(Oslo) September 14, 2012 — More than 100 governments gathered in the Norwegian capital to report on how they are meeting their commitments to eradicate cluster munitions and prevent them causing any further harm.
Around 30 states that have yet to join the lifesaving 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of the weapon will take part in the conference, showing the power and importance of the treaty even for countries not yet on board.
Amongst these are China, which continues to produce cluster bombs, Libya, where forces loyal to Gaddafi used cluster bombs last year and countries contaminated by unexploded cluster bombs including Cambodia, Serbia, Tajikistan and Vietnam.
The importance of this conference is further underscored by credible but as yet unconfirmed allegations of use of cluster bombs in both Syria and Sudan earlier this year.
“In the two years since this treaty became binding international law there has been remarkable progress in eliminating cluster munitions, but too many countries still remain outside the ban,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).
“We sincerely hope that the presence of a large number of states that have not yet joined the treaty means they recognize the ban is the only way to stop the harm caused by cluster bombs, and that they will announce their plans to join it as soon as possible,” Cheeseman added.
The Oslo Process to ban cluster munitions was launched six years ago in response to the indiscriminate impact these weapons have on civilians at the time of use and long after conflicts end.
“In a very short period of time cluster munitions have gone from being strongly defended as essential for national security to being considered completely unacceptable for use by anyone,” said Steve Goose, chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “The global stigma against these weapons is clearly strong, and growing stronger,” he added.
Figures released last week from the CMC’s annual Cluster Munition Monitor report show rapid progress is being made by countries that have joined the ban treaty, most notably the destruction of cluster munition stockpiles way ahead of the treaty’s eight-year deadline. The report shows that States Parties have already destroyed 750,000 cluster munitions containing 85 million submunitions.
The Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions took place in Oslo from 11-14 September 2012. A total of 111 countries have joined the Convention, including 75 States Parties and 36 signatories that still have to ratify.