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Parlatino calls for a moratorium on uranium weapons

Costa Rican politician leads push for regional action on depleted uranium weapons in Latin American Parliament as Human Rights Committee accepts wide-ranging resolution.
21 September 2009 - ICBUW

The Human Rights, Justice and Prison Policy Commission of the Latin American Parliament has passed a resolution calling for a regional moratorium on uranium weapons. Resolutions from the parliament's Standing Committees are accepted as official resolutions.

The resolution, which calls for a regional moratorium on the use, production and procurement of uranium weapons and calls on the Parlatino's members to work towards an international uranium weapons treaty, was submitted by Costa Rican parliamentarian Alexander Mora Mora (Liberacion Nacional). Mora Mora has been one of the main forces behind Costa Rica's imminent ban on uranium weapons and is also President of the Parlatino's Human Rights Commission.

Alexander Mora Mora Mora Mora speaking at the Latin American Conference on Uranium Weapons.

Following ICBUW's Latin American Conference on Uranium Weapons, Mora Mora invited Damacio Lopez - Director of ICBUW member organisation IDUST - to submit evidence on the threat posed to human health and the environment by uranium weapons at the Parlatino in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That evidence, coupled with the growing international momentum for a treaty banning the use of uranium weapons, was sufficient to compel the committee to take action.

The text approved by the commission is based on the resolution passed by 94% of MEPs in the European Parliament in May 2008. It has at its heart the need for states to take a precautionary approach to the use of uranium weapons. It was this simple approach that led to unanimous votes in favour of a ban in the Belgian Parliament in 2007. In addition to its call for a moratorium, the resolution also requests member states to avoid deploying troops to areas where uranium weapons have been used, to warn them of the health risks if they are deployed and to map sites within the region that are contaminated.

At present it is thought that mercifully few sites in Central and South America have been contaminated by uranium weapons, these include the Puerto Rican island and ex-firing range of Vieques and Panama, where the US undertook tropical climate testing of DU rounds. Nevertheless, ICBUW welcomes additional scrutiny of potentially contaminated sites and is equally keen to discover whether individual states have developed DU weapons or imported US or Soviet products.

ICBUW's campaign for a uranium weapons treaty has found solid support amongst the region, with Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba and Costa Rica supporting a moratorium.

The commission was composed of Deputy Alexander Mora Mora - President (Costa Rica), Senador Carlos Rossi (Argentina), Diputado Gabriel Ascencio (Chile), Senador Jesús Garigary García (Mexico), Diputado Oscar Escobar (Paraguay), Senadora Mara Digna Roa Rosas (Paraguay), Diputado Rodolfo Caram (Uruguay) and Senadora Eunice Eiden (Netherlands Antilles).



Resolution of the Parlatino Standing Commission for Human Rights, Justice and Prison Policies

Ban uranium weapons

Resolution of the Commission on Human Rights, Justice and Prison Policies of the Latin American Parliament, on 10 September 2009, on uranium weapons (DU) and its impact on human health and the environment - towards a global ban on the use of those weapons, adopted in Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

The Commission on Human Rights, Justice and Prison Policies of the Latin American Parliament:

- Having regard to the speech by Secretary General of the United Nations on the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (6 November 2002)
- Having regard to United Nations' General Assembly resolution A/RES/62/30, adopted on 5 December 2007, in which it highlights serious health problems related to the use of depleted uranium weapons,
- View the presentation of Mr. Damacio Lopez, Director of IDUST, before members of the Commission on Human Rights, Justice and Prison Policies of the Latin American Parliament on 20 March 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on uranium weapons (depleted) and its impact on human health and the environment - towards a global ban on the use of such weapons.

A. Whereas uranium (DU) has been widely used in modern warfare, both as ammunition against hardened targets in rural and urban environments and for reinforced armour against missile attacks and artillery,
B. Whereas, since its use by the allied forces in the first war against Iraq, has seen a serious concern over the radiological and chemical toxicity of the fine uranium particles produced when such weapons impact on hardened targets, and that also expressed concern about contamination of soil and groundwater by ammunition that fired on target with the resulting consequences for the civilian population,
C. Whereas, despite scientific research to date have found no conclusive evidence of harm, there are numerous testimonies about their harmful effects, and often fatal for both military personnel and civilians,
D. Whereas in recent years have seen great advances in the understanding of the risks that depleted uranium poses to the environment and health, and it is time that these developments are reflected in the rules governing the international military,
E. Whereas the use of depleted uranium in warfare runs counter to the norms and principles enshrined in both written and customary international humanitarian and environmental law codified.



1. Urges all Member States of the Latin American Parliament to adhere to this resolution and submit a report containing their views on the effects of the use of armaments and ammunitions containing depleted uranium;

2. Recommends that the Secretary of the Commission include in the next meeting of the Board of the Latin American Parliament the need to think seriously about the future utility of unguided munitions and cluster bombs, mines and other weapons of indiscriminate effect, as depleted uranium weapons;

3. Requests the Board to instruct that the Parlatino launch scientific studies into the use of depleted uranium in all regions that have been deployed military and civilian personnel in Latin America and internationally;

4. Urges Member States of the Latin American Parliament within the framework of future operations, to avoid the use of DU weapons in their operations for Latin American Security Policy and Defence, and the deployment of military and civilian personnel in regions where there can be no assurances that depleted uranium has not been used;

5. Urges Member States of the Latin American Parliament, to provide full information to their military and civilian personnel on mission, and their professional organizations, regarding the probability that DU has been or might have been used in their area of operations, and to take sufficient protective measures;

6. Invites Member States of the Latin American Parliament, to establish an environmental inventory of areas contaminated by depleted uranium (including test ranges) and to provide full support, including financial support, to those projects likely to assist victims and their families, as well as clean-up operations in the affected areas, if a negative effect on human health and the environment is confirmed;

7. Reiterates in the strongest terms its call upon all Member States of the Latin American Parliament to impose a moratorium on the use of depleted uranium weapons and to redouble their efforts towards a global ban, and to systematically cease production and procurement of such weapons;

8. Invites Member States of the Latin American Parliament to take the lead towards an international treaty through the Latin American Parliament or a "coalition of the willing ', on banning the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, testing and use of uranium weapons and the destruction or recycling of existing stocks, if there is conclusive scientific evidence of the damage caused by these weapons;

9. Instructs the Secretary of Commission to transmit this resolution to the Board of the Latin American Parliament, the parliaments of the Member States of the Latin American Parliament, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization.

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