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Belgium first country to ban cluster bombs

[JURIST] Belgium has become the first country in the world to ban the manufacture and use of cluster bombs following passage of legislation [PDF text; bill summary in French] by a sound majority of its lower house of parliament. The legislation had already passed in the upper house of parliament last July. Human rights organizations such as Handicap International (HI) [advocacy website] and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] have campaigned against the lethal weapons, which kill and maim thousands of civilians each year in places like Kosovo and Iraq.

According to an HRW report [text], approximately 85 companies in 34 countries produce over 200 varieties of cluster munitions [HI backgrounder], including artillery projectiles and aerially delivered bombs. At least one Belgian company, Forges de Zeebrugge [corporate website] manufactures the weapons. UPI has more.

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