29 April 2010

Samoa ratifies cluster bomb ban treaty

Samoa’s Ambassador Tuala Falani Chan Tung signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008. Photo credit: Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.no(London, 29 April 2010) – Samoa became the 31st country to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 28 April 2010, just 95 days before the treaty takes effect and becomes legally binding international law on 1 August.  "We commend Samoa's commitment to comprehensively banning cluster munitions and helping to put an end to the devastating impact of these weapons,"said Ema Tagicakibau of the Pacific Foundation for Women's Advancement, a Fiji-based member organisation of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). "Coming during the first week of the campaign's countdown to entry into force of the Convention, we hope that Samoa's ratification will help get other Pacific states on board the ban."Six Pacific Island Forum members have signed the Convention (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, and Palau), while two have ratified: Samoa and New Zealand.Samoa actively participated in the “Oslo Process” to create the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, stating on several occasions that it does not use, produce or stockpile cluster munitions. Samoa signed the Convention in December 2008 and has committed to put in place legislation to implement the Convention domestically. The Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, requires clearance of contaminated land within 10 years, destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years, and includes groundbreaking provisions for victim assistance. A total of 106 countries have signed the Convention and 31 have ratified – among them are former users, producers and stockpilers of cluster bombs, as well as countries affected by the weapon.The CMC is urging governments worldwide to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions before it enters into force. After 1 August, treaty obligations become legally binding for all states that have ratified, and the CMC will urge as many governments as possible to participate in the First Meeting of States Parties from 8-12 November in Lao PDR, the most cluster bomb-contaminated country in the world. Samoa’s ratification at this key moment will allow it to attend this meeting as a state party to the Convention, the CMC said.