US move to undercut cluster bomb ban defeated | Northern Voices Online: NVO News Blog The US, along with Russia, China Israel and India has been defeated in its efforts to introduce regulation in the place of outright ban on cluster bombs. The motion to introduce regulation of cluster bombs failed after it was opposed by more than 50 countries at a conference in Geneva. Cluster bombs release bomblets over a wide area. They are opposed by Human Rights organizations like Human Rights Watch on the grounds that they pose a lethal threat to civilians. Many of the cluster bombs fail to go off on impact and lay hidden long after the end of conflict only to explode later killing or maiming civilians. They also say that cluster bombs are indiscriminate in their killings, as they are spread over a wide area and not targeted. US, Russian and China, all major producers of cluster bombs oppose an outright ban saying that it is needed to eliminate enemies spread over a large area. Switching to conventional weapons, they say, in such circumstances would only increase collateral damage and prolong conflict. Humanitarian groups say bringing in regulation would be a step back from the Oslo Convention which seeks and outright ban. US counters that 85-90% of the cluster bombs are produced in countries which are not signatories of the Oslo convention and have no intention of joining. The US regulation seeks to ban cluster bombs produced before 1980, and reduce their failure rate to 1% by 2018. Opponents say that older cluster bombs were being phased out anyway and failure rates were hard to measure, notoriously inconsistent with the rates found in laboratory tests. For example cluster bombs dropped by Israel against Lebanon said to be top-notch with a failure rate of 1% actually resulted in a failure rate of 10%. Cluster bombs, they say pose a lethal hazard to children especially who are attracted to its toy like shape, and might trigger it off accidently. Opponents include the International Committee of the Red Cross and top U N officials for human rights, emergency relief and development. â€œThe adoption of (the U.S.-led plan) that contains such provisions would set a disturbing precedent in international humanitarian law. It would, for the first time, create a new international treaty that is actually weaker than existing international humanitarian law,â€ they said in a statement.