02 February 2012

Mauritania ratifies cluster bomb ban

H. E. Mr. Abderrahim Ould Hadrami Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of Mauritania signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions: April 2010. Photo Credit: United Nations. Mauritania became the latest country to join the team to rid the world of cluster munitions when the government ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 February 2012.This brings the number of countries to have fully banned the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster bombs to 68. Mauritania joins an ever-growing global community partnering with the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) and others to eliminate these weapons once and for all. "We're pleased that Mauritania has ratified the treaty this week, demonstrating a further commitment to the global fight against cluster bombs. As a country affected by cluster bombs, having Mauritania on board sends an important signal to other affected countries such as Cambodia, Tajikistan and South Sudan, that the global ban is the only answer to ridding the world of this abhorrent weapon," said CMC Campaign Manager, Amy Little.Records show that since 1999, 54 people have been killed or injured by explosive remnants of war in this Arab League member state, according to the Cluster Munition Monitor. About 9km2 of land in Mauritania is contaminated with unexploded cluster munitions, but in June 2011, at intersessional meetings of the Convention, Mauritania announced that it had a three-year plan for clearance of these areas."We also hope Mauritania recognizing the unacceptable harm cluster bombs cause by banning them will encourage its neighbours Algeria and Morocco to do the same," Little added.Mauritania was an active participant in the Oslo Process that led to the creation of the ban in 2008, and made many strong contributions towards ensuring the most comprehensive treaty possible. It has never used, produced, imported, or exported cluster munitions and does not have a stockpile.The Convention on Cluster Munitions 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.Mauritania will formally become a State Party on 1 August 2012 after the waiting period mandated by the treaty.