Defend International marks the 5th anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference in Oslo by having candle-lit vigils spilling “CCM 5” in Oslo and throughout the MENA region. Countless civilian lives have been saved by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions since it opened for signature 5 years ago today, said the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).
As member of the CMC, Defend International thanked on this historic occasion Norway for having hosted the signing conference and all countries that have signed or acceded the convention. “We hope that the remaining countries will follow soon,“ said Dr. Widad, co-founder of Defend International. “By ratifying the treaty, they will become part of the international consensus against the use of these horrific weapons.“
CIVILIAN LIVES SAVED BY THE CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS
(Oslo, 3 December 2013) – Countless civilian lives have been saved by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions since it opened for signature 5 years ago today, said the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). As a member of the CMC, Defend International extends sincere thanks on this historic occasion to Norway for having hosted the signing conference and to all countries that have signed or acceded the convention and reiterates its commitment towards a global ban on the use of cluster munitions.
Five years on from the signing conference of the convention in Oslo on 3 December 2008, more half the world’s nations have already joined the treaty, creating a powerful global stigma against the use of this indiscriminate weapon. Cluster bombs have caused excessive harm to civilians in every conflict in which they have been used and continue to kill and maim long after a conflict has ended. As a result of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, stockpiles of the weapon are being destroyed in record numbers, hundreds of km2 of land has been cleared and states party to the convention are legally obliged to provide victims with adequate assistance. The majority of countries with recorded victims of cluster munitions have now joined the convention.
“The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions continues to go from strength to strength, saving thousands of lives and limbs both during and after conflict. States that prioritise the protection of civilians should join the convention without delay,” said Sarah Blakemore, Cluster Munition Coalition Director.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions is the result of a partnership of like-minded governments, civil society, UN agencies and international organisations. In 2008, 107 states adopted the Convention recognising the protection of civilians must be prioritised and military utility was questionable. It entered into force on 1st August 2010, and comprehensively prohibits the use of cluster munitions as well as requiring clearance of cluster munition remnants, destruction of stockpiles, as well as assistance for victims. A total of 113 countries have now signed or acceded to the convention and seven signatories have ratified in the past year, including two countries where cluster munitions have been used (Chad and Iraq) and one cluster munition stockpiler (Peru). Most of the remaining 29 signatories are in the process of ratifying. Two countries have also acceded to the treaty in 2013.
“On this occasion, we extend sincere thanks to Norway for having hosted the signing conference and to all countries that have signed or acceded the convention,” said Dr. Widad, co-founder of Defend International. “We hope that the remaining countries will follow soon. By ratifying the treaty, they will become part of the international consensus against the use of these horrific weapons.”
States Parties have collectively destroyed 71% of their stockpiled cluster munitions since the Convention became international law just over three years ago and last year destroyed a total of 173,973 cluster munitions and 27 million submunitions – the most in a year since the convention’s adoption. In 2012, more than 59,171 unexploded submunitions were destroyed during clearance of almost 78km2 of land, 40% more land than the previous year.
When cluster munitions have been used, states have faced widespread international condemnation whether or not they are part of the Convention, with more than 123 states speaking out against use of the weapon against civilians in 2012 and 2013 by Syrian Government forces.
Cluster Munition Coalition campaigners around the world are marking the anniversary with a candlelit vigil spelling out “CCM5” in respect of cluster munition and ERW victims worldwide.
CMC campaigner and cluster munition survivor, Branislav Kaptanovic said “The nature of this treaty is largely a preventive one. We want to ensure that no other countries suffer from attacks and contamination like Laos, Lebanon and others still suffering the consequences of use.”
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113 Countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions – http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/who-has-joined-the-ccm-140513.pdf
84 Countries have yet to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions
About cluster bombs
A cluster munition (or cluster bomb) is a weapon containing multiple often hundreds of small explosive submunitions or bomblets. Cluster munitions are dropped from the air or fired from the ground and designed to break open in midair, releasing the submunitions over an area that can be the size of several football fields. This means they cannot discriminate between civilians and soldiers. Many of the submunitions fail to explode on impact and remain a threat to lives and livelihoods for decades after a conflict.
About the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC)
The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is an international coalition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in around 100 countries to eradicate cluster munitions, prevent further causalities from these weapons and put an end for all time to the suffering they cause. The CMC works to change the policy and practice of governments and organisations towards these aims and raise awareness of the problem amongst the public.
About Defend International
Defend International (DI) is a Norway-based NGO devoted to human rights, peace, democracy and diplomacy. It forms a worldwide community of DI Defenders, supporters, stakeholders, subscribers and friends who are committed to act with objectivity in all matters related to human rights in the MENA region. As a member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, DI works to ensure a global ban on the use of cluster munition. For more information, please visit: www.defendinternational.org.
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