16 March 2011

Portugal ratifies treaty banning cluster bombs

Portugal signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo in December 2008. Photo credit: Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.no(London, 16 March 2011) – Portugal ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 9 March 2011. The treaty will enter into force nationally on 1 September 2011, making Portugal the 53rd State Party. “Portugal has set a strong example by ratifying the Convention on Cluster Munitions and already destroying its stockpiles of the weapons,” said Laura Cheeseman, Campaign Manager of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). “Now Portugal can do a lot to promote the treaty’s lifesaving provisions and ensure as many countries as possible get on board.”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 – and the second is scheduled to take place from 12-16 September 2011 in Lebanon, another widely affected country.In July 2010, Portugal stated it had completed destruction of its stockpile of BL-755 cluster munitions. Portugal has never produced or transferred cluster munitions and made substantial contributions throughout the Oslo process that led to the treaty, using its influence in Lusophone countries to support universalisation of the Convention.Portugal is the 13th member of NATO to ratify the Convention, while seven others have signed but not yet finished the ratification process. Only eight NATO members have not yet joined the Convention.