19 January 2011

El Salvador ratifies cluster bomb ban treaty

Campaigners in El Salvador mark the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in August 2010. (London, 19 January 2011) – The Republic of El Salvador will be the 50th state party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions after it ratified the treaty on 10 January 2011. “El Salvador has sent a strong signal that it stands in solidarity with cluster bomb victims and affected communities around the world,” said Jesús Martínez, a landmine survivor and director of Red de Sobrevivientes y Personas con Discapacidad, which has advocated for El Salvador to sign and ratify the Convention. “Most of Latin America has now joined this treaty, and the few holdouts should get on board to end the suffering caused by cluster bombs.”The 2008 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 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. Its historic First Meeting of States Parties was held from 9-12 November 2010 in Lao PDR – the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world.El Salvador actively participated in the Oslo Process that produced the Convention and was among the 94 countries that signed the treaty in Oslo on 3 December 2008. El Salvador has never used, produced, transferred or stockpiled cluster munitions. A state party to the Mine Ban Treaty, El Salvador has at least 3,158 survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war left over from an internal armed conflict from 1980-1992.In the Americas, 19 countries have signed the Convention and eight Latin American countries have ratified (Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama 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.