16 April 2012

"Power in numbers" - more countries to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions

CMC Director Laura Cheeseman presents at the Intersessional Meeting in Geneva. Photo credit: CMC (Geneva, 16 April 2012) This week’s meeting to discuss worldwide progress on the ban on cluster munitions began today, with promising news that several countries will soon ratify the ban treaty.During today’s discussions on the universalisation of the Convention, Australia, Canada, Chad, Hungary, Peru, Sweden and Switzerland all announced that they will become states parties to the Convention in the coming months. Chad, Hungary, Peru and Sweden all announced parliamentary approval and now need to deposit instruments of ratification with the United Nations.There were no announcements made from states still outside the Convention on plans to accede to the treaty, but the CMC hopes to hear updates from non-signatories during the course of the week.In a presentation delivered during the universalisation session CMC Director Laura Cheeseman called on all states to focus on bringing non-signatories on board the ban and emphasised that an understanding of the problem and engaging a multitude of actors in outreach is necessary to tackle it effectively. She reminded states that they have a legal obligation to promote the Convention and challenged states parties to identify one non-signatory state and work to bring them on board in advance of the Third Meeting of States Parties that will take place in Oslo, Norway from 11-14 September 2012.Lynn Bradach addresses the Intersessional Meeting to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Geneva. Photo credit: CMC "Power in numbers" CMC campaigner Lynn Bradach, whose eldest son Travis, a United States Marine, was killed by a cluster submunition while clearing unexploded ordnance in Iraq in 2003 delivered the campaign’s opening statement before hundreds of assembled delegates and fellow campaigners as the conference began.She reminded delegates that: "Whether states have used cluster munitions or not, stockpile the weapon, or suffered the devastating humanitarian consequences of this weapon on their soil – all countries need to join this Convention. Each and every country should stand up, voice its support and say: I am against this. Silence does not acknowledge the wrong that has been done."There are currently 111 countries on board the ban, 70 of which are states parties. This is a good achievement but more needs to be done to bring countries on board. Lynn reminded delegates that, "it is with power in numbers that we can win this fight against cluster munitions and bring an end for all time to the suffering that they cause. "Lynn highlighted that the Convention on Cluster Munitions has already had a huge impact on the ground, helping prevent further tragedies. "This is progress we should all be proud of. But as long as there are still stocks of these weapons, we cannot be confident that they won’t be used in the future and that more innocent lives won’t be lost. In large part this treaty is about preventing future tragedies," said Lynn.