23 September 2011

Trinidad and Tobago accedes to cluster bomb ban

H. E. Mr. Surujrattan Rambachan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Communications of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago deposits his country's instrument of accession at the United Nations in New York. Photo credit: United Nations Trinidad and Tobago became the 64th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions after acceding to the ban treaty at the UN in New York on 21 September – the third new State Party in just two weeks.Trinidad and Tobago is also the third country – after Grenada and Swaziland - to accede to the Convention since it entered into force on 1 August 2010. Since entry into force, countries can no longer sign and then later ratify the treaty, but instead must accede, which is a one-step process combining signature and ratification.Folade Mutota of the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development in Trinidad and Tobago, and a CMC national campaigner, said, "Trinidad and Tobago’s accession to the Convention sends a strong message to countries in the Caribbean region and throughout the world that the will to join together to end the terrible harm done by these indiscriminate weapons is growing, and all states should get on board."Trinidad and Tobago is not believed to have ever used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.In a 26 May 2010 letter to the CMC, Trinidad and Tobago stated that it "intends to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions having obtained the requisite approval for signature of the Convention on February 4, 2010 pending its review by the Attorney General."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 ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 111 countries have joined the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010.Trinidad and Tobago will formally become a State Party to the Convention on 1 March 2012 after the waiting period mandated by the treaty.