Wien, 15. October 2012 Press release

Spindelegger on Syria: Use of cluster munitions would be a blatant violation of human rights

Austrian Foreign Minister’s concerned about reports on the use of these inhuman weapons in Syria

Vienna, 15 October 2012 - "The most recent reports on the use of cluster munitions by the Syrian army give serious cause for concern. I urge the Syrian Government in the strongest terms to protect its civil society and to refrain from committing further blatant human rights violations against the population through the use of such inhumane weapons “, Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindelegger said in response to reports recently published by the Human Rights Watch NGO.

Reports about the use of cluster munitions by the Syrian army already reached us in July and August, and now again in the past few days. Syrian rebels have put several videos on Internet that suggest the repeated and more intense deployment of cluster munitions in at least eight Syrian cities. Civilians of these cities and communities confirm that the Syrian army bombarded them between 9 and 12 October.

Austria supports the universal prohibition of cluster munitions. Many of these weapons do not explode when deployed, but remain on the ground as highly dangerous duds posing a major threat to civilians, in particular to women and children. One priority area of Austrian foreign policy is the promotion and support of international humanitarian law, and in line with this commitment Austria is actively campaigning for a prohibition of cluster munitions. The Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force in 2010 and has been signed by 111 states and ratified by 77 so far.

“Due to their disastrous long-term effects cluster munitions are internationally shunned. I urge Syria to join the international Convention on Cluster Munitions to protect its civilian population from further suffering. The regime has an obligation to protect its own people, and the use of these inhumane weapons must be stopped immediately”, Spindelegger said.

Contact:
Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
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abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at