Houlahan opposes giving cluster munitions to Ukraine

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-6)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday morning, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-6), co-chair of the bipartisan Unexploded Ordinance (UXO)/Demining Caucus, announced her opposition to reports that the Biden Administration will provide cluster munitions to Ukraine:

“From the outset of Russia’s unjust war, I have been one of the most vocal and supportive Members of Congress when it comes to providing Ukraine the resources and weapon systems they need to defend themselves and their sovereignty,” said Houlahan in a statement. “I believe a victory for Ukraine is an essential victory for democracies across the globe, but that victory cannot come at the expense of our American values and thus democracy itself. Cluster munitions are indiscriminate, and I strongly oppose providing these weapons to Ukraine.”

Houlahan continued: “There are some who will say that these weapons are necessary to level the battlefield given Russia’s reported use of them. To those individuals, I challenge the notion that these weapons are the most effective support we can provide Ukraine right now. I challenge the notion that we should employ the same tactics Russia is using, blurring the lines of moral high ground. And I challenge all of us to remember that this war will end, and the broken pieces of Ukraine will need to be rebuilt. History remembers not only who wins a war but also how a war is won.”

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which neither the United States nor Ukraine has signed or ratified, prohibits signatories from developing, building, using, stockpiling or transferring cluster munitions to any other nation or party. It recognizes the indiscriminate nature of these weapons and their ongoing potential for civilian harm years after conflicts have ended. While not a signatory to the treaty, in 2009, the United States implemented export restrictions on the majority of cluster munitions and has sought to eliminate our stockpile of cluster munitions with a failure rate of over 1%, recognizing their inherent danger.

The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines & Cluster Munition Coalition, a group of dozens of prominent human rights organizations, has strongly opposed this reported transfer, nothing that “cluster munitions are among the most harmful weapons to civilians” and urging the United States to “not be complicit in the use of these devastating and indiscriminate weapons.”

Regarding Houlahan’s ongoing support for Ukraine, she added: “Next week, the House is set to debate and pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I have authored and supported numerous provisions in the NDAA supporting Ukraine’s defense, and I will enthusiastically advocate for those provisions as we pass the final bill. As discussions regarding support for Ukraine continue in the House, Senate, and White House, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to ensure we make the best possible decisions for the future of our nation and our globe.”

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