12 February 2010

Denmark ratifies landmark convention banning cluster munitions

Denmark ratifies landmark convention banning cluster munitionsTwo more ratifications will trigger entry into forceH. E. Mr. Carsten Ulrich Staur Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of Denmark, deposits his government's ratification instrument.  Photo Credit: UN Treaty Section(London, 12 February 2010) – Denmark ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 12 February, taking its place among the visionary group of nations that will soon trigger entry into force of the most significant disarmament and humanitarian treaty in over a decade, the Cluster Munition Coalition said today.“We welcome Denmark’s commitment to this landmark international treaty that will prevent unnecessary civilian suffering,” said Henrik Stubkjær, General Secretary of DanChurchAid, a CMC member organisation. “We urge the Danish government to remain steadfast in its commitment to the Convention by encouraging all others to join, especially military allies, destroying its stockpiled cluster munitions as soon as possible, and increasing support for victims and clearance of contaminated areas.”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 104 countries have signed the treaty since it opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008, of which 28 have ratified. The treaty will enter into force six months after the 30th ratification, and the First Meeting of States Parties will be held in November 2010 in Lao PDR – the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world.Denmark was an early supporter of efforts to address the humanitarian problems caused by cluster munitions and was among the 94 countries to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions when it opened for signature in Oslo on 3 December 2008. The Danish Parliament passed national legislation banning cluster munitions on 17 December 2009.“To ensure a watertight ban on cluster munitions, we also urge the Danish government to directly ban investments in the production of the weapon and we encourage the public to ask their retirement and pension funds to adopt clear policies against investing in cluster munition producers,” said Stubkjær.Denmark is not known to have used or produced cluster munitions. The precise status and composition of its current stockpile of imported cluster munitions is not known, but Denmark’s armed forces have acknowledged having stockpiles of German-produced DM642 and DM662 155mm artillery projectiles with submunitions, as well as an inventory of US-produced Rockeye cluster bombs, 155mm Improved Conventional Munition (ICM) and ICM Base Bleed (extended range) artillery projectiles with submunitions, all of which have been reportedly removed from service.CMC member organisation DanChurchAid and the Danish Red Cross joined forces over the past three years to urge Danish government support for a legally binding, international ban on cluster munitions, and work will continue to ensure that Denmark fully adheres to its obligations under the Convention.