Bombies: The Banning of Unconventional Weapons
by Andrea Holley, Manager of Outreach and Public Education, Human Rights Watch
Certain types of weapons are forbidden under international law, specifically under the Convention Against the Use of Unconventional Weapons and under international humanitarian law. Weapons with a widespread target area that do not differentiate between civilian and military targets are considered illegal.
The film Bombies documents how weapons such as cluster bombs continue to damage and destroy people's lives long after a war ends. In present-day Cambodia, we see farmers who cannot grow food and children who cannot play in fields due to munitions left from the illegal and clandestine bombing by the United States during the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago.
The U.S. continues to use unconventional weapons in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Many countries continue to make such weapons despite widespread condemnation of their production and sale. Moreover, the countries that produce these munitions are almost never the countries that suffer from their use.
Various non-governmental organizations work in countries such as Cambodia to train local people how to contain and diffuse arms such as cluster bombs. In so doing, many individuals risk their lives. But as one woman remarks in the film, she is willing to risk her own life to save the lives of her countrymen and women.