25 September 2008
FORTY AFRICAN STATES GATHER TO TACKLE CLUSTER BOMBS
CMC Media Advisory (24 September 2008) Forty African governments will attend the Kampala Conference on Cluster Munitions, a regional meeting to encourage all African states to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo, Norway on 3 December 2008, the international day for persons with disabilities.The Cluster Munition Coalition will host a concert and strong photo and filming opportunity in advance of the conference, featuring national radio presenter Aloysious Matovu Junior, Ugandan pop artist Sweet Kid, and dance troupe Wat Mom Cultural Group. Deminers from the Uganda Mine Action Center will demonstrate how they carry out their dangerous work.Archbishop Desmond Tutu will deliver a video message to the conference to call for an end to the suffering caused by cluster munitions.When:
- Sunday, 28 September: Photo and filming opportunity and campaign action at 14:00 until 18.00
- Monday, 29 September: The Kampala Conference on Cluster Munitions will start at 09.00 with an official 2 hour opening with remarks by the President of Uganda followed by a press conference at 11.00.
- Tuesday, 30 September: Closing ceremony starts at 15.00 with closing remarks by the Prime Minister of Uganda
- Concert/ high impact photo and filming opportunity (28 Sep): Kyadondo Rugby Club, Jinja Road, Kampala (opposite Shoprite)
- Kampala Conference on Cluster Munitions (29 Sep): Imperial Royal Hotel, Kintu Road, Kampala
Accreditation: Journalists are advised to register for the conference by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.orgHigh resolution photos of cluster bombs and their effects in Africa are available from the CMC media teamFurther Information:http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=628Contact:For more information and interviewsIn Uganda: Mary Wareham, Human Rights Watch, +256-702-177-267In London: Natalie Curtis, CMC +44-20 7820 0222 or + 44- 7515 575-174Notes to Editors:What are cluster bombs?Cluster munitions are large weapons which are deployed from the air and from the ground and release up to hundreds of smaller submunitions. Submunitions released by airdropped cluster bombs are most often called "bomblets,"while those delivered from the ground by artillery or rockets are usually referred to as "grenades."What's the problem with this weapon?Air-dropped or ground-launched, they cause two major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians. First, their widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme, especially when the weapon is used in or near populated areas. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended. These duds are more lethal than antipersonnel mines; incidents involving submunition duds are much more likely to cause death than injury.Who has used cluster munitions?At least 15 countries have used cluster munitions: Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Israel, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia (USSR), Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, UK, US, and FR Yugoslavia. A small number of non-state armed groups have used the weapon (such as Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006). Billions of submunitions are stockpiled by some 76 countries. A total of 34 states are known to have produced over 210 different types cluster munitions. More than two dozen countries have been affected by the use of cluster munitions including Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Croatia, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Grenada, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam, as well as Chechnya, Falkland/Malvinas, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Western Sahara.Why is a ban on cluster munitions necessary?Simply put, cluster munitions kill and injure too many civilians. The weapon caused more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system. Cluster munitions stand out as the weapon that poses the gravest dangers to civilians since antipersonnel mines, which were banned in 1997. Israel's massive use of the weapon in Lebanon in August 2006 resulted in more than 200 civilian casualties in the year following the ceasefire and served as the catalyst that has propelled governments to attempt to secure a legally-binding international instrument tackling cluster munitions in 2008.What is the Oslo Process?In February 2007, 46 governments met in Oslo to endorse a call by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre to conclude a new legally binding instrument in 2008 that prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians and provide adequate resources to assist survivors and clear contaminated areas. Subsequent International Oslo Process meetings were held in Peru (May 2007), Austria (December 2007), and New Zealand (February 2008). 107 countries negotiated and adopted a treaty that bans cluster bombs and provides assistance to affected communities in May 2008 in Dublin. All states will be eligible to sign the treaty in Oslo on 3 December 2008 and must ratify it after signature.States that adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions (107)Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYR), Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Zambia.CMC Media Advisory Kampala (English)CMC Media Advisory Kampala (French)
- President of Uganda HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (to be confirmed), Prime Minister Rt Hon Apollo Nsibambi, and other senior Ugandan government officials
- Diplomats from 40 African states including: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
- Cluster bomb and landmine victims from Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Sudan
- Cluster Munition Coalition campaigners including French and English speakers from Algeria, Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, who have been liaising with governments and have been at the worldwide negotiations to ban cluster bombs.
- The United Nations Development Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross