by Sam Bolton
November 10, 2010
Nearly 40 years after the end of the Vietnam war, Laos is still contaminated with 80 million unexploded bomblets from cluster bombs. These indiscriminate weapons remain active and continue to kill for years after they are used. Over 30 countries around the world are affected.
This week in Vientiane, Laos PDR, representatives from over 110 governments and 400 civil society organisations will agree on a 65 point concrete plan for the next five years.
This is the first time since the weapons were banned, governments now have the opportunity to turn legal words into concrete action to destroy stockpiles, clear land and assist victims.
The treaty banning cluster bombs became binding under international law on August 1st,2010.
It is estimated that 20,000 people have been killed since the end of the Vietnam war in Laos from unexploded ordnance. Nobody knows how many have been injured.
A cluster bomb can be cleared in a day, but a cluster bomb victim needs help for life.