The governments in the MENA region need to sign the new treaty banning cluster bombs and become part of the international consensus against this weapon said Defend International today at the start of a global week of action against cluster bombs. “Actions speak louder than words and that’s why we need countries in the MENA region to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay,” said co-founder of Defend International Dr Widad.
MENA Countries Urged to Sign Cluster Bomb Ban
Campaigners Launch Global Action Week Against Weapon
(Oslo, 29 May 2009) – The governments in the MENA region need to sign the new treaty banning cluster bombs and become part of the international consensus against this weapon said Defend International today at the start of a global week of action against cluster bombs. Banning Cluster Munitions, a new report released today by CMC members, shows how the prohibition on cluster munitions is firmly taking hold as more countries join the new treaty banning the weapon and hold-out states shift their policies in the right direction.
“This new report shows how the treaty has extinguished the perceived legitimacy of cluster bombs in the minds of governments and the public,” said co-founder of Defend International Dr Widad. “But actions speak louder than words and that’s why we need countries in the MENA region to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay.”
The majority of MENA countries are not among the 96 nations that have signed the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was adopted on 30 May 2008 and opened for signature six months later. This treaty prohibits the use, production and transfer of cluster munitions, requires destruction of stockpiled weapons within eight years and clearance of contaminated land within ten years, and assistance to victims. It requires 30 ratifications to trigger entry into force six months later and to date seven signatories have ratified (Austria, Ireland, Holy See, Laos, Mexico, Norway, and Sierra Leone).
During the Global Week of Action Against Cluster Bombs, campaigners in 50 countries are asking “What are you doing to ban cluster bombs?”
“The ban will put a stop to future use of these weapons, but true success will be the difference it makes to people in affected countries,” said Ms Ayat Syleiman Ali, a fourteen year-old Iraqi who survived a cluster bomb explosion but lost five family members in the blast. “No one should go through what I went through and there is now a real opportunity to make that a reality.” Ayat is member of the ‘Ban Advocates’ group of cluster bomb survivors, which calls on all governments to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and implement its provisions.
The CMC and its 300 member organisations from 80 countries are committed to long term advocacy to promote the cluster bomb ban as a universal norm; to ensure full and effective implementation of the treaty and to undertake systematic monitoring work to help police adherence to the ban. In countries in the MENA region the CMC is represented by Defend International and other local NGOs.
The 288-page report, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice is available online at www.lm.icbl.org.
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“Banning Cluster Munitions”
The new global report entitled “Banning Cluster Munitions: government policy and practice” is written by Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action and is launched today in Geneva. Banning Cluster Munitions is the first report to take an in-depth, country-by-country look at how the “Oslo Process,” the diplomatic initiative started by Norway in November 2006, resulted in the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Charting the evolution of cluster munition policy in 150 countries, this report highlights dramatic changes experienced by major powers such as France and the United Kingdom. Banning Cluster Munitions also provides new information on cluster munition use, production, stockpiling, and trade.
The Global Week of Action Against Cluster Bombs
Campaigners will mobilise in 50 countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen.
A cluster bomb, or cluster munition, is a weapon containing multiple – often hundreds – of small explosive submunitions, or bomblets. They are dropped from the air or fired from the ground and designed to break open in mid-air, releasing the submunitions over an area that can be the size of several football fields. This means they cannot discriminate between civilians and soldiers. Also, as up top 40 percent fail to explode on impact, they remain a threat for communities decades after they were dropped.
The Cluster Munition Coalition
The CMC is an international coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in 80 countries to encourage urgent action against cluster bombs. The CMC facilitates the efforts of NGOs worldwide to educate governments, the public and the media about the problems of cluster munitions and the solution through the global treaty banning the weapon.