Source: Foreign Policy in Focus
Laos, a small landlocked country in Southeast Asia known as “the most bombed country on earth,” fittingly hosted an international disarmament conference in November 2010.
This was a follow-up to an Oslo conference in 2008 when 94 nations signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty to ban all cluster weapons following in the footsteps of the global campaign to ban landmines which came into force in 1999.
“This convention is a humanitarian instrument in nature that aims to liberate ourselves from fear and threat of cluster bombs,” Saleumxay Kommasith, director general of the Department of International Organizations at the Lao foreign ministry, told IPS news agency. “We view our role in the cluster ban treaty as a contributor to the global effort to ban cluster munitions.”
During the “secret war” waged by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1964 to 1973 against communist and nationalist forces in Laos, more bombs were dropped on this rural nation of poor farmers than all the explosives dropped on Germany and Japan in the Second World War. Over two million tons of ordnance was dropped over Laos during the 580,000 bombing missions—this equates to approximately a planeload of bombs every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years.