SWEDEN RATIFIES CLUSTER BOMB BAN

Sweden signs the Convention at the CCM signing conference in Oslo, Norway 2008. Photo credit: Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.no

Sweden ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) on 23 April 2012 becoming the 71st State Party to the treaty.

Sweden has never used cluster bombs, but has produced and stockpiled them. However, Swedish representatives said at both the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Beirut in September 2011, and at the CCM intersessional meetings in Geneva last week, that stockpile destruction is well under way and should be finished by the end of 2014.

“It is thanks to a long-standing commitment of civil society around the world that the treaty banning cluster munitions became a reality in 2008. I am happy that Sweden now finally is also a State Party to the CCM and is joining the other 70 states that have already banned this terrible weapon,” said Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) member Anna Ek, from the Swedish Network Against Cluster Bombs.

Sweden engaged in the Oslo process that created the lifesaving ban and considerably changed its position from being a producer of cluster munitions to supporting the adoption of the Convention, and signing it in December 2008. Now that it has ratified Sweden will formally become a State Party on 1 October 2012, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention.

Sweden is one of 20 European Union (EU) member states who have joined the Convention. Just seven EU countries are left to join (Estonia, Slovakia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Poland and Romania), and Cyprus and Hungary have signed but not yet ratified the ban.

The CMC welcomes the news from Hungary at last week’s meeting that they will also be ratifying the treaty soon.

The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 111 countries have joined the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010.