07 June 2010

Solution to cluster bomb problem is possible with ambitious plan

States meet in Chile to develop concrete actions to implement new global treaty(Santiago, 7 June 2010) – Governments at a global conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions from 7-9 June in Santiago, Chile should develop a strong plan of action that leads to the swift implementation of treaty obligations, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) said today. The Convention enters into force on 1 August, less than two years after it opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008.“We have a strong treaty banning cluster bombs, and now we need to match it with a plan of action to help victims, destroy stockpiles and clear the land,” said Thomas Nash, CMC Coordinator. “Countries meeting in Chile this week have a unique opportunity to come up with ambitious proposals to translate legal obligations into real actions.”The governments of Chile and Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are hosting the conference, which is the biggest international gathering on the Convention since it opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008 and will lay the groundwork for the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention, which Lao PDR, the most-affected country, will host from 8-12 November.At this historic meeting in Lao PDR, States Parties will agree an action plan that includes concrete steps to determine how the treaty’s legal obligations will be put into practice at the national level. The treaty bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land (within 10 years) and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon (within eight years), and includes groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities.A total of 106 countries have signed the Convention, 36 of which have already ratified – a very swift pace for an international treaty. States that have not yet joined the treaty – in particular those affected by cluster bombs or current or former producers and stockpilers of the weapon – should reconsider getting on board the treaty during 2010, the year it takes effect and becomes binding international law.Representatives from over 80 countries are expected to attend the Chile conference, including non-signatories such as Argentina, Thailand and Vietnam. Around 125 representatives of non-governmental organisations from some 50 countries will attend the conference under the banner of the CMC to ensure that governments keep their promises and to urge as many states as possible to get on board the ban treaty this year. Policy experts, researchers, deminers and advocates are joined by cluster bomb survivors from countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Lao PDR and Serbia to give a wide array of perspectives on how the treaty can best be implemented.“Cluster bomb survivors were a driving force behind the successful treaty negotiations, and we now call on states to make sure victims are fully included in all aspects of bringing the Convention into practice,” said Soraj Ghulam Habib, a 19-year-old Afghan cluster bomb survivor who will deliver an opening speech at the conference on behalf of the CMC. “The more support we have from governments to rebuild our lives, the stronger we will become.”Chile, itself a stockpiler and former producer of cluster munitions, has signed and recently passed legislation to ratify the Convention. The CMC is calling on Chile and neighbouring Peru to set out clear plans for destruction of their stockpiles. In the Americas, 19 countries have signed the Convention and four Latin American countries have ratified (Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua 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.“Chile has shown that you can go from a producer and exporter of the weapon to leading the international ban,” said María Pía Devoto, director of the Asociación de Políticas Públicas in Argentina, a CMC member organisation that supports the treaty in Latin America. “Other Latin American countries that have produced or stockpiled the weapon, such as Brazil and Argentina, should follow Chile’s lead.”The CMC urges as many states as possible to join the Convention before it takes effect on 1 August and to participate in the First Meeting of States Parties hosted by Lao PDR in November. CMC campaigners around the world are leading a 100-day countdown of targeted actions on non-signatory countries, including Cambodia, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Brazil, Jordan, Argentina, Serbia, Grenada, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Slovakia, Morocco, and Thailand.También disponible en español: Se puede solucionar problema de las bombas en racimo con un plan ambiciosoAussi disponible en français: Il est possible de résoudre le problème des bombes à sous-munitions avec un plan ambitieux