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Tenth Anniversary of the life-saving global ban on cluster munitions

Photo: Miriam Deprez

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the historic signing of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions at Oslo City Hall on 3 December 2008, following its earlier adoption on 30 May 2008 in Dublin.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions is the result of a partnership of like-minded governments, civil society, UN agencies and international organisations. During the signing ceremony in Oslo on 3-4 December 2008, 94 States signed the treaty. To-date 120 states have joined the Convention, of which 104 are states parties and 16 are signatories, committing to its goals, saving lives, and creating a powerful global stigma against the use of these indiscriminate weapons.

Seventy-seven states remain non-signatories to the ban. States that prioritise the protection of civilians should join the convention without delay.

Cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that pose a serious threat to civilian populations during and long after an attack. Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, production, use, stockpiling, and transfer of the weapon is prohibited. The ban treaty has served to prioritise the protection of civilians and prevent unacceptable harm. As a result of the 2008 Convention, States  Parties  to  the  convention  have  destroyed  99%  of  their  stockpiled  cluster  munitions,  eliminating a  collective  total  of  more  than  1.4  million  cluster munitions and 177 million submunitions, according to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2018. Furthermore, hundreds of km2 of land have been cleared of cluster munition remnants, helping save lives and limbs, and enabling women, men, girls and boys to use the land safely and productively.

CCM-2018-Photo

From the signing of the Cluster Munition Convention in Oslo, December 3rd. 2008

NPA’s Humanitarian Disarmament department works in cluster munition affected countries around the globe, clearing contaminated land, helping pioneer and develop more efficient methodologies for surveying contamination, and assisting governments with destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions.

As highlighted in the Mine Action Review ’s latest “ Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018 ” report, twenty-seven states and three other areas are still believed to be contaminated with cluster munition remnants. However, only two countries suffer from massive contamination (Lao PRD and Vietnam) and two from heavy contamination (Cambodia and Iraq); and the remainder of countries have substantially less contamination. The twelve affected States Parties to the treaty have obligations to complete clearance of contamination as soon as possible and within a ten-year deadline. However, as the first of the Article 4 clearance deadlines in 2020 approach, a concerning number of States Partier are not on track to meet their deadlines. In all but the most contaminated countries, clearance could be completed within years or even months, with the right political will, strategic planning, application of efficient and effective land release methodologies, and sufficient and sustained funding.

Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) campaigners have marked the anniversary with the release of the annual “ Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions ”, produced by CMC member, PAX (the Netherlands). The latest report shows how the global ban on cluster munitions is having an extraordinary impact on limiting investments in these weapons, which indiscriminately kill and maim civilians.

03.12.2018