29 June 2011

Botswana ratifies cluster bomb ban

Members of the Botswana delegation and CMC campaigners at the Oslo signing conference, December 2008 where Botswana signed the Convention. Photo credit: Jan LillehamrevThe Republic of Botswana ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 27 June 2011, becoming the 58th State Party.Botswana participated in the Oslo Process that established the Convention and sought a comprehensive and immediate ban during the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. Botswana participated in the Convention’s First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010."We commend Botswana’s commitment to comprehensively banning cluster munitions and helping to put an end to the devastating impact of these weapons," said Dr. Robert Mtonga, Chairman of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Zambia and member of the Governance Board of the Cluster Munition Coalition. "Now Botswana can do a lot to promote the treaty’s lifesaving provisions by encouraging non state parties to join and encouraging states that have joined but not yet ratified to do so urgently."The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 109 countries have joined the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010. The Convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties is scheduled to take place from 12-16 September 2011 in Beirut, Lebanon, which has significant cluster bomb contamination.Botswana has stated that it has not used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions, and has no areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants.Botswana will formally become a State Party on 1 December 2011, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention. Botswana is the sixth State Party from the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) [after Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Seychelles, and Zambia]. Angola, DR Congo, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania have signed, but not yet ratified. Mauritius, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe have not yet joined the convention. In Africa overall, there are 16 States Parties, 23 countries that have signed but not yet ratified and 15 countries that have not yet joined the Convention.