Over the years, Lebanese children have faced war and bombings enough to make violence a staple in their lives. With the situation becoming increasingly volatile as Lebanese factions are gripped by a lasting and deadly discord, this vulnerable population is left at greater risk.
Six-year-old Umarvek Pulodov was playing in the dining room of his home in Shul village, Tajikistan, when a cluster bomb pierced through the roof, instantly killing his brother, cousin and another relative and severely injuring him, his sister and two younger brothers.
Human-rights and humanitarian groups are hailing provisions of a major appropriations bill approved by Congress this week that bans the export of most U.S.-made cluster bombs and U.S. military aid for foreign governments that use child soldiers.
Kamel Mohammed was pruning lemon trees last winter when his red electric saw detonated an unexploded cluster bomb, blasting shrapnel all over his body. After an operation to remove the metal shards from his chest, Mohammed, a 44-year-old father from the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidieh in south Lebanon, went straight back to work cultivating fields and chopping wood for coal.
As anti-cluster bomb advocates rallied in 40 cities around the world on Monday as part of a Global Day of Action, the United States delegation to a U.N. conference in Geneva this week announced a reversal of its longstanding opposition to negotiations on cluster munitions.
The U.S. is leading efforts to resist a complete ban on cluster bombs, human rights activists have complained.
After a seven year wait, community radio stations in Chile are celebrating a draft law that would regulate and promote their activities, which the government of President Michelle Bachelet has sent to Congress. But they remain aware of the hurdles that still lie ahead.
The explosion ripped through the tiny garden in rural south Lebanon, hurling Naemah Ghazi to the ground. The shrapnel from the bomb sliced through her legs, and she rapidly lost consciousness. "There was a lot of blood," her mother Khadija recalls. "All her body was bleeding."
"Mine action is a male dominated sector, but it doesn't have to be," declares Christina Bennike, the dynamic head of Danish charity Dan Church Aid (DCA) in south Lebanon. "I really felt it would be important to address this from the beginning, then it would be natural instead of something different or unique."
Peru's proposal to make Latin America the world's first cluster munitions-free region received broad support from the countries that took part in this week's intergovernmental conference on a future global treaty against the weapons in Lima, said local authorities.
A future international treaty to ban cluster munitions should prohibit financial institutions from investing in companies that manufacture the weapons, Thomas Nash, coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), told IPS in the Peruvian capital.
Close to a million unexploded bombs are estimated to litter southern Lebanon, according to UN forces engaged in the hazardous task of removing them.