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House Progressives on Biden Administration’s Cluster Munitions Transfer to Ukraine

WASHINGTON— 19 members of the House of Representatives issued the following statement on the White House’s decision to transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine:

“The United States has a proud commitment to global moral leadership and the defense of human rights. That commitment should have included refusing to transfer cluster munitions that, by design, hold a serious risk of severe harm to civilians.

“Cluster munitions have been banned by nearly 125 countries under the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions because of the indiscriminate harm they cause, including mass civilian injury and death.  That is why since Fiscal Year 2010, and in all subsequent appropriations bills including last year, Congress has enacted severe restrictions on the transfer of cluster munitions with bipartisan support. It is also why Members of Congress from across the political spectrum have long called on the United States to join global allies and sign on to that U.N. Convention, and why they joined nearly 40 civil society organizations to urge the Biden Administration not to engage in any transfer of cluster munitions. 

“Experts warn that the likelihood of leaving behind dangerous unexploded material is dependent on several factors and potentially much higher than the Pentagon has estimated. The reality is that there is no such thing as a safe cluster bomb — and using or transferring them for use hurts the global effort to eradicate these dangerous munitions, taking us down the wrong path. The U.S. history of using cluster munitions — particularly the legacy of long-term harm to civilians in Southeast Asia — should prevent us from repeating the mistakes of our past.

“We can and will continue to support our Ukrainian allies’ defense against Russia’s aggression. However, that support does not require we undermine the United States’ leadership in advocating for human rights around the world, enable indiscriminate harm that will only further endanger Ukrainian civilians, or distance us from European partners in the conflict who are signatories to the U.N. Convention opposing cluster munitions.

“The White House’s announcement runs counter to Congress’s restrictions on the transfer of these weapons and severely undermines our moral leadership. It underscores the work still ahead to press the U.S. to join the international community in banning the use of cluster munitions.”

This statement was sent on behalf of: Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Greg Casar (TX-35), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Lloyd Doggett (TX-37), Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Janice Schakowsky (IL-09), Mark Takano (CA-39), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Summer Lee (PA-12), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), Cori Bush (MO-01), Val Hoyle (OR-04), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07).