29 May 2009
NATIONS MUST STEP UP TO MAKE NEW CLUSTER BOMB BAN WORK
Campaigners launch global action week with new report on treaty success (Geneva, 29 May 2009) - Support for the international treaty banning cluster bombs has grown since it was adopted one year ago, but governments need to step up their efforts to build further consensus on the prohibition of these weapons that continue to kill and maim for decades after wars have ended said the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) today at the kick-off of its "Global Week of Action Against Cluster Bombs."Banning Cluster Munitions, a new report released today by CMC members highlights the successes of the treaty over the past year and details the challenges that remain."This new report shows how the Convention on Cluster Munitions has extinguished this weapon's legitimacy in the minds of governments and the public,"said Mr Thomas Nash, CMC Coordinator. "But actions speak louder than words so campaigners in 50 countries are mobilising this week to call for more treaty signatures and ratifications as well as more work on stockpile destruction and more funding and support to affected communities."During the week of action, campaigners in 50 countries will challenge decision-makers and fellow citizens with the question "What are you doing to ban cluster bombs?"In countries still outside the treaty, actions this week will focus on convincing the authorities to ban cluster bombs once and for all. A targeted global web action will allow individuals to send letters to five governments in five world regions asking them to join the treaty. With a single click, letters will be sent to representatives of non-signatories Brazil, Cambodia, Iraq, Nigeria and Serbia . http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/tellthemtosign/Campaigners will meet with leaders, parliamentarians and diplomats to hammer home the ban message. People around the world will be asked to make their voice count by signing a global petition and sending letters to leaders in their countries. http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/peoplestreaty/The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted in Dublin, Ireland on 30 May 2008. It 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. A total of 96 countries have signed the Convention since it was opened for signature in December 2008 in Oslo, of which seven have ratified. A total of 30 ratifications are required for the Convention to take effect."Swift entry into force of this treaty is vital so that governments can be held legally accountable for their treaty obligations, but signatories do not have to complete ratification before starting implementation,"said Ms Marion Libertucci of Handicap International, CMC Co-Chair. "Governments and civil society need to accelerate the work now and, as we have learnt from ten years eradicating landmines, we'll only succeed if all stay focused until the job is done."Spain completed destruction of its stockpiled cluster munitions in March 2009, the first to do so since signing the treaty. According to the Banning Cluster Munitions report several other signatories have begun to destroy their stockpiles including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. On 25-26 June 2009, Germany will host a conference on stockpile destruction for governments to discuss their implementation of this provision of the Convention."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.***ENDS***For more information or to request interviews, please contact:Jean-Marc Jacobs: +44 (0)7515575174, firstname.lastname@example.orgNOTES:"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 being 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. The 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. Download the report here: www.lm.icbl.org/cm/2009The 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.Cluster BombsA 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 many 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.