13 September 2010

Bosnia and Herzegovina ratifies cluster bomb ban treaty

Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) at work in an area affected by duds from cluster munitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo credit: Damir Attikovic/Norwegian People's Aid.Serbia is only Balkan country outside the convention(London, 13 September 2010) – Bosnia and Herzegovina ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 7 September 2010, becoming the 40th country fully on board the treaty, which took effect as binding international law on 1 August. “Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ratification is an important step towards ending the civilian suffering caused by cluster munitions,” said Alma Taslidzan, communication officer at Handicap International, Bosnia & Herzegovina, which sits on the CMC steering committee. “But now Bosnia must make the treaty work – clearing contaminated areas and destroying remaining stocks as soon as possible as well providing the assistance needed by cluster bomb survivors and their communities.”The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities.Bosnia and Herzegovina is contaminated by cluster munition use and has produced and stockpiled the weapons. Between 1992 and 1995, Yugoslav forces and non-state armed groups used available stocks of cluster munitions left over after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Bosnia produced cluster munitions for 11 years, but in October 2007 it announced it no longer did so.Most of the Balkan region, which is heavily contaminated by cluster munitions, has now ratified the Convention, with the notable exception of Serbia. Globally, 108 countries have signed the treaty since it opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008.The CMC is urging all countries to join the Convention without delay, and to attend the First Meeting of States Parties from 9-12 November in Lao PDR, the most cluster-bombed country in the world.