Monday, August 02, 2010

In force

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, a global treaty aimed at ending the manufacture and use of these indiscriminate weapons, entered into force today. Good. Cluster bombs are a totally indiscriminate weapon which attack an area without any distinction between military and civilian targets and effectively turn it into a minefield lasting long after the conflict has ended. Like mines (another long-lasting and similarly indiscriminate weapon which threatens civilians around the globe) they have no place in modern warfare.

This is an achievement of which New Zealand can be particularly proud. We played a key role in brokering the Convention under the Oslo Process, and were among the first to sign it when it was formally opened for signature in late 2008. Its a great example of the role New Zealand can play on the world stage as an advocate for human rights and international law. Unfortunately, that's a role National has largely abandoned in favour of a policy of clientism and sycophancy towards the big powers. The Convention on Cluster Munitions demonstrates that we can play a constructive leadership role to help build a better, law-governed world. Unfortunately Murray McCully would rather stay silent.