Special Event: The United States and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty

(Washington, D.C.) February 10, 2014 — On Wednesday, February 19, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, with the support of the European Union, are holding an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., on the United States and the Mine Ban Treaty. Confirmed speakers include Nobel Peace Laureate Ms. Jody Williams and Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan, Special Envoy for the Mine Ban Convention.

The event will be livestreamed and livetweeted.

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The event is hosted by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit and Human Rights Watch on behalf of the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines, with the support of the European Union.

The United States and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, D.C.

Keynote Addresses (9:30am-9:55am)

Introduction by:

François Rivasseau, Deputy Head
European Union Delegation to the United States

Featuring:

Jody Williams
1997 Nobel Peace Laureate

Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan
Special Envoy for the Mine Ban Treaty

Statement by Senator Patrick Leahy
read by Channapha Khamvongsa, Legacies of War

Break

U.S. Expert Panel Discussion (10:00am-11:15am)

Moderator:

Rachel Stohl
Stimson Center

Featuring:

Heidi Kuhn
Roots of Peace

Steve Goose
Human Rights Watch Arms Division

Ken Rutherford
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery

Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (Ret.)
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Break

Closing Remarks (11:20am-11:30am)

Henrique Banze of Mozambique (invited)
President-Designate of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Third Review Conference

To RSVP, please see details of the invitation.

Record-breaking Progress as States Race to Eliminate the Scourge of Cluster Bombs

Syria’s use of the banned weapon strongly condemned

(Geneva) September 4, 2013: Governments are making record-breaking progress as they race to fulfill the 2008 treaty banning cluster munitions, while Syria’s use of this banned weapon has been widely condemned, according to Cluster Munition Monitor 2013, a global report released today in Geneva.

“The impressive rate at which states are destroying millions of stockpiled cluster munitions shows that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is already making a real difference in saving lives,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, ban policy editor of Cluster Munition Monitor 2013. “By completing their stockpile destruction years in advance of deadline, states are boldly demonstrating their commitment to the treaty’s objective of ridding the world of these weapons.”

During 2012, the Netherlands finished the total destruction of its once-massive stockpile of cluster munitions and together with Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and others, destroyed a total of 173,973 cluster munitions and 27 million submunitions—the most in a year since the convention’s adoption and far exceeding 2011 totals, when states destroyed a total of 107,000 cluster munitions and 17.6 million submunitions.

Under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties have a maximum period of eight years to destroy their stockpiled cluster munitions, but most are completing their destruction in half that time. Denmark and the United Kingdom, for example, announced plans to finish destruction by the end of this year, and Cote d’Ivoire finished destruction in early 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Cluster bomb ban movement meets in Oslo

(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.

 www.stopclustermunitions.org

Impressive Progress on Total Ban on Cluster Bombs

Rapid destruction of stockpiles is saving lives

(London) Sepetember 6, 2012 —  Governments that have joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions have destroyed nearly 750,000 cluster munitions containing 85 million submunitions to date, according to Cluster Munition Monitor 2012, a global report released today in London.

“The impressive number of stockpiled cluster bombs destroyed under the Convention on Cluster Munitions demonstrates just how committed governments are to rapidly implementing this treaty,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, final editor of Cluster Munition Monitor 2012.  “It is proving to be a milestone in humanitarian disarmament diplomacy, and the hold-out states that have not yet joined need to get on the right side of history,” Wareham said.

Cluster Munition Monitor 2012 is being launched by the international Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) in advance of the convention’s Third Meeting of States Parties, which opens in Oslo, Norway on Tuesday, 11 September. A total of 111 countries have joined the Convention, of which 75 have ratified or acceded, becoming full States Parties.

The report cites the serious allegations of new use of cluster munitions in Syria and Sudan as the most disturbing developments of the year. The allegations have not yet been confirmed, but are considered credible by the Monitor. Neither state has joined the ban convention.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into force on 1 August 2010, comprehensively prohibits the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions. It also requires destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years, clearance of cluster munition remnants within 10 years, and assistance to victims, including those killed or injured by submunitions as well as their families and affected communities.  Read the rest of this entry »

Convention on Cluster Munitions Celebrates Second Anniversary: Campaigners Call on U.S. to Attend Upcoming Treaty Meeting

Washington, D.C.— August 1 marked the second anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In recognition of the day, campaigners in the United States have written to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to urge that the United States participate as an observer at the upcoming Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention which will take place in Oslo, Norway, from September 11-14, 2012.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and places obligations on countries to clear affected areas, assist victims and destroy stockpiles. To date, 111 states have joined the treaty, including most of the U.S.’s closest allies.

“While only two years old, the treaty banning cluster bombs is already creating a powerful effect in stigmatizing the weapon, so that even those countries like the United States that have not yet joined will not be able to use cluster bombs without facing widespread international condemnation,” said Zach Hudson, coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs.  Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Led Attempt to Allow Cluster Bomb Use Is Rejected

(Geneva) November 25, 2011 – An attempt by the United States and other remaining producers and stockpilers of cluster munitions to push through a weak new law which would have allowed these indiscriminate weapons to be used, has failed. Over fifty states at the United Nations negotiations rejected outright the cynical attempt to give legal cover to use these weapons in the future.  This ends four years of negotiations on this issue.

“This was not a diplomatic game. It was about saving a great number of lives – the outright rejection of weaker standards shows that small and medium size states in partnership with the UN, ICRC and civil society can set the agenda in international politics”  said Grethe Ostern, Policy Adviser, Mine Action Department, Norwegian Peoples Aid, Cluster Munition Coalition member.

The failure to set up a weaker alternative to the existing ban strengthens the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions which like the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty prohibits the use, production and transfer of an entire category of weapons and promotes the rights of victims and survivors. The Cluster Munition Coalition calls on all remaining countries to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

“The message from the failed efforts today is clear – cluster bombs are indiscriminate, kill long after they are dropped and are illegal. Countries like China, India, Israel, Russia and the US who say they are seriously concerned about the humanitarian impact, should go home and immediately begin destroying their stockpiles” said Amy Little, Campaign Manager for the Cluster Munition Coalition.

The U.S. was the key promoter of the proposed law. Opposition was led by Norway, Austria, and Mexico, with powerful support from the Cluster Munition Coalition, the ICRC, and a large number of UN agencies, notably the UN Development Programme, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions has been signed by 111 nations, including some of the biggest users, producers, and or stockpilers in recent decades, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Twenty-two of the twenty-eight NATO members have joined the ban convention. Read the rest of this entry »

CMC condemns Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia

Thailand and Cambodia should join global treaty banning cluster munitions

(Geneva) April 6, 2011 — Based on two separate on-site investigations, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) has concluded that Thailand used cluster munitions on Cambodian territory during the February 2011 border conflict. Thai officials confirmed the use of cluster munitions in a meeting with the CMC on April 5, 2011.

This is the first use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world since the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force and became binding international law. The CMC condemns any use of cluster munitions, and urges Thailand and Cambodia to immediately commit to no future use and to accede to the global treaty banning the weapons.

“It’s appalling that any country would resort to using cluster munitions after the international community banned them,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the CMC. “Thailand has been a leader in the global ban on antipersonnel mines, and it is unconscionable that it used banned weapons that indiscriminately kill and injure civilians in a similar manner.”

Read the rest of this entry »