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CMC newsletter June 2011

2011-07-21

 CMC June newsletter

Spain
Setem activits at the Santander General Assembly (more info below in campaign and country updates section). Photo credit: Annie Joh

1. INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Grenada: first state to accede to cluster bomb ban

Grenada became the first country ever to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions after depositing its instrument of accession in New York on 29 June 2011.

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Australia: Open letter on proposed legislation

2011-07-15

Gration backs bomb changes
Sydney Morning Herald announces high profile support for the Fix the Bill campaign from former military commander

On 6 July 2011, an open letter was sent to Australia’s Defense Minister, Foriegn Affairs Minister and Attorney General regarding the proposed legislation in Australia that would implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions and enable Australia to ratify and become a State Party to the Convention.  The letter was signed by 48 people including the former chief of the Australian defence force and former members of the Australian cabinet.

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Open letter to the Defence Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister and Attorney General

6 July 2011

Dear Minister Smith, Minister Rudd and Attorney General McClelland

In 2008 you, Minister Smith, signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions for Australia. This important international treaty bans cluster bombs, an indiscriminate class of weapon known to cause significant and long-lasting civilian harm, particularly to children. We wholeheartedly endorse the treaty’s aims and congratulate the government on having signed it.

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Landmark conference on Convention ends with hope for future progress

2011-07-01

CMC hold a briefing for journalists at the UN, Geneva
Lebanese Ambassador Najla Assaker, UNIDIR’s Tim Caughley, Chair of CMC Steve Goose and CMC Director Laura Cheeseman brief assembled journalists on the achievements of the first ever intersessionals on the Convention. (c) Mary Wareham

(Geneva, 1 July 2011)  Grenada became the first country to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a highlight of an unprecedented four-day diplomatic meeting on the treaty.

“The first accession to the Convention is an important milestone, and is all the more significant given that Grenada is one of the countries where cluster bombs have been used,” said Laura Cheeseman, Director of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).

Grenada deposited its instrument of ratification with the United Nations on Wednesday 29 June. Since the treaty became binding international law on 1 August 2010 countries can no longer sign and then later ratify, but must undertake the one-step process of accession.

Two more countries - Thailand and Cambodia - also indicated during the meeting they are taking steps to accede to the Convention in the near future.

“This is a remarkable development in light of the fact that Thailand fired cluster munitions into Cambodia earlier this year during a border dispute-the first use of the weapon since the ban treaty entered into force. Hearing this from Thailand and Cambodia was really encouraging, and we’re hopeful this will be the first accession of many more,” Cheeseman added.

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Grenada: first state to accede to cluster bomb ban

2011-06-30

Grenada deposits its instrument of accession at the UN in New York
H. E. Ms. Dessima M. Williams Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of Grenada deposits Grenada’s instrument of ratification at the United Nations. Photo Credit: UN

(London, 30 June 2011) - Grenada has become the first country ever to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions after depositing its instrument of accession in New York on 29 June 2011.

Since the Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010 new countries must join the ban treaty through a process of accession.

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Botswana ratifies cluster bomb ban

2011-06-29

Botswana ratifies cluster bomb ban
Members of the Botswana delegation and CMC campaigners at the Oslo signing conference, December 2008 where Botswana signed the Convention. Photo credit: Jan Lillehamrev

The Republic of Botswana ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 27 June 2011, becoming the 58th State Party.

Botswana participated in the Oslo Process that established the Convention and sought a comprehensive and immediate ban during the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. Botswana participated in the Convention’s First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010.

“We commend Botswana’s commitment to comprehensively banning cluster munitions and helping to put an end to the devastating impact of these weapons,” said Dr. Robert Mtonga, Chairman of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Zambia and member of the Governance Board of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “Now Botswana can do a lot to promote the treaty’s lifesaving provisions by encouraging non state parties to join and encouraging states that have joined but not yet ratified to do so urgently.”

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 109 countries have joined the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010. The Convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties is scheduled to take place from 12-16 September 2011 in Beirut, Lebanon, which has significant cluster bomb contamination.

Botswana has stated that it has not used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions, and has no areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants.

Botswana will formally become a State Party on 1 December 2011, after the waiting period mandated by the Convention. Botswana is the sixth State Party from the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) [after Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Seychelles, and Zambia]. Angola, DR Congo, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania have signed, but not yet ratified. Mauritius, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe have not yet joined the convention. In Africa overall, there are 16 States Parties, 23 countries that have signed but not yet ratified and 15 countries that have not yet joined the Convention.

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