06 September 2010

States must act now to end the cluster bomb threat and assist victims

Lao PDR will host the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions from 9-12 November, 2010.Nations meet in Geneva to plan implementation of ban treaty(Geneva, 6 September 2010) – States should act urgently to meet their obligations under a new international treaty banning cluster bombs, the Cluster Munition Coalition said today, as nations gathered in Geneva to plan the Convention’s upcoming First Meeting of States Parties.“Governments created a powerful treaty outlawing cluster bombs, now they must deliver the goods,” said Thomas Nash, CMC Coordinator. “If we carry on the strong cooperation between states, civil society, and international organisations that led to the ban, we can make a real difference in preventing civilian suffering.”The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010, bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires the destruction of stockpiles, the clearance of affected land and the provision of assistance to victims and affected communities. To date, 108 countries have signed the treaty and 39 have already ratified.Ireland chaired the Geneva meeting, where participants previewed the substantive outcome documents for the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which will be held from 9-12 November in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The Vientiane meeting will be the first time States Parties, signatory and observer states, international organisations and civil society and cluster bomb victims under the banner of the CMC come together to lay the foundations for putting the Convention’s provisions to work.States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions are expected to agree on four main outcomes in Vientiane, including:

  • a Vientiane Declaration, an ambitious political statement reaffirming States Parties’ commitment to comprehensively banning cluster munitions;
  • a Vientiane Action Plan for the next one-to-five years, with clear objectives, priorities and specific outputs as well as benchmarks on how the treaty should be implemented and how progress can be measured;
  • a concrete programme of work for 2011; and
  • reporting formats for countries to provide annual updates of their progress on implementing treaty obligations .
As the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world, Lao PDR is a highly appropriate venue for the First Meeting of States Parties, as participants will be able to appreciate first-hand the immense scale of the bombing and the devastating and ongoing humanitarian impact of cluster munitions.The CMC urges all states to ratify or accede to the Convention and to attend the First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, regardless of whether or not they have joined the treaty.More information and related documents: Preparatory meeting - Geneva, Swizerland (6 September 2010)Official website for the First Meeting of States Parties - Vientiane, Lao PDR (9-12 November 2010) CMC website for the First Meeting of States Parties