> News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
> AI Index: MDE 14/065/2003
> 2 April 2003
> Iraq: Use of cluster bombs -- Civilians pay the price
> Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the high toll of civilian
casualties and the use of cluster bombs in US military attacks in heavily
populated areas.
> On 1 April, at least 33 civilians including many children were reportedly
killed and around 300 injured in US attacks on the town of al-Hilla. Amnesty
International is particularly disturbed by reports that cluster bombs were
used in the attacks and may have been responsible for some of the civilian
> "The use of cluster bombs in an attack on a civilian area of al-Hilla
constitutes an indiscriminate attack and a grave violation of international
humanitarian law," Amnesty International emphasized today.
> "If the US is serious about protecting civilians, it must publicly commit
to a moratorium on the use of cluster weapons. Using cluster munitions will
lead to indiscriminate killing and injuring of civilians," the organization
> According to reports, the type of cluster bomblets used in al-Hilla was
BLU97 A/B. Each cannister contains 202 small bomblets -- BLU97 -- the size
of a soft drink can. These cluster bomblets scatter over a large area
approximately the size of two football fields. At least 5% of these 'dud'
bomblets do not explode upon impact, turning them into de facto
anti-personnel mines because they continue to pose a threat to people,
including civilians, who come into contact with them.
> For further information on Amnesty International's concerns and
recommendations about the crisis in Iraq please visit:
> When a crisis puts people at risk of very serious human rights violations,
Amnesty International has to act. Please donate to Iraq Crisis Response,
visit: http://click.topica.com/maaaX9faaW5yKbb0iqnb/
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