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Cluster Bombs

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department's human rights monitors have made of the use of cluster bombs; why those used in the Lebanon-Israel conflict were not referred to in her Department's Human Rights Annual Report 2006; if she will ensure that such a reference is included in the next report; and if she will make a statement. (103570)

The UK continues to be concerned by levels of unexploded ordnance in south Lebanon.

Cluster munitions are legitimate weapons when used in accordance with international humanitarian law.

We are aware of allegations that Israel fired cluster bombs into civilian areas and have called on the Government of Israel to make a public statement about its use of cluster bombs during the Lebanon conflict.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2006 Human Rights Annual Report covers the period from July 2005 to late August 2006. At the time of writing, many of the details surrounding the Israel/Lebanon conflict were still unclear. A decision was made not to cover the conflict as a whole. However, we were able to insert a section about the UK's efforts to bring about a ceasefire and our plans to help with reconstruction. Additionally, two paragraphs were added to the section on Syria remarking on their unhelpful role in supporting Hezbollah. We intend to cover the Israel/Hezbollah conflict in greater detail in our next report.