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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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 »

Landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance add threat to refugees

(20 June 2013) On World Refugee Day today the Nobel Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is calling on states to eliminate the harrowing risks that refugees and asylum seekers face from landmines and unexploded ordnance. States must protect refugee victims and urgently respond to their needs. 

Landmines and Refugees: The Risks and the Responsibilities to Protect and Assist Victims” released today by the ICBL-CMC’S Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, focuses on the conditions for victims and refugees fleeing from, or into, 20 different countries contaminated by landmines and other explosive hazards, including cluster munitions; and the experiences of returnees to another five affected countries.

Firoz Alizada, ICBL Campaign Manager knows first-hand the devastating effect of mines on displaced individuals. “Those refugees or IDPs that survive are among the most vulnerable, like other persons with disabilities. They are the first to be affected physically, socially and economically and the last to get assistance,” said Alizada. “I am a double-amputee landmine survivor and I didn’t receive any assistance from anyone but my family during the five years I lived in Pakistan,” said Alizada, a native of Afghanistan. 

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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 »

Thousands Worldwide Call on U.S. and Other Outliers to Join Mine Ban Treaty

(Washington, D.C.) April 4, 2012 —  In celebration of the United Nations’ International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action today, thousands of people in more than 70 countries are rolling up their pant leg and standing side-by-side with survivors and landmine-affected communities to call for a full stop to the harm landmines still cause.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL) joins the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in the Lend Your Leg initiative to demand an end to the scourge of antipersonnel mines, and to once again call on the Obama administration to announce the conclusion of the landmine policy review launched in 2009 and to join the Mine Ban Treaty without further delay.

Lend Your Leg 2012, officially partnered with the ICBL and the United Nations with support from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, and was launched on March 1—the 13th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty—by landmine survivors from all over the world joined by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Since then United Nations officials, politicians, celebrities, journalists and ordinary people everywhere have pledged to “lend their legs” to speak out against this indiscriminate weapon that continues to impair people’s lives every day.

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Treaty banning cluster bombs marks one year anniversary

logo(London) August 1, 2011 — Campaigners are calling on all countries to join the treaty banning cluster bombs, marking one year after it became binding international law.

“The best way to stop cluster bombs from being used is to join this treaty and do so now,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). “We are winning the battle against cluster bombs, but need all states to join the team against these deadly weapons.”

A total of 109 countries are now on board the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In the 12 months since it  entered into force internationally, 21 countries that previously signed the treaty have ratified it, and one country has acceded (a one-step process of signing and ratifying).

“An impressive amount has been achieved in the cluster bomb ban treaty’s first year of life,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the Cluster Muition Coalition (CMC).“Stockpiles are being destroyed and contaminated land is being cleared, preventing thousands more lives being lost as a result of these weapons,” she added.
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Countries urged to commit to a world free of cluster bombs

Countries urged to commit to a world free of cluster bombs at landmark meeting on Convention on Cluster Munitions

(Geneva) June 27, 2011 — At least 60 countries will meet this week at the first four-day “inter-sessional” meeting on the Convention on Cluster Munitions to advance their commitments to a world free of cluster bombs.

It is deemed an inter-sessional meeting because it takes place in between the required annual meetings of States Parties.

“This is the first meeting of its kind. Nearly one year since we celebrated the entry into force of this lifesaving ban, states must now report on progress they have made to implement the ban, and outline the steps they plan to take in the future,” said CMC Director Laura Cheeseman. Read the rest of this entry »