21 March 2011

Mozambique ratifies treaty banning cluster munitions

Mozambique signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo in December 2008. Photo credit: Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.no(London, 21 March 2011) – The Republic of Mozambique ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 14 March 2011. The treaty will enter into force nationally on 1 September 2011, making Mozambique the 54th State Party. “It’s fantastic that Mozambique has ratified this lifesaving treaty,” said Albino Forquilha, Executive Director of the Mozambican Force for Crime Investigation and Social Reinsertion (FOMICRES), a CMC member that has advocated for Mozambique to ratify. “Now it should identify and destroy any unexploded cluster submunitions on Mozambican soil and urge all other countries to join the treaty.”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 in November 2010 in Lao PDR – the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world.Mozambique signed the Convention on 3 December 2008 and is not believed to have used, produced, transferred or stockpiled cluster munitions. It was one of three African countries to attend the launch of the Oslo Process that led to the treaty and during negotiations was  a strong advocate for a comprehensive ban without exceptions, and for far-reaching provisions on victim assistance and international cooperation and assistance.While unexploded cluster submunitions have been found in some locations in Mozambique over the years, it is not known to what extent the county has been contaminated by cluster munition use.Almost the entire continent of Africa has either signed or ratified the Convention, and the CMC urges all remaining states in the region to get on board and begin to implement the treaty as soon as possible.