Call For UN To Stand Against Depleted Uranium

23 September 2010
Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament, today lent his support to international calls for a UN resolution to increase transparency on the use of depleted uranium weapons and to ensure their eventual banning.

In a joint letter from members of the European Parliament to the UN member states, MEPs call for the UN to adopt a resolution which will commit member states to tighter controls on the manufacture, export and use of depleted uranium weapons, as well as publically stating their use in combat zones. At present only the United Kingdom and the United States of America have acknowledged their use of depleted uranium in combat situations.

The letter also calls for a full ban on the use of depleted uranium weapons. Evidence from the first Gulf War and the Balkan Conflicts suggests that depleted uranium can cause serious health problems, for both military and civilian populations. Like mines and cluster munitions, depleted uranium can remain dangerous for years after its initial use due to toxic chemicals released as it corrodes.

Commenting, Mr Smith said:

"If passed, this resolution will be a positive step towards the elimination of a horrific weapon of war.

"There is still little idea of what the full, long term effects of depleted uranium are. Indeed, it has been suggested that the use of depleted uranium is linked to Gulf War Syndrome. And  these weapons are not just dangerous when they are initially used - the health risk remains for years afterwards.

"There also needs to be more work done to clean up depleted uranium contamination in conflict areas. The legacy of these weapons will be around for years to come and this resolution is only the start of dealing with the problem."