Author: Thomas Nash
New Zealand has a reputation for progressive, smart and effective foreign policy in the realm of disarmament and humanitarian affairs. It's well-deserved, with Kiwi diplomats having played crucial roles on nuclear disarmament, banning landmines, dealing with small arms and, in 2008, hosting the crucial preparatory meeting in Wellington for the Dublin conference that negotiated the global ban on cluster bombs. Most recently, NZ was one of a handful of countries central to the agreement last June in Oslo of the Safe Schools Declaration aimed at protecting education from attack.
This last initiative provides an important and encouraging precedent for international efforts underway to address one of the most pressing contemporary humanitarian problems: the bombing and bombardment of towns and cities.