Central America Now a Zone Free of Cluster Munitions

Strong Condemnations of Ongoing Cluster Munition Use in Syria and Ukraine

(San Jose, Costa Rica) September 5, 2014 — Central America this week became the first region to become free of cluster munitions with Belize’s accession to the international treaty banning cluster munitions, said the Cluster Munition Coalition at the close of the treaty’s meeting. In addition, the Republic of Congo announced ratification of the treaty at the meeting, bringing up to 114 the number of states that have joined the Convention.

“Central America’s unanimous support for the ban on cluster munitions should embolden other nations to cooperate in eradicating these insidious weapons that cause unacceptable harm,” said Jesús Martinez, El Salvador Cluster Munition Coalition member. “We do not want to see any more victims from cluster munitions and urge no use of these weapons anywhere, anytime by anyone.”

The announcement was made at the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which ended today in San José Costa Rica. Costa Rica hosted the meeting – the first ever of its kind to be held in Latin America, taking over the convention presidency from Zambia.

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Cluster Munitions Ban: National Laws Needed 

(San Jose, Costa Rica, September 3, 2014) – Countries around the world should enact strong laws to implement the treaty banning cluster munitions, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today at an international meeting of nations party to the treaty.

The 81-page report, “Staying Strong: Key Components and Positive Precedent for Convention on Cluster Munitions Legislation,” urges countries to pass robust national legislation as soon as possible to carry out the provisions of the treaty. The report describes the elements of a comprehensive law and highlights exemplary provisions in existing laws. The report was jointly published with Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic.

“To maximize the global cluster munition treaty’s impact, all countries should adopt national laws that apply its high standards at home,” said Bonnie Docherty, senior researcher in the arms division at Human Rights Watch and lead author of the report. “Prohibitions that can be enforced in domestic courts can help ensure that these deadly weapons don’t harm civilians.”  
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