Friday, September 20, 2013

Chile Getting Rid of its Cluster Munitions

The Army has eliminated all cluster munitions from its inventory as part of the its obligations under an international treaty. Chile is one of the 80-plus countries that have signed the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions, which seeks to "prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions." Cluster munitions are particularly effective against "soft" targets such as airfields and infantry, using a shower of bomblets that spray wide areas with lethal firepower. But some bomblets don't explode when intended to, and many civilians have been killed or injured in accidental detonations. This is similar to the landmine problem, which is a larger issue for Chile. Vast minefields near the Peru border and in the far south of Chile are slowly being cleared under the terms of the Ottawa Treaty. Of course, the fact that the Army declares itself free of cluster munitions means its artillery units had them before, even if those were never publicly acknowledged. There has been no similar declaration from the Air Force about its cluster bombs. Among neighboring countries, Peru and Bolivia also have signed the Oslo accord, but not Argentina.

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