16 February 2010

Burkina Faso among first 30 states to ratify cluster bomb ban treaty

Burkina Faso among first 30 states to ratify cluster bomb ban treatySix African countries helped treaty to take effectBurkina Faso signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Oslo Signing Conference on  3 December 2008.  Photo Credit:  Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.no(London, 16 February 2010) – Burkina Faso ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions today, joining the visionary group of 30 nations that have ratified to date, helping to collectively trigger entry into force of the most significant disarmament and humanitarian treaty in over a decade, the Cluster Munition Coalition said. Moldova also ratified today, reaching the milestone of 30 ratifications needed for the treaty to become binding international law and enter into force on 1 August 2010.“We welcome Burkina Faso’s commitment to ridding the world of cluster bombs,” said Marion Libertucci of Handicap International and co-chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “Burkina Faso should now work together with other African states to promote universal acceptance and implementation of the treaty in Africa and elsewhere.”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. The Convention will take effect on 1 August 2010, now that 30 states have ratified. A total of 104 countries have signed the treaty since it opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008, and the First Meeting of States Parties will be held in late 2010 in Lao PDR – the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world.Burundi, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Zambia are also among the first 30 states to ratify the Convention. The coming months are a key opportunity for more African states to get on board the treaty, especially with South Africa hosting a regional conference on the Convention in Pretoria on 25-26 March.For the eight sub-Saharan African countries that have experienced the devastation wrought by cluster munitions (Angola, Chad, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Uganda), joining the Convention would open the door to needed humanitarian assistance to cluster bomb survivors and affected communities.Burkina Faso is not known to have used, produced, transferred or stockpiled cluster munitions. It signed the Convention in Oslo on 3 December 2008.Burkina Faso also made history in September 1998 when it became the 40th state to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty, triggering its entry into force on 1 March 1999.