March 24, 2010

Churches celebrate cluster bomb ban

by David Masters

Church leaders in the UK have welcomed the British government’s decision to ban the British military from using cluster bombs.

Methodist, Baptist, and United Reformed Church leaders said the passing of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act in parliament with all party support is an event of “moral significance”.

“These weapons are indiscriminate, harming civilians and soldiers alike, and can lay dormant, only to explode years later,” said John Marsh, moderator of the general assembly of the United Reformed Church.

Parliament’s decision to ban the use of cluster bombs follows a two year campaign by the churches.

“The moral significance of this bill cannot be overstated,” said Martyn Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Church.

“It builds upon widespread recognition of key ethical principles that are enshrined in international humanitarian law.”

Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union, said the churches’ campaign against cluster bombs was based on the Christian respect for the dignity of all human life.

“Five years ago this issue was nowhere on the international political scene,” he said.

“We added our voice to the growing call to ban these weapons because our faith reminds us of the importance of every life.

“This Act enables the UK to ratify the international treaty banning cluster munitions – something that has been called for by thousands of people around the world.”

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