01 October 2010

Tunisia ratifies international treaty banning cluster bombs

Tunisia's Foreign Minister holds up the Convention on Cluster Munitions after ratification at the UN Treaty Event in New York. Photo credit:Photo/Ky Chung  (London, 1 October 2010) – The Republic of Tunisia ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 28 September 2010 during the United Nations General Assembly. Tunisia is the first country in the Middle East/North Africa region to formally ratify the treaty, which took effect as binding international law on 1 August.“Tunisia’s ratification of this lifesaving treaty is welcome, and its neighbours should be encouraged to join in the work to eradicate cluster bombs,” said Ayman Sorour, director of Protection, which sits on the steering committee of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) and promotes the ban treaty in the Middle East/North Africa region. “As a region scarred by the weapons, all Middle Eastern and North African countries should get on board the ban.”The 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 victim assistance. To date, 108 countries have signed and 42 have ratified and are already or will soon become States Parties.Tunisia is not believed to have used, produced, stockpiled, or transferred cluster munitions. It signed the Convention on 12 January 2009, the first signature since the Oslo signing conference in December 2008.The CMC is urging all 66 remaining signatory countries to ratify and all other countries to accede to the Convention and to attend its First Meeting of States Parties, which will be held from 9-12 November in Lao PDR, the world’s most cluster-bombed country.