05 May 2011

Costa Rica ratifies cluster bomb ban

H. E. Mr. René Castro Salazar Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica deposits Costa Rica's instrument of ratification at the United Nations. Photo Credit: UN(London, 4 May 2011) – The Republic of Costa Rica ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 28 April 2011, becoming the 57th State Party.“We commend Costa Rica for ratifying the ban on cluster bombs. Now it must follow through by implementing the treaty and urging other countries to join without delay” said Camilo Serna, Operations Coordinator for the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines. “Costa Rica should continue its leadership role on this issue.”Costa Rica signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo, Norway, on 3 December 2008, after playing an active role in the Oslo Process that produced the convention, including hosting a regional conference in San José in September 2007. During the Dublin negotiations, Costa Rica worked hard to achieve a comprehensive and strong treaty text, particularly on victim assistance.On 27–29 July 2009, Costa Rica hosted the 11th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Tuxtla Mechanism, a grouping of 10 Latin American and Caribbean states. The Summit issued the Guanacaste Declaration, calling on all states to sign and/or ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions “in order for this instrument to come into effect as soon as possible.”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 groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 108 countries have signed 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.Costa Rica will formally become a State Party on 1 October 2011, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention.  In the Americas, 19 countries have signed the Convention and nine Latin American countries have ratified (Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay). All Central American States are now party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions except Belize, which needs to accede, and Honduras, which has signed but not yet ratified. Brazil, the only remaining producer of cluster bombs in the region, and Argentina, a former producer and stockpiler, have yet to sign the Convention.