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Sri Lanka denies cluster bomb use as it takes over presidency of Convention on Cluster Munitions

The Sri Lankan government continued to deny it has ever deployed cluster munitions, as it took over the presidency of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CMC) in Geneva this week.

Addressing the closing session of the Eighth Meeting of States Parties (8MSP) Ambassador A.L.A Azeez said Colombo had never used cluster munitions, despite evidence to the contrary.

Leaked photos obtained by the Guardian in 2016 showed demining teams excavating cluster munitions from Kilinochchi and Chalai in Mullaitivu, sites of heavy bombardment by Sri Lankan forces during the armed conflict. Though the Halo Trust did not comment on the photographs, it confirmed that it had recovered a total of 42 cluster munitions in several sites around the Tamil North-East during de-mining work in 2011 and 2012.

Deminers unearth a RBK-500 AO-2.5RT cluster bomb near Chalai. Photograph: The Guardian/Together Against Genocide

Despite the concern, Sri Lanka was chosen to take over the presidency of the CMC this week, with Azeez hailing the move as “historic”.

"Our leadership, built on the strength of national accomplishments, could serve as a catalyst for and inspire other countries to appreciate the value of peacebuilding and national advancement in realizing sustainable, peaceful and inclusive societies," he added.

See more in our feature: Leaked photos confirm cluster bomb use in Sri Lanka (19 Jun 2016)

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