Representatives from 123 different governments are expected to arrive in the Lebanese capital of Beirut this week as a four-day conference kicked off today to discuss the international ban on cluster bombs and other cluster munitions.
The majority of the world has embraced the ban on the deadly weapons, which spread bomblets across broad areas of territory, many of which remain unexploded for years after their use. Lebanon was chosen for the meeting because the nation saw use of hundreds of thousands of cluster bomblets against it in Israel’s 2006 invasion. The bomblets continue to kill and maim people to this day.
The conference is focused on urging the signatories to work on destroying remaining munition stockpiles and to help with clearing land littered with bomblets. Also expected to be discussed is how to help the large number of civilian victims of their past usage.
The treaty has been signed by most of the world, but many have been slow to ratify the treaty. A handful of nations, including the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Russia and Israel, have spurned the treaty, and continue to use the munitions as a regular part of their arsenals.