30 June 2011

Grenada: first state to accede to cluster bomb ban

H. E. Ms. Dessima M. Williams Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of Grenada deposits Grenada's instrument of ratification at the United Nations. Photo Credit: UN(London, 30 June 2011) - Grenada has become the first country ever to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions after depositing its instrument of accession in New York on 29 June 2011.Since the Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010 new countries must join the ban treaty through a process of accession.Accession is a one-step process combining signature and ratification, meaning it often requires both government and parliamentary approval.For a state to accede they must deliver a letter signed by the State's responsible authority - known as the "instrument of accession" - to the United Nations Secretary-General in New York."The first accession to the Convention is an important milestone, and hopefully a sign of many more to come", said CMC Director Laura Cheeseman."It is all the more significant given that Grenada is one of the countries where cluster bombs have been used" said Cheeseman.Grenada's accession brings the total number of countries who have joined the lifesaving ban to 109. The Convention will become legally binding for Grenada on 1 December 2011.Although Grenada has never used, stockpiled or produced cluster munitions, it is one of the 39 countries and territories where cluster bombs have been used.During the 1983 invasion of Grenada, the United States used twenty-one MK-20 Rockeye cluster bombs containing a total of 5,187 bomblets. It is not yet known whether the remnants of the bombs have all been cleared.Of the fourteen independent CARICOM member states, Grenada is the third to become a State Party to the Convention, alongside Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Two others - Haiti and Jamaica - have signed but not yet ratified.Grenada's accession takes place as the intersessional meeting on the Convention on Clusters Munitions comes to a close in Geneva.Representatives from about 80 countries participated in this meeting to take stock of progress on their implementation of the Convention and the upcoming Second Meeting of States Parties that will take place in Beirut, Lebanon from 12-16 September 2011.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 ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities.The CMC urges all states to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions immediately and end the indiscriminate suffering the weapons cause.