23 December 2011

Dominican Republic ratifies cluster bomb ban

Unexploded cluster bombs in an olive grove. Picture credit: Simon Conway The Dominican Republic has become the 67th State Party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of the indiscriminate weapon.Officials in New York deposited the Caribbean nation's instrument of ratification on 20 December 2011."We are delighted to welcome the Dominican Republic to the growing list of countries banning cluster bombs, recognising the devastation they cause to civilians," said Amy Little, Campaign Manager of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).The Dominican Republic signed the Convention in November 2009, less than a year after it was opened for signature, and was its 102nd signatory.In April 2011 a representative from the Dominican Republic's Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated they were on track to complete ratification of the Convention, following a Supreme Court declaration saying ratification of the Convention conforms with the country’s new Constitution.The Dominican Republic participated in meetings on cluster munitions in 2009 and 2010, but did not attend the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010. It participated in intersessional meetings of the convention held in Geneva in June 2011, but did not make any statements.In February 2008, the Dominican Republic stated that it "does not use, stockpile, produce, or have anything to do with cluster munitions."With every new country joining the treaty the stigma against this weapon grows and we are strengthening the global norm against any country ever using these indiscriminate weapons again - saving lives, limbs and livelihoods for generations to come," Little said.