Nuclear Weapons

House of Lords written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the status of weapons containing white phosphorus, tungsten shrapnel or flechettes under international law; and whether their use in densely populated civilian areas is prohibited.

Photo of Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Minister of State (Africa and the UN), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa and UN)

White phosphorous, tungsten shrapnel and flechettes are not prohibited under international law when used appropriately. However, Protocol III of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits or restricts the use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations and the use of air-delivered incendiary weapons against military objectives located in areas where there is a concentration of civilians, for those countries (including the UK) who are signatories to the protocol.

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