Leaders of different faiths in Religions for Peace work together in Asia and Europe to help educate, provide victim assistance —
(NEW YORK, 23 February 2010)— Religions for Peace, the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition, has helped advanced the ban against cluster munitions.
The growing and profound multi-religious consensus against the use of cluster munitions helped encourage governments around the world to officially ban their use. On 16 February 2010, two more countries—Burkina Faso and Moldova—ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, reaching the required 30 countries for the ban to become a binding piece of international law.
The Convention comprehensively bans use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions and sets strict deadlines for stockpile destruction and clearance of contaminated land. In addition, the Convention obliges states to support survivors and affected communities.
The world’s major religious communities have been at the forefront in advocating for the Convention, including the Holy See, the World Council of Churches, senior Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others.
“The basis for this multi-religious consensus lies in the weapon’s indiscriminate nature,” said Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace. “These weapons cause death and injury to civilians during attacks and for years afterwards. Cluster bombs hamper post-conflict rebuilding and rehabilitation, and the dangerous work of cluster bomb clearance absorb funds that could be spent on other urgent humanitarian needs.”
Religions for Peace, as an action-oriented servant of the consensus of religious communities, first took action when more than 60 of its participating senior religious leaders signed an international appeal to ban the weapon in April 2008. This was followed in October 2008 by a gathering of senior European religious leaders in Sarajevo convened by H.E. Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Raisu-L-Ulama of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a Co-President of the Religions for Peace World Council. Since then, Religions for Peace has mobilized at the grassroots level through projects in affected areas such as in Cambodia, where Buddhist monks have provided risk education and assistance to victims.
While the ban on cluster munitions represents an important milestone, much work remains to be done. Religions for Peace is deeply committed to ensuring the full implementation of the Convention’s provisions and will continue to advance multi-religious action for the protection of the vulnerable. Download the Religions for Peace Guide for Faith Leaders on Cluster Munitions.
About cluster bombs
A cluster munition (or cluster bomb) is a weapon containing multiple – often hundreds – of small explosive submunitions or bomblets. Cluster munitions are dropped from the air or fired from the ground and designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the submunitions over an area that can be the size of several football fields. This means they cannot discriminate between civilians and soldiers. Many of the submunitions fail to explode on impact and remain a threat to lives and livelihoods for decades after a conflict. —###—
RELIGIONS FOR PEACE—the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition—advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than seventy national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Youth Network.