UK MPs accuse US military of human rights atrocity over use of toxic munitions in Fallujah

In a sign of growing disquiet at the continuing media reports of a health crisis in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, British MPs have submitted a parliamentary motion accusing the US military of a human rights atrocity.

12 March 2010 - ICBUW

Responding to reports from Sky News, the Guardian newspaper and the BBC of a developing humanitarian crisis in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, a mixture of Labour, Liberal Democrat and independent members of parliament have supported an Early Day Motion that accuses US forces of involvement in a human rights atrocity.

What is an Early Day Motion?

Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated. Instead, they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

An MP can add their signature to an EDM to show their support. They can also submit amendments to an existing EDM.

Costa Rica ban production of depleted uranium weapons in their free trade zones

Costa Rica has set a global precedent by introducing legislation banning the manufacture of uranium weapons in their Zonas Francas, or Free Trade Zones.
24 February 2010 - ICBUW

In a sign of growing political opposition to uranium weapons, Costa Rica has passed legislation banning their production in its Free Trade Zones. Zonas Francas or Free Ports are common throughout Latin America and are seen as a means of boosting employment in deprived areas by offering favourable operating conditions to foreign companies. This usually means lower tax and other duties.

The move is not without precedent in the country, three years ago similar steps were taken to restrict the manufacturing of infrared military ranging equipment on Costa Rican territory. According to legislators, Costa Rica is proud of its peaceful domestic and foreign policy and believes these policies should be extended to other areas of life - such as commerce and manufacturing.

University of Vermont Divests from Cluster Munition and Depleted Uranium Manufacturers

Divestment Logo

The Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont in the US has voted to exclude the manufacturers of depleted uranium weapons and cluster munitions from its investment portfolio.

Students Against War (SAW), a campaign group based at the university has been actively seeking a resolution on ethical investments for more than a year. It has been assisted by the university's Socially Responsible Investing Working Group.

Both the Cluster Munition Coalition and ICBUW have called for people to take action against banks and other institutions that invest in the producers of indiscriminate weapons.


Uranium Weapons - All Roads Lead to the World Health Organisation

WHO logo

Last December, 141 states supported a General Assembly resolution requesting that the United Nation’s agencies - the WHO, IAEA and UNEP - update their positions on the potential threat to human health and the environment posed by the use of uranium weapons. Of these, it seems to be that of the WHO which will prove the most influential.

 17 November 2009 - Doug Weir and Gretel Munroe


This was the second NAM resolution on uranium weapons in recent years and it garnered more support than its 2008 predecessor. Abstentions were down as Finland, Norway and Iceland voted in favour while France, Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom were left more isolated than ever.