News archive 2008

Bishop Field and Trócaire welcome the outcome of the International Conference on Cluster Munitions

PRESS RELEASE
30 May 2008

Bishop Field and Trócaire welcome the outcome of the International Conference on Cluster Munitions

The Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs (ICJSA) and Trócaire welcome the successful conclusion of the International Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions. The final treaty, signed today [30 May 2008] in Dublin by 111 nations, prohibits the production, use, transfer and stockpiling of Cluster Munitions. It represents a significant step towards the total elimination of these inhumane weapons. 

Commenting on today’s outcome the Chair of the ICJSA, Bishop Raymond Field, said, “The provision for assistance for the victims of Cluster Munitions contained in this treaty is of vital importance. In a statement released prior to the opening of the conference the ICJSA and Trócaire highlighted the devastating legacy left by these weapons in the areas where they are deployed, and the far-reaching humanitarian consequences for the affected populations. This has also been recognised by Pope Benedict XVI who stated: ‘It is necessary to heal the errors of the past and avoid them happening again in the future.’

“Ireland’s central role in the discussion process should be a source of great pride for all, confirming once again our commitment as a nation to work for peace and justice throughout the world. This treaty has been the result of cooperation between political leaders and representatives of the NGO sector, working together in defence of vulnerable civilian populations whose well-being is threatened by the consequences of Cluster Munitions strikes.

“The ICJSA and Trócaire wish to commend the Irish government, which has set a strong example throughout the course of these negotiations and is now set to introduce its own domestic ban on Cluster Munitions. The support of the Irish Defence Forces has also been crucial to this process, and they have played a key role in particular in highlighting the devastating consequences of these weapons.”

Bishop Field concluded, “While this treaty has made a vital contribution to the raising of international standards in relation to the protection of vulnerable civilians, more remains to be done. Moral and political pressure must be brought to bear on those nations that have not yet signed the treaty. Furthermore, nations must be vigilant against the development and production of similarly inhumane weapons in the future.”

Notes for Editors

The role of the Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs is to support the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in promoting the social teaching of the Church and to advise on issues of social concern, both nationally and internationally. Its mission is: To promote the social dimension of the Gospel with a view to building a civilisation of love. 

The ICJSA is based in the Columba Centre, Maynooth, Co Kildare. It is chaired by Bishop Raymond Field, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin, Executive Secretary is Fr Timothy Bartlett and its Research Coordinator is Ms Nicola Rooney.

Trócaire is the overseas aid agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

ENDS

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications (086 172 7678)

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