13 October 2016
The CMC Addresses States at UN Headquarters
As states gather at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss disarmament and international security, the Cluster Munition Coalition calls on them to strengthen the norm against cluster munitions. Below, our statement delivered on 12 October 2016. For more on First Committee debates, follow the First Committee Monitor.
Statement on the Convention on Cluster Munitions
Delivered on behalf of the Cluster Munition Coalition by Alexandra Hiniker, PAX
United Nations First Committee on Disarmament and International Security
The Cluster Munition Coalition is a global civil society campaign working to eradicate cluster munitions through the full universalization and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Over the past several weeks, we have been inundated with horrifying reports of the use of cluster munitions in Syria- including an attack on a hospital in Aleppo and another attack on a Palestinian refugee camp. This follows confirmed reports of ongoing use in Syria since 2012 impacting at least 10 of its 14 governorates. In Yemen, the use of cluster munitions has resulted in unspeakable devastation and countless civilian casualties. This should cause international outrage. We call on all of you to request investigations and to take steps to end this use.
During First Committee, we call on you to do the following:
- If you've already joined the convention, engage in dialogue with states that still remain outside.
- As for the states that are still outside the convention, we have heard some of you express a strong interest in disarmament over the past week and a half - please use the First Committee to learn more about the convention, and start taking steps to join. Zambia and France are coordinators on universalization and Germany is President. We are sure that all three of them, as well as many other States Parties and the members of the Cluster Munition Coalition, would be happy to help.
- Cosponsor and vote in favor of the resolution promoting the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Last year, many states not yet party to the convention voted in favor. Please be sure to vote this year and add your voice to the growing number of states.
Beyond First Committee, we call on you to take these steps to save lives:
- First, condemn any use by any actor. States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions recently did so in the political declaration at the 6th Meeting of States Parties in September. Many more UN Member states have condemned this use in specific cases, such as Syria and Yemen, and yet use continues. Your voice speaking out is critical, and it must be stronger, using every possible channel - both bilaterally and through each multilateral forum available to you. For example, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to include concern about reported use of cluster munitions in resolutions on Sudan and South Sudan. Similar language should be pursued in resolutions on Syria, Yemen, and anywhere else where cluster munitions may be used.
- Second, support effective clearance. The first clearance deadlines for States Parties contaminated by unexploded submunitions are in 2020, a date that is fast approaching. Every remnant cleared is one that can never harm a child as he or she goes about daily life.
- Third, ensure the rights of cluster munition victims are upheld so they have access to the services they need throughout their lifetime.
The Dubrovnik Action Plan outlines what needs to be done to effectively implement each article of the Convention. Use this roadmap and act now to prevent needless deaths and injuries, and to eliminate the impact of cluster munition remnants that threaten the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.
Homepage photo: Copyright MAG/Sean Sutton