cluster bomb 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Amnesty International, the UK-based human rights organization, has called on Israel to provide maps of the areas of Lebanon into which it fired cluster bombs during the recent conflict to allow their clearance and prevent civilian casualties.
The call, made in a statement on Friday, followed condemnation by the United Nations of Israel's use of cluster bombs during the recent conflict in Lebanon.
Kate Gilmore, executive deputy secretary general of Amnesty, said: "The use of cluster bombs in the heart of where people live clearly violates the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks and is therefore a grave violation of international humanitarian law.
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"It is outrageous that, despite official requests from the UN, Israel has still not provided maps for the areas it targeted with cluster bombs. This failure is further endangering the lives of Lebanese civilians, particularly children."
The human rights organization also called on Israel to cooperate in "a full and impartial investigation" into their use of such munitions during the recent conflict.
Israel has stressed that all the weapons it uses are legal under international law.
No international treaties or laws specifically forbid the use of cluster bombs, but the Geneva Conventions outline rules to protect civilians during conflict. Because cluster bombs often maim civilians after fighting ends, their use by Israel against targets in Lebanese cities and towns has been criticized by human rights groups.
On Thursday, Jan Egeland, the UN's humanitarian chief, accused Israel of "completely immoral" use of cluster bombs. According to reports, UN clearance experts had so far found 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets at 359 separate sites.
Cluster munitions are air-dropped or ground launched shells that eject multiple small sub-munitions (bomblets) over a wide area. It is said that many of the bomblets do not explode on impact, remaining lethal to the area.
The UN claimed that 90 percent of cluster bomb strikes occurred at the latter end of the hostilities.
"What's shocking and completely immoral is 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution," Egeland said.
Egeland said: "Cluster bombs have affected large areas - lots of homes, lots of farmland. They will be with us for many months, possibly years.
"Every day, people are maimed, wounded and killed by these weapons. It shouldn't have happened," he added.
Last week the US State Department launched an inquiry into whether Israel misused US-made cluster bombs in Lebanon during the conflict.
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