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Blessed are the peacemakers – CMC Win Tipperary International Peace Prize

World wide campaigners, who helped secure the recent global ban on “Cluster Bombs” are this years recipients of the Tipperary International Peace Prize.

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Last month, 94 countries, including Ireland, signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a treaty soon to outlaw the use, manufacture and stockpiling of cluster bombs, following its endorsement on May 30th. 2008, in Dublin and the later signing  in Oslo on December 3rd. and 4th. December 2008 last.

The Cluster Munition Coalition movement or CMC, which was formed in 2003, is made up of over 250 groups including civil society organizations,NGOs, faith-based groups and professional organizations working in at least 70 different countries, all who strive to terminate the senseless loss of life and loss of limbs directly caused by the use of these munitions.

Cluster munitions are larger weapons which are deployed either from the air or from the ground and release hundreds of smaller sub-munitions. Sub-munitions released by air-dropped cluster bombs are most often called “bomblets “.   Those delivered from the ground by artillery or rockets launching are usually referred to as “grenades.”  The use of these cluster munitions kill and injure  many more civilians than soldiers. The use of these weapons caused more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system then in use.

At least 15 countries have used cluster munitions in the past and these include United Kingdom, Russia (USSR), United States of America, France,Eritrea, Ethiopia,  Georgia, Israel, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan,  and FR Yugoslavia.

Some 27 countries who are known to have produced cluster munitions are United Kingdom, France, China, Japan, Brazil,  Egypt,  Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and  United States.

A ceremony to celebrate the first year Anniversary of the Adoption of this Convention on Cluster Munitions will be held in Dublin on the 30th. May 2009.

The Tipperary Peace Award was founded in 1984. It’s principal aim is to give recognition to those who promote the ideals of peace and peaceful co-operation both in Ireland and abroad. Over the past years, the Prize has been awarded to a range of peacemakers. Some have taken centre stage; others have worked behind the scenes, in brokering peace accords under the most difficult of circumstances. They are recognised for their courage in the face of adversity, for their perseverance through the most despairing of situations and  for their vision and foresight at times when all around was disillusion and despair.

Some previous winners of the Tipperary International Peace Prize include:

South African President Nelson Mandela.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

The late Senator Gordon Wilson.

Live-Aid organiser Bob Geldof.

US Senator George Mitchell.

Retired Archbishop of Armagh, Lord Robin Eames.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,

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