Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Unexploded ordinance are still a problem for Vietnamese

A15-year-old Vietnamese boy was killed recently when he came across a silver ball while tending to his family’s livestock, The Washington Post reported yesterday. The silver ball was an unexploded shell from a cluster bomb dropped by the United States over 30 years ago that exploded as the boy was playing with it.

Despite ordinance removal efforts, peasant farmers and their families are the ones must affected by this problem. One estimate tells the entire story: at the current pace it will take 100 years to remove all of the unexploded ordinance from just one province, Quang Tri. According to government figures, there remains anywhere from 350,000 to 850,000 tons of ordinance throughout the country.

In response to the teenager’s death, 46 countries have moved to ban the production and use of cluster munitions. However, the three largest producers of such weapons, the United States, China and Russia, did not sign onto this agreement.

Quang Tri is one of the more impoverished provinces in Viet Nam, with over 60 percent of residents living below the international poverty line. Since the end of the Viet Nam War, 38,000 people have been killed by unexploded ordinance and an additional 64,000 have been wounded.

To read this article, click here.


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