04 August 2010

Comoros ratifies and Djibouti signs cluster bomb ban treaty

Comoros signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Oslo signing ceremony in December 2008. Credit: Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.no Convention became binding international law on 1 August 2010(London, 4 August 2010) – Two African states took action on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the days before 1 August 2010, when the Convention entered into force and became binding international law. Comoros ratified the Convention on 28 July at the United Nations, becoming the 38th country fully on board the treaty, and Djibouti signed the Convention on 30 July. "With Djibouti on board, we’re one step closer to seeing an Africa-wide prohibition on cluster bombs," said Marion Libertucci, advocacy officer at Handicap International and CMC co-chair. "We welcome the ratification by Comoros and call on all African countries that have signed to ratify without delay and begin to implement the treaty."Forty-one African states are among the 108 countries that have signed the Convention, and Comoros is the 10th African country to ratify. Comoros signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions when it first opened for signature in Oslo, Norway in December 2003. Neither Comoros nor Djibouti has used, produced or stockpiled cluster munitions. Although neither country is affected by the weapons, Djibouti has residual problems with explosive remnants of war and has suffered from contamination by landmines.The Convention on Cluster Munitions 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 victim assistance.The CMC urges as many states as possible to join the Convention and attend the First Meeting of States Parties on 9-12 November 2010 in Lao PDR – the world’s most heavily affected country. Now that the Convention has entered into force, states that have not already signed must accede to the treaty – a single step that is equivalent to signing and ratifying.