10 October 2012

Australia ratifies cluster bomb ban

Australia signs the Convention at the CCM signing conference in Oslo, Norway 2008. Photo credit: Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.no(London 10 October 2012): Australia has become State Party 77 to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), having deposited its instrument of ratification on 8 October. Australia will formally become a State Party on 1 April 2013, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention.While the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) welcomes Australia as the newest State Party to the Convention, the network regrets that the Australian government recently passed seriously flawed legislation to enforce the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Amy Little, Campaign Manager for the CMC said: "We hope and expect that Australia will live up to both the letter and spirit of the comprehensive ban convention, despite the loopholes in its weak national legislation. Our campaigners all over the world will be watching closely to make sure it does everything in its power to ensure cluster bombs are never used again."Mette Sofie Elisessen from Cluster Munition Coalition Australia said: "Other countries that are also allies of the US and members of NATO have passed stronger legislation that upholds the intention of the treaty while also providing for military interoperability. It was entirely possible for Australia to do the same, and yet the government has indicated with this legislation that it chooses to put US military interests ahead of humanitarian needs. It is an embarrassing situation for Australia. We wish we could say that we trust Australia to never actually allow the stockpiling of foreign owned cluster bombs on Australian soil."Australia participated extensively in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Oslo signing conference, 3 December 2008.According to the Cluster Munition Monitor, Australia has never used or exported cluster munitions and has never had an operational stockpile.