UN General Assembly Passes DU Resolution
On December 5th, 136 countries voted in favour of a resolution highlighting serious health concerns over the use of depleted uranium weapons at the UN General Assembly.
The vote was the second hearing for a resolution which was originally passed by the UN First Committee on November 2nd 2007. The passage of this vote ensures that the issue of DU will be high on the United Nation's agenda next year.
The resolution's previous hearing at the First Committee had seen it pass by 122 votes to six with 35 abstentions. The General Assembly vote saw it pass by 136 to five with 36 abstentions. The five who voted against were the UK, USA, Netherlands, Israel and the Czech Republic.
"This is fantastic news," said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. "The sheer strength of feeling on this issue at the UN is a reflection of the concerns of individuals and NGOs worldwide. We are disappointed that several NATO members couldn't support the resolution, despite the fact that their service personnel are being exposed to DU in Iraq and elsewhere, but this is a clear mandate for action from the UN."
ICBUW welcomed the support from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, their support ensured that all states that have suffered from military DU pollution voted in favour of the resolution. Curiously, and in spite of being present for the entire day's voting, France, a user and producer of DU weapons, refused to vote on the resolution. They were one of the six that had voted against it in November.
Elsewhere, the stance of the Netherlands had caused some disquiet. Following the first vote in November where they had joined Israel and the US in opposing the resolution, opposition politicians called upon the Dutch government to vote in favour. The night before the General Assembly vote, an emergency resolution was pushed through parliament, the government responded by announcing that it would only support the resolution if the word 'potential' was changed to 'possible', by which time it was too late to change the Indonesian-sponsored text.
The resolution was drafted by the Movement of Non Aligned States and submitted by Indonesia. It requests that states and international bodies submit information on DU to the Secretary General, who will then produce a report on DU for next year's session of the General Assembly; depleted uranium weapons will also feature on the Assembly's agenda.
Watch the video of it happening:
See below for the full text of the resolution:
'Effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium' A/C.1/62/L.18/Rev.1
Full text (select your language of choice):
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Czech Republic, Israel, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States.
Abstain: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine.
Absent: Angola, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, France, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Monaco, Seychelles, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu.