law.”
Several states that have not joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions are nonetheless taking action to adhere to its provisions, they said. For example, the US and Singapore have each enacted an export moratorium on cluster munitions.
“A total of 40 non-signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions participated as observers in the Convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties in Beirut in September 2011. Many indicated their presence was due to concern over the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions use. Pakistan has never attended a diplomatic meeting relating to the convention, even as an observer. We urge Pakistan to reconsider its stance on joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions and, as an interim measure, participate in a meeting of the convention,” they wrote. “We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the Convention on Cluster Munitions further with you,” they concluded.
Source: Daily Times – 21/10/2011