09 April 2014
Fourth Intersessional Meeting Concludes in Genvea
The President of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Zambian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabriel Namulambe called on States to “remain committed to achieve the aims of the Convention,” today at the closing of the Treaty’s Intersessional Meeting. “ I urge signatories and states not yet party to expedite the process to reach a cluster munition-free world,” the President said.
The meeting takes place against the backdrop of ongoing cluster munitions use in Syria by government forces resulting in mounting casualties. Cluster munitions have been used in some 224 locations in 10 of Syria’s 14 governorates between July 2012 and March 2014 according to a technical briefing note released on 4 April by CMC member, Human Rights Watch.
Concern was also expressed at the meeting over recent allegations of cluster munitions use in South Sudan.
“The solution to preventing cluster munition tragedies like the one in Syria, is to make sure all countries condemn use of this indiscriminate weapon and join the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” said CMC Director, Sarah Blakemore.
Cluster Munition Coalition members participated widely in the meeting including delivering statements on clearance and stockpile destruction, calling for adequate assistance to victims, and full and transparent reporting by States on the progress made to date under the Convention and challenges remaining. The CMC, along with the Netherlands, condemned recent and ongoing cluster munition use in Syria as well as expressing deep concern regarding use allegations in South Sudan. New Zealand also condemned all use of cluster munitions. The CMC also raised concerns over development of national implementation measures to give full effect to the Convention; so far only 22 States Parties – one quarter of the total – have passed national laws.
Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions has shown steady progress to date. Highlights from the meeting included the warmly received announcements from Denmark and the UK on the completion of destruction of their cluster munition stockpiles. FYR Macedonia also completed destruction of their stockpiles since the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2013, and signatory Canada announced it will likely finish by September of this year.
Norway reported completion of clearance of their cluster munition-contaminated firing range, and Mauritania announced the completion of verification of their cluster free status. Both states are expected to make announcements of completion of Article 4 obligations, at the next formal convention meeting in September.
Despite this strong progress, concerns were raised by the CMC over lack of development of national implementation measures to give full effect to the Convention; so far only 22 States Parties - one quarter of the total - have passed national laws.
Cluster munition Ban Advocates, including victims, participated in the meeting as well. “There are still many gaps in between what is guaranteed by the convention and reality,” said Ban Advocate Lynn Bradach, whose son Travis Bradach-Nall, was killed by cluster munition remnants while on duty with the US Army in Iraq in 2003.
Several States including Signatories and Non-signatories and primarily African countries, spoke out at the meeting on the priority to further expand Convention membership.
The Cluster Munition Coalition is working with the treaty presidency to ensure as that as many states as possible ratify or accede to the Convention in the run up to the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, in September 2014. Zambia will pass treaty leadership to Costa Rica at that meeting.
CMC 2014 Intersessional webpage - CMC statements delivered during the meeting are available on this webpage, as well as links to official documents from the Intersessional Meeting