From Thu Apr 3 03:00:15 2003
Organization: South Movement
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From: Dave Muller <>
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Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2003 17:17:27 +1000
Subject: [southnews] Human Rights Body Blasts Cluster Bomb Use In Iraq

Human Rights Body Blasts Cluster Bomb Use In Iraq

OANA/Xinhua, 3 April 2003

LONDON, April 3 (OANA/Xinhua)—Worldwide human rights body Amnesty International warned on Wednesday that the use of cluster bombs will lead to the killing of civilians.

The warning came a day after dozens of Iraqi civilians were killed in a suspected cluster bomb attack by US forces.

At least 33 civilians including children were reportedly killed and around 300 injured in US air attacks on the town of al-Hilla in central Iraq on Tuesday.

“Amnesty International is particularly disturbed by reports that cluster bombs were used in the attacks and may have been responsible for some of the civilian deaths,” the human rights watchdog was quoted as saying “The use of cluster bombs in an attack on a civilian area of al-Hilla constitutes an indiscriminate attack and a grave violation of international humanitarian law.

“If the US is serious about protecting civilians, it must publicly commit to a moratorium on the use of cluster weapons. Using cluster munitions will lead to indiscriminate killing and injuring of civilians.”

On March 23, two days after the war broke out, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said he could not rule out the use in Iraq of cluster bombs, which explode into scores of “bomblets,” some of which may fail to detonate and become landmines.

“I think it is vitally important to recognise that there may be circumstances in which their use is necessary in order to protect the lives of Britain's and America's armed forces,” he said at the time.

A recent report issued by the US-based Human Rights Watch said cluster munitions used in the 1991 Gulf War were to blame for the deaths or injuries of more than 4,000 civilians after the conflict ended.