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Portland Beat the Drums marks start of Convention on Cluster Munitions

Lynn Bradach led a ceremony to mark the landmark treaty for the Convention of Cluster Munitions, effective today and to pay tribute to her son, Marine Corporal Travis Bradach-Nall who was killed by a cluster bomb in Iraq in 2003. Portland, 01/08/2010
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), "prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Cluster Munitions. Separate articles in the Convention concern assistance to victims, clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles."

Beginning in Dublin, it was adopted by 107 states on May 30th 2008 and was then signed on December 3rd. It is a result of the Oslo process which is an 'open time bound diplomatic process' which includes, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Cluster Munition Coalition and the United Nations. As usual, major cluster bomb producing nations, including the United States, Israel, China and Russia do not support the agreement as they claim that such munitions have legitimate military uses.

Held at Portland's Peace Memorial Park on the east side of the Steel Bridge the event was started with a bagpipe performance followed with a speech from Lynn Bradach. Her son was killed by a U.S. cluster bomb in Karbala, Iraq on July 2nd 2003 during unexploded munitions clearing. Since his death, Lynn has been working round the clock to, "end war, clear the refuse of munitions left from war and for the adoption of national legislation and the international Convention to limit and ultimately ban the use of cluster munitions." The demonstration was aimed at bringing attention to CCM coming into effect.

She also spoke at the November 2008 Geneva meeting regarding the international Convention on Cluster Munitions and was in Oslo in December 2008 for the signing of the convention.

Clearly moved by talking about her son she explained, "this is not a political issue. This is a humanitarian issue. I personally know the pain of these weapons."

A statement by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued on February 16th 2010 states, "Cluster munitions are unreliable and inaccurate. During conflict and long after it has ended, they maim and kill scores of civilians, including many children. They impair post-conflict recovery by making roads and land inaccessible to farmers and aid workers." He goes on to say, "The Secretary-General calls on all States to become a party to the Convention without delay."

A Cluster munition can be deployed from either the air or the ground and release hundreds of smaller submunitions also referred to when dropped from the air as 'bomblets' or 'grenades' when deployed from artillery on the ground. According to some research one third of recorded cluster munition casualties are children and the weapon has caused more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system.

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