20 December 2010

Chile ratifies treaty banning cluster munitions

Soraj Ghulam Habib and other cluster munition survivors talk to the Chilean foreign minister.Photo credit: Mary Wareham(London, 20 December 2010) – Chile ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 16 December 2010, becoming the 49th country to do so worldwide, and the seventh in Latin America. “We welcome Chile’s commitment to this landmark international treaty and we are calling on other Latin American countries to follow their lead,” said Thomas Nash, CMC Coordinator. “Chile now has a unique opportunity to encourage other countries in the region to get on board the ban and make a difference for cluster bomb victims and affected communities around the world.”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. A total of 108 countries have signed the treaty, of which 49 have ratified.The treaty entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010, and its historic First Meeting of States Parties was held from 9-12 November in Lao PDR – the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world. In June 2010, Chile hosted a meeting in preparation for the Lao conference.In the Americas, 19 countries have signed the Convention and seven Latin American countries have ratified (Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay). Brazil, the only remaining producer of cluster bombs in the region, and Argentina, a former producer and stockpiler, have yet to sign the Convention.Itself a stockpiler and former producer of cluster munitions, Chile is now obliged to destroy its remaining stockpiles and must assist affected countries to clear land contaminated by cluster munitions and help victims and affected communities.