World churches' leader applauds cluster bombs agreement

By agency reporter
May 30, 2008

Churches around the world "are much encouraged" by the multilateral agreement on cluster munitions reached this week in Dublin, and now look with expectation to "powerful governments that have not been at the negotiating table", said World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia in a comment on the agreement yesterday.

The full text of WCC general secretary's comment is as follows:

"Churches around the world are much encouraged by the fact that 110 governments have been able to agree on how cluster munitions can be banned. Just three months ago the World Council of Churches central committee affirmed this joint endeavor with civil society and now the terms of a solid treaty are already on the table.

"In conflict areas, assistance is one step closer for civilians who have been maimed by these indiscriminate weapons and for people who must live where cluster bombs have been used. A cluster bomb ban will save lives in future as well.

"We also applaud the fact that the meeting in Dublin was part of a multilateral plan to tackle a difficult disarmament issue. Success now raises international expectations of powerful governments that have not been at the negotiating table. A broad consensus is emerging around a higher standard of behavior very much in keeping with the rule of law. We look forward to even more states signing the new Cluster Munitions Convention when it opens for signature in Oslo later this year.

"There is a biblical promise in the book of Isaiah that people shall not "learn war" any more, as the WCC statement last February noted. The banning of cluster bombs would be an excellent example of unlearning one type of warfare in our day."

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