On Wednesday, December 3, many nations had met in Oslo, Norway, in regards to the use of cluster bombs. Back in May of 2008, representatives across the world had met in Dublin, Ireland to discuss the “Oslo Process.” The United States had given warning that signing the Oslo Process would criminalize the British troops that are fighting along US troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Oslo Process was launched by Norway. Its aim was to ban the use of cluster bombs by the end of 2008. Back then, the United States, Russia, China, and Israel were all against the ban of cluster bombs.
Back in December of 2007, Israeli military prosecutors found it legal to use cluster bombs. After a year-long inquiry, the military officers that used cluster bombs would not be charged.
Under international law, cluster bombs are legal.
Unfortunately, many victims of cluster bombs are civilians.
While meeting in Oslo, Afghanistan had signed the ban on cluster bombs. At first, it was not going to sign the pact. However, Afghanistan’s government had a change of heart after meeting victims of cluster bombs.
One of those victims would be 17-year-old Soraj Ghulan Habib. He is confined to a wheelchair after losing his legs to a cluster bomb.
“I explained to the ambassador my situation, and the people of Afghanistan wanted a ban,” Habib explained. Habib was about ten years old when he became a victim of a cluster bomb.
Activists were surprised at Afghanistan’s decision.
Still, the United States and Russia still refuse to sign the treaty. According to them, cluster bombs still have legitimate uses. Israel also refused to sign the pact. Israel’s government feels that it should be addressed through the UN.
Britain, a major ally to the US in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has signed the treaty.
Current United States President George W. Bush said that the ban would hurt security around the world. However, Bush leaves office on January 20, 2009. He will be replaced by US President-elect Barack Obama.
It is unknown whether or not Obama will sign the pact once he takes office.
According to Handicap International, civilians make up ninety-eight percent of cluster bomb victims. Almost thirty percent of victims are children. That would make Habib part of that near thirty percent.