28 May 2015
South Africa Ratifies the Convention!
Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo with campaigners after ratification. (c) Shant Alexander
South Africa is the 92nd State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Congratulations! The instrument of ratification was submitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, at the UN Headquarters in New York, on 28 May 2015.
“Tens of thousands of people worldwide have been maimed, killed or displaced as a result of the use of cluster bombs. The increased awareness of the catastrophic impact of these weapons has contributed to ensuring that humanitarian considerations can no longer be ignored,” said Kennedy Mabasa, CMC member in South Africa.
South Africa used to be a producer and user of cluster munitions. Its ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions shows that all states, even producers and users, can renounce the weapon on the basis of the unacceptable harm it causes.
Authorities have reported that South Africa possesses “a relatively small stockpile of obsolete cluster munitions”, which must now be destroyed. The country is not known to have cluster munition remnants contamination on its territory.
The vast majority of sub-Saharan African states have joined the Convention, but 16 still need to ratify it to become full States Parties. A small number are still outside the Convention: Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mauritius, South Sudan, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
“As South African civil society, our views were shaped by our experiences during South Africa’s struggle against apartheid. We are aware of the devastation associated with weapons of war around the African continent. We owe it to the victims of these weapons and their families to prevent future horrors and pain caused by cluster bombs,” added Mabasa.
The Convention will enter into force for South Africa on 1 November 2015.