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WORD 46k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B5-0047/2001
15 January 2001
PE 299.428/rev.1
further to the Council and Commission statements
pursuant to Rule 37(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Paul Lannoye, Heidi Hautala, Nellie Maes, Caroline Lucas, Patricia McKenna, Elisabeth Schroedter, Johannes Voggenhuber, Jill Evans, Claude Turmes, Neil MacCormick, Monica Frassoni, Matti Wuori, Ilka Schroeder, Danielle Auroi, Per Gahrton, Nuala Ahern, Carlos Bautista, Claude Turmes, Pierre Jonckheer, Knorr Borras, Camilo Nogueira, Josu Ortuondo, Alain Lipietz, Inger Schoerling, Mercedes Echerer and Joost Lagendijk
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
on banning the use of depleted uranium in all types of weaponry

European Parliament resolution on banning the use of depleted uranium in all types of weaponry 

The European Parliament,

A.  having regard to the UN Convention of 10 October 1980 on prohibitions or restrictions of the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects,

B.  having regard to Resolution 1996/16 of the Subcommission on Human Rights of the United Nations explicitly condemning weaponry containing depleted uranium because of its indiscriminate character,

C.  whereas depleted uranium is a toxic and radioactive chemical which because of its density is used by the military as a penetrator or as armour, and in civilian life in dentistry, and as ballast in aircrafts and yachts;

D.  having regard to the various health and environmental effects of the dissemination of the uranium in the form of aerosols of the different isotopes, and their radioactive decay products, considering that such dissemination can extend over tens of kilometres from the point of impact and lead to irreversible contamination; whereas this contamination has come on top of all the other pollution which has been the result of military operations,

E.  wheresas the use of depleted uranium weaponry creates a type of exposure to uranium unknown in the past involving the generation of an inhalable aerosol of insoluble ceramic particles less than 10 microns in diameter; and whereas such particles migrate to and are retained definitively in the tracheobronchial lymph nodes,

F.  whereas, despite early and constant warnings by the international scientific community, American and British troops extensively used such weaponry in the Gulf War in 1991,

G  whereas such use was repeated by the USA in NATO’s military operations in Bosnia and in the whole of Yugoslavia; and whereas according to a NATO report to the UN the US Air Force admitted to firing 10 000 such shells in Bosnia and 31 000 in Kosovo,

H.  whereas in both Iraq and Bosnia the operations were undertaken under a UN mandate,

I.  having regard to the health problems which have occurred and are occurring amongst more than 100 000 of the American veterans of the Gulf War and their descendants (malformations as a result of radioactive or other contamination),

J.  having regard to the general deterioration of the health of the population of southern Iraq who have been exposed to depleted uranium since 1991, in particular the explosive increase in cancers and leukaemia in that region,

K.  whereas, as a follow up to the inquiry requested by the UN Secretary General last year, UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) announced on 5 January 2001 that it had found evidence of radioactivity at 8 of 11 sites tested in Kosovo (out of a total of 112 sites hit by DU rounds in 1999),

L.  whereas so far in Italy, Belgium, Portugal, and Spain cases are under investigation in which soldiers have died, are dying or are seriously ill allegedly as the result of being exposed to the effects of depleted uranium; whereas furthermore in most other EU Member States investigations are under way although there are serious doubts about the methodologies used to obtain the evidence of the contamination and to assess risk,

M.  whereas in that context there is only one viable and efficient method of testing for depleted uranium in urine samples, namely the method developed by the team of Dr.Asaf Durakovic, MD, nuclear medicine specialist and director of the uranium medical project of Georgetown University, Washington, USA,

N.  whereas in particular several of these cases are now being brought before national Courts in order to claim compensation for the damage done,

O.  whereas several Member States of the European Union are producers of DU weaponry, in particular France and the UK; whereas furthermore, outside the EU and NATO, Russia is an acknowledged producer and user,

1.  Welcomes the decisions of NATO and the EU after years of silence and playing down the issue, finally to take this problem seriously and to undertake high level discussions to deal with it; nevertheless regrets that so far this has not led to satisfactory decisions to ban this type of weaponry and to find solutions for investigating and providing compensation for, the damage suffered by the soldiers who went on mission as well as the local populations who are suffering as a result of the bombardments;

2.  Welcomes in particular the recent statement by President Prodi that the Commission is particularly concerned about the impact of years of conflict on health and the environment in the Balkan region and that the Commission’s services have been asked to collect and analyse all relevant information on the situation in the region and asks the Commission to provide Parliament with all the information thus collected;

3.  Regrets however that the Commission will be relying more or less completely on the advice of the Article 31 Committee and its interpretation of the seriously flawed Radiation Standards Directive 96/29 Euratom, the adoption of which completely ignored the science-based demands of Parliament;

4.  Welcomes the initiatives of the Swedish Presidency in replying positively to a request by the Belgian and Greek Ministers of Defence for an EU enquiry into the possible links between the use of weapons containing depleted uranium and the deaths and illnesses of soldiers of EU Member States involved;

5.  Welcomes the initiative of the German Government in banning the production and use of weapons containing depleted uranium;

6.  Regrets that NATO's deliberations have not even led to a proposal to impose a moratorium on this type of weaponry;

7.  Confirms that, in light of the UN Subcommission resolution, the use of weapons containing depleted uranium is a violation of the respect for human rights and future generations;

8.  Calls on NATO and the EU, as well as the USA and the UK, to fully investigate and publish the details of the use of weaponry containing depleted uranium in Iraq and in the former Yugoslavia;

9.  Calls on NATO and the EU, as well as the USA and the UK, to fully research and publish the environmental and health implications of such use for soldiers on mission as well as the local populations;

10.  Calls on NATO, the Commission and the Member States to include in their investigations the effects of other dangerous substances released by military activities;

11.  Insists that the appropriate testing methodology should be used to investigate human contamination and that the Commission should immediately assist the Member States in standardising the test procedure, using the methodology of Dr.Durakovic, before any final conclusions can be reached;

12.  Furthermore, calls upon the Commission and Member States to ensure that samples be taken from all alleged victims, military or civilian, for example from their tracheo-bronchial lymph nodes, to correlate illness or death with internal contamination by depleted uranium; also calls upon them to consider the use of pectin treatment for victims as developed in Belorussia for the Chernobyl disaster victims;

13.  Calls in particular on NATO and the EU, as well as the USA and the UK, to respond positively to the need to clean up and compensate for all damage which is the result of contamination by the use of depleted uranium on the local populations;

14.  Calls on the Member States to investigate fully and properly the damage done to their own soldiers and civilians who were sent on mission and who have been exposed to danger without sufficient precautions, and to do everything necessary to compensate for this damage;

15.  Favours a total ban on the production, exportation, storage, testing, testfiring, and use of depleted uranium weapons and calls on all current and applicant Member States of NATO and the European Union to support this;

16.  Calls in particular on the Swedish Presidency to take all steps necessary to promote the process of clarification and compensation and to come to a common position and joint action for a ban on such weapons on the part of the EU;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EU applicant states, the Secretary-General of NATO, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the US Congress

Last updated: 6 April 2004Legal notice