Australia signed a landmark international treaty to ban the use of cluster munitions but a parliamentary committee has also called for investment bans on any company that makes cluster bombs, in a report released on Tuesday.
Cluster bombs are containers that are dropped from aircraft or fired from the ground that are designed to break into small pieces and saturate large areas. The bombs were first used in World War II by German and Soviet forces, while in the 1970s the US used them in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, humanitarian aid organisation Austcare reported.
More recently, cluster bombs have been used in the Gulf War, Chechnya, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iran and in Lebanon.
An Australian parliamentary committee has cited humanitarian reasons for its recommendation that an investment ban be introduced, along with laws to prevent inadvertent participation in using the bombs, reported the AAP.
The Defence Force told the committee that Australia has two live cluster bombs and 2000 sub-parts, which are kept for training purposes. The US has not signed the treaty and was likely to continue to use cluster munitions, including for use in joint military operations with Australia, Defence added.
The UN confirmed on Monday that Croatia had become the 15th country to ratify the treaty, with 30 ratifications needed for the convention to become binding international law.