The beginning of the end for cluster bombs?

The beginning of the end for cluster bombs?

After ten days of talks in Ireland, representatives of more than a hundred nations have agreed to back an international ban on the production and use of one of the most deadly of all modern weapons: cluster bombs.

A cluster bomb bomblet

Bomblets can lie unnoticed for years after conflicts

Cluster bombs contain hundreds of mini-bomblets.

They disperse over a wide area. And, crucially, some of them do not explode upon impact and remain a danger for years to come.

So the victims, often civilians, suffer long after the area is no longer a battlefield.

Despite the agreement, some of the world's biggest users and manufacturers, including the US, Israel, Russia and India did not sign it.

Some military experts, like former military pilot, Andrew Brooks, believe cluster bombs are too useful to give up entirely.

Listen Listen to Andrew Brooks (37 secs)

A man who was injured by a cluster bomb campaigns in Dublin

The remaining bomblets can cause horrific injuries

Raed Mokaled's son was killed by a cluster bomb in southern Lebanon in 1999.

Listen Listen to Raed Mokaled (18 secs)

Thomas Nash is coordinator of the Cluster Munitions Coalition, which has been campaigning on the issue for the past 5 years.

How good is this treaty?

Listen Listen to Thomas Nash (3 mins 31 secs)

First broadcast 29 May 2008

To see how cluster bombs work click here