The Bishop of Coventry has joined a group of faith leaders urging a ban on cluster bombs and drawing parallels between the weapons and the suffering caused by landmines.

The Rt Rev Colin Bennett wrote to The Times saying he is joined by signatories including Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Bishop William Kenney, of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh organisations.

They said: "Like landmines, cluster bombs sow death and injury in the fields and villages of innocent men, women and children.

"This year, governments will meet again to work towards a ban on cluster bombs. We urge the UK Government to seize this opportunity to strengthen the protection afforded to the weak and vulnerable. People of all faiths will recognise such action as working for justice."

The letter coincided with three churches in Britain calling for a complete ban on the use of "indiscriminate" and "terrible" cluster bombs by UK forces.

In a joint statement, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have called for an immediate ban on the use of all cluster bombs by UK forces.

The churches are also pressing Foreign Secretary David Miliband to "actively" support an international treaty to ban such weapons.

Cluster bombs are air or ground-launched devices that scatter smaller bombs or submunitions over a larger area.

The "bomblets" that fail to explode are the focus of growing international concern as they pose a threat to civilians returning to former war zones. The Government earlier this year joined 46 other nations in the Oslo Declaration with the aim of an international treaty on cluster bombs by next year.