30 October 2013

CMC Statement at the UN First Committee on Disarmament

On 29 October 2013 the Cluster Munition Coalition delivered the below statement at the United Nations’ First Committee on Disarmament and International Security. The statement emphasized the preventative nature of the treaty and called on all states to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It also highlighted widespread concern and condemnation over ongoing use of cluster munitions in Syria.

First Committee on Disarmament and International Security 29 October 2013

Statement by the Cluster Munition Coalition

Thank you, Mr Chair.I am addressing you on behalf of the Cluster Munition Coalition (or CMC), an international network of nongovernmental organizations working in over 100 countries to eradicate cluster munitions, prevent further causalities from these weapons and put an end for all time to the suffering they cause.

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions and its comprehensive ban is preventing untold harm to civilians. 113 countries have joined the convention, and we urge those remaining to do so without delay.Safe in our environment here in this UN building, it is easy to feel far removed from the people this convention protects. Yet it continues to protect every one of us.

As a preventative treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions has ensured the destruction of 122 million stockpiled submunitions to date and it is establishing a strong norm against the use of cluster munitions that helps to protect civilians worldwide in times of conflict.

The convention also protects the many millions of people living in post-conflict environments, through its obligations on countries to clear land contaminated with cluster munition remnants within ten years. The CMC firmly believes that if proper identification of cluster munition-contaminated areas is done, clearance is targeted to these areas, and states are generous with contributions of financial and technical resources, nearly all States Parties can finish clearance within the mandated period of 10 years or less, and will not need to request an extension.

Via the partnership of governments, civil society, the UN, ICRC, operators and others committed to this convention, support is available for those states suffering the legacy of cluster munition contamination to identify and eliminate the threat remaining.We welcome the important statements of concern and condemnation over the ongoing use of cluster munitions in Syria.

We also welcome the 107 countries who voted in favour of the 8 May 2013 UN General Assembly 67/262 on the Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, which included a condemnation of the use of cluster munitions by the Syrian authorities against the Syrian population. Continued condemnation against any use of cluster munitions is crucial, and we are pleased that countries both signatory and non-signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions continue to speak out. Yet this is not enough.

Only through continued strengthening of the convention, through more countries ratifying and acceding to it, can we stop use of cluster munitions for good. We urge those non-signatory states to cement their condemnation of this indiscriminate weapon further by joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay. States not yet in a position to join the convention can also take interim measures to demonstrate their political support for the convention, such as declaring a moratorium on use, production, export and acquisition of cluster munitions, destroying stockpiles, or clearing land of cluster munition remnants.We welcome the statements of support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions made during this meeting – and urge all states, whether signatory or non-signatory, to continue to voice support for the treaty’s humanitarian objectives at every opportunity.

For those states not yet in a position to accede to the convention, your words of condemnation against the weapon are important and powerful. For those that have already joined, please do not forget that promoting universalization of the convention is obliged under Article 21, and we will monitor states’ adherence to this obligation as we do all other articles.We thank Norway for its leadership of the convention as President over the last year. We also thank the new President, Zambia, for hosting the successful Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention last month. Universalisation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions is the CMC’s top priority and we are pleased that it has been chosen as the priority of the Zambian presidency over the coming year, and also that Norway will continue to promote it as coordinator on universalisation alongside Ghana.

We look forward to supporting Chile in the upcoming Santiago Regional Conference on the convention being held 12-13th December. The exciting goal of the meeting is to encourage a cluster munition-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean and we encourage all GRULAC member states to participate in the meeting and to join the challenge to become the world’s first cluster munition-free zone.

Next year’s Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions will be held in Costa Rica 2-5th September, and the Intersessional meeting will be held 7-9th April in Geneva. We look forward to welcoming many new States Parties to the convention ahead of these milestones, and we stand fully ready to provide assistance to reach this goal.We know that each state still outside the convention has its unique reason for being so, but the CMC believes that none outweigh the value of joining and the responsibility to protect civilian lives.

Here in New York, and in over 100 countries worldwide, our coalition members offer our resources, expertise, and also our continued time and dedication to support you in the year ahead and look forward to helping you join and implement the convention.Thank you.


Download the full statement in PDF