Handicap International urges Canada to amend flawed draft bill on cluster munitions

MONTREAL, Sept. 24, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Handicap International, committed to the fight against antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions for the past 30 years, is organizing its 6th Pyramid of Shoes on Saturday, September 29th, 2012, in Montreal's Phillips Square, in the presence of spokesperson Marie Fugain. That day is an opportunity to rally citizens against landmines and cluster munitions. This year's event will focus in particular on Canada's current draft bill on cluster munitions, and invite citizens to sign the petition to fix it.

Handicap International is indeed calling on the federal government to fix the bill on cluster munitions that was introduced in the Senate last April as Bill S-10, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The legislation is required to enable the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Canada, which comprehensively bans all cluster munitions.

The bill has significant omissions which could have fatal consequences for civilians. Indeed, if it were voted in its current form, the current legislation could allow Canadian forces to assist other States that have not yet joined the Convention with the use of cluster munitions.  In certain circumstances, Canadian forces could even use the weapons themselves. Furthermore, the bill does not clearly state that the investments in cluster munitions are prohibited.

Cluster munitions, just like landmines, perpetuate poverty and prevent development. They leave a legacy of indiscriminate civilian injuries and deaths, burden struggling healthcare systems and render vast tracts of land uninhabitable and unproductive. As of August 2011, 44 countries and territories were still affected by the presence of unexploded munitions.

"Canada was one of the very first countries to sign the Convention in 2008 and it should continue in the same direction by fully banning the use of these deadly weapons by Canadian troops," said Marc Drolet, Executive Director of Handicap International Canada. "The bill should be amended so as to provide full protection to civilians - and this includes a complete prohibition on investments in cluster munitions by banks and investors."

Since 2007, the Shoe Pyramids have been Handicap International's annual call for activism against landmines and cluster munitions. The event takes place on the same day in over 30 cities in France. Citizens are invited to bring second-hand shoes to show their support to the victims on Saturday, September 29th, 2012 at Square Phillips in Montreal and sign the petition to fix the bill, launched by Mines Action Canada, which can also be found online: http://bit.ly/fixthebillca

The shoes collected are sorted by our partner association Certex and recycled or distributed to disadvantaged people in Canada and abroad.


For further information:

Mathieu De Latour
(514) 713-1053

Andréa Barsony
(514) 908-2813, poste 227

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