For second time running, Pakistan cluster munition appears in promotional material

(Beirut, Friday 16 September) For the second time running, cluster bombs have been promoted at the Defence & Security Equipment international (DSEi) arms fair, campaigners have learnt.

A British MP saw the material and alerted Defence and Security International, who took action to shut down the stands in question yesterday. Cluster munitions are banned under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, to which the UK is a party, having enacted national legislation prohibiting the weapons in early 2010.

In violation of UK law and DSEi’s own rules, Pakistan Ordnance Factory and Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organisation Pavilion displayed promotional material for artillery launched cluster munitions. Pakistan Ordnance Factory advertised the 155mm Base Bleed Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM), an artillery shell containing 45 sub-munitions. Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organisation advertised the 155mm Improved Conventional Munition M483A1, an artillery shell containing 88 sub-munitions. NGOs raised concerns about the very same Pakistani weapons producers, which advertised the 155mm Base Bleed DPICM at DSEi in 2009.

“It was totally unacceptable when cluster bombs were promoted at DSEi in 2009, but it’s frankly baffling that DSEi can have made the same mistake two years later,” said Thomas Nash, Director of UK campaign group Article 36. “DSEi and the UK government need to investigate this and the UK should prosecute any companies found to be illegally promoting cluster bombs. Those companies should be banned from promoting their products on British soil.”

Following concerns raised by Green MP Caroline Lucas, DSEi shut down the stands for both Pakistan Ordnance Factory and Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organisation Pavilion. This decision was supported by the UK government.

Campaigners and government delegates are this week attending the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Beirut, Lebanon, where states have reaffirmed their commitment to bring all countries on board the treaty and to eradicate cluster munitions completely.

“Earlier this week, the UK Ambassador to the Beirut meeting said the fact that countries are still using cluster munitions should enrage us. The UK should also be enraged that the system has failed to prevent foreign companies promoting these deadly weapons in London,” said Katherine Harrison, Policy and Research Manager at Action on Armed Violence.

ENDS

See DSEi release on the shut down of the Pakistan Ordnance Factory stand and Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organisation Pavilion: http://www.dsei.co.uk/page.cfm/T=m/Action=Press/PressID=161

See release by the Cluster Munition Coalition on the conclusion of the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Beirut here:  www.stopclustermunitions.org

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