GENEVA - A US-backed proposal to regulate cluster bombs would water down an existing international ban on their use, leaving civilians in conflict zones exposed for years to come, the head of the ICRC has told Reuters.
"It's a step backwards, it is a much lower standard," Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said in an interview in his Geneva office.
The Oslo Convention of 2008 banned their use, production and transfer and laid down timetables for stockpile destruction.
Washington has endorsed a weaker UN.draft pact - in the form of a protocol to the 1980 "Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons" or CCW, that will be discussed from Nov. 14-25 in Geneva by envoys from 114 countries.
"When you look at this (draft) compared to the Oslo Convention, in a way it is going back on standards already set on the level of international humanitarian law," Kellenberger said.