Is the US backpedalling on its use of depleted uranium (DU) rounds? There are indications that the use of these highly toxic munitions could increasingly be a political liability for the US, with countries affected by DU, like Iraq, other UN Member States, and populations in contaminated areas all expressing concerns over its use and impact. But stigmatisation, although important, is not enough on its own – in order to make sustained progress on accountability and in reducing civilian harm, a broader framework that addresses all toxic remnants of war is needed.
Like its neighbours in the northern triangle (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala), Belize has a high murder rate that is closely connected to the strong presence of gangs. But the character of gang activity in Belize is quite different from its Central American neighbours. Belize has pioneered some innovative solutions to the problem it is facing. But it will need to overcome the challenges of internal resistance and an acute lack of resources in order to address the political, economic and social issues that marginalise Belize’s large youth population.
Later this month, governments will meet in Geneva to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems. Previous talks – and growing pressure from civil society – have not yet galvanised governments into action. Meanwhile the development of these so-called “killer robots” is already being considered in military roadmaps. Their prohibition is therefore an increasingly urgent task.