There are millions of pieces of unexploded weapons scattered around the world. To kids, some of them look like toys or trinkets, inviting them to touch. Such weapons, even decades old, can explode when disturbed, maiming or killing children.
For instance, cluster munitions are designed to disperse hundreds of bomblets to saturate an area. In older weapons, many of the bomblets don't explode on impact, leaving them lying where children can stumble across them.
The U.S. Defense Department says it will give up using outdated, high-failure cluster munitions only after 2018. For the next several years the Pentagon reserves the right to use these weapons.
The Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, recently introduced in Congress, bans the use of high-failure cluster munitions beginning on the date of enactment, instead of in 2018.
Help protect children from injury and death caused by these outdated weapons: Urge your Senators to cosponsor the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act!
I am writing to ask you to cosponsor and support S. 419/H.R. 881, the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, that prohibits the use of cluster munitions with a failure rate of more than one percent, and ensures that the United States never uses such weapons in civilian areas.
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As you may know, cluster munitions are large bombs, rockets, or artillery shells that contain hundreds of small, individual bomblets. The bomblets are designed to explode on impact; however, in older weapons, many of the submunitions fail to detonate. They remained armed and dangerous, injuring and killing civilians long after conflicts end.
Although U.S. cluster munitions procured after FY 2005 are required to have a failure rate of less than one percent, there is no such restriction on existing stockpiles of these weapons. Our government still has in storage 5.5 million cluster bombs with more than 700 million bomblets, some with failure rates as high as 30 percent. Current U.S. policy still allows for the use of these antiquated weapons.
Children are all too often the victims of these lethal weapons. The bomblets come in interesting shapes that attract children’s curiosity – some bomblets look like tiny bottles with short ribbons; some are yellow with tissue parachutes; some look like little gray tennis balls; some are small canisters with a white ribbon attached. All can injure and kill children.
S. 419/H.R. 881 would make sure that the United States does not use the old, unreliable cluster munitions that leave behind deadly threats to civilians and particularly children.
I urge you to support this sensible policy on cluster munitions. Please cosponsor and support this important legislation. U.S. weapons should never cause an innocent child’s death or injury during or after armed conflict.