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Chris Bryant, Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, moved the second reading of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill which has already passed all its stages in the Lords.
Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill
The second reading was agreed without a vote and the Bill has now been referred to a Committee of the whole House. The remaining stages of the measure are expected to be debated on 23 March.
The Bill creates criminal offences in order to enforce the prohibitions set out in Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
This bans the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions on the grounds that they cause unacceptable harm to civilians, and establishes measures to minimise the harm to civilians in the aftermath of conflicts.
Ninety-four states signed and four states ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions at a ceremony in Oslo on 3 December 2008. The UK also signed, although it was a relatively late convert to the idea of a total ban.
Once the Bill becomes law, the UK will then move to ratify the Convention, which has yet to come into force. The Government has announced that it intends to destroy all cluster munition stockpiles by the end of 2013. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have given their full support to the Bill.
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