News

Bishop Kenney calls on Government to support International Treaty banning cluster munitions

21/11/2006

Alongside other faith leaders, the new auxiliary bishop of Birmingham, the Right Reverend William Kenney, has urged the Government to support an international treaty banning cluster munitions, warheads that scatter scores of smaller bombs.

In a letter from faith leaders, Bishop William Kenney CP said:

“The civilian harm caused by these weapons both during and after conflict has been documented over a long period and continues to grow. These weapons cause death and injury to civilians during attacks and for years afterwards because of the lethal contamination that they cause.”

The European affairs spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Bishop Kenney, called on the UK Government to show: "a clear commitment to the protection of civilians during conflict. Such action would be welcomed by people of all faiths as an act of peace.”

Other signatories to the letter include:

Rt Rev Dr David Stancliffe
Bishop of Salisbury

Rt Rev Colin Bennetts
Bishop of Coventry

Indarjit Singh
Chairman, Network of Sikh Organisations

Dudley Coates
Vice-president, Methodists Conference

Rev Jonathan Edwards
General Secretary, Baptist Union of GB

Rabbi Margaret Jacobi, Rabbi Rachel Benjamin
Joint-chairs, Liberal Judaism Rabbinic Conference

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari
Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Julia Neuberger

Rt Rev William Kenney
Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham and European Affairs spokesman
Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Sheik Adbul Hakim Murad
Religious scholar, Cambridge University

Full Text

We call on the government to support the negotiation of an international treaty prohibiting cluster munitions. The civilian harm caused by these weapons both during and after conflict has been documented over a long period and continues to grow. These weapons cause death and injury to civilians during attacks and for years afterwards because of the lethal contamination that they cause; they impede post-conflict rebuilding and rehabilitation and absorb precious humanitarian funds that could be spent on other pressing needs. This week in Geneva the UK has a chance to step forward and demonstrate a clear commitment to the protection of civilians during conflict. Such action would be welcomed by people of all faiths as an act of peace.