18 September 2020
DRC Prepared to Ratify Cluster Bomb Convention
On eight September, the Cluster Munition Coalition together with the Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) and the International Committee of the Red Cross, engaged authorities from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on steps to speeding the country’s ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which it signed onto in 2009. Representatives from the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Social Affairs, as well as the Congolese Mine Action Center participated in the meeting. In what is increasingly becoming the new normal, the consultation between Geneva based CMC Staff, and the partners and authorities in the DRC, was conducted entirely online.
The exchange was an opportunity to discuss the imperative for all states to join the ban on cluster munitions as a matter of human security and in support of multilateral humanitarian disarmament efforts and Sustainable Development Goals. The ICRC Representative also shared information on resources available to support the DRC ratification process.
In the meeting, Minister Delegate for People with Disabilities, Ms. Irene Esambo, acknowledged the importance of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the crucial work undertaken by the national CMC campaign member (CCBL) and the Mine Action Center, to promote the country’s ratification. The Centre’s Coordinator, Mr. Sudi Alimasi Kimputu noted that the DRC is already a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty, and therefore is defacto implementing certain aspects of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including having in place a national coordinating mechanism for providing assistance to victims.
The DRC was a strong supporter of a comprehensive cluster munitions ban during the Oslo Process. Following the 2009 signing, the country regularly participated in Convention meetings and, in 2013, its parliament adopted national legislation paving the way for treaty ratification. However, the process fell short of the necessary presidential approval.
“The Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines calls on President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo to take the necessary steps for immediate ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We reiterate our full support for all government efforts to help eliminate the global threat from cluster munitions”, said Par-Dieu Mayenikini, President of the Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines.
According to Minister Sylvain Mutombo, from the Ministry of National Defense, the Democratic Republic of Congo stands ready to become a State Party to the Convention once and for all. Addressing the meeting, the Minister expressed a commitment to work at ensuring treaty ratification as soon as possible, and indicated the government intends to ratify the Convention imminently on the occasion of the Second Review Conference taking place November in Lausanne, Switzerland.
For more information on DRC’s cluster munition ban policy, please see the Monitor website: http://www.the-monitor.org/en-gb/reports/2020/congo,-democratic-republic-of/cluster-munition-ban-policy.aspx