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Thailand admits controversial weapon use

Thailand admitted using controversial weapons during a border clash with neighbouring Cambodia in February but insisted it did not classify them as cluster munitions.



Bangkok: Thailand on Thursday admitted using
controversial weapons during a border clash with neighbouring
Cambodia in February but insisted it did not classify them as
cluster munitions.

Responding to accusations from campaigners, the Thai
army said it had used Dual Purpose Improved Conventional
Munitions (DPICM) during the recent heavy fighting on the
shared border.

Thailand`s foreign ministry also confirmed that the
country had used the weapons but said they were "deployed on
the basis of necessity, proportionality and strict code of
conduct".

DPICMs burst into bomblets which are designed for both
anti-armour and anti-personnel attack, according to
GlobalSecurity.org, a US-based public policy organisation
focusing on defence intelligence.
They are defined as cluster munitions by the global
campaign group Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), which
yesterday slammed Thailand`s use of the arms.

The group, which campaigns against the bombs, said the
Thai-Cambodian conflict was the first confirmed use of cluster
munitions anywhere in the world since the Convention on
Cluster Munitions became international law.

The convention came into effect in August last year,
requiring signatories to stop the use of the weapons, but
neither Thailand nor Cambodia have signed the treaty.

CMC said the munitions have "caused large numbers of
civilian casualties" when used by the United States in
Afghanistan in 2001-2 and Iraq in 2003, as well as by Israel
in Lebanon in 2006. Neither Israel or the US are listed as
signatories of the convention.

The group detailed its own investigation of Cambodian
government claims that the deadly munitions had landed on its
territory in four days of unrest between the neighbours in
early February.

The Thai ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva
had confirmed the use of DPICMs "in self-defence" in a meeting
with CMC on Tuesday, CMC said in a statement.

"It`s appalling that any country would resort to using
cluster munitions after the international community banned
them," added CMC director Laura Cheeseman.

CMC said a cluster bomb had killed two Cambodian
policemen during the February clashes and warned that
thousands of people remained at risk from unexploded bomblets
in several villages along the northern border.

Launched from the ground or dropped from the air,
cluster bombs split open before impact to scatter multiple
bomblets over a wide area. Many fail to explode and can lie
hidden for decades.

PTI

From Zee News

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