09 July 2009

Germany Ratifies Convention on Cluster Munitions

On 8 July, Germany became the 11th country to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions by depositing its instrument of ratification to the United Nations in New York. This exciting news comes just a couple of weeks after Germany hosted a major international conference in Berlin on the destruction of cluster munition stockpiles attended by 87 out of the 98 countries that have signed the Convention.

"A few years ago, very few people would have bet on Germany to sign a comprehensive ban on cluster bombs", said Thomas Kuchenmeister, head of Actiongroup Landmine.de a German member of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). "It was a tough negotiation, but Germany made the right decision to adopt the ban last year and now they have signed, ratified and are among the countries leading the process and trying to get others onboard."

With Germany’s action today, the Convention receives another boost in its effort to reach 30 ratifications, the number required for it to enter into force.

On 25-26 June, Germany demonstrated its commitment to the ban on cluster bombs by hosting the first international meeting on the Convention since it was opened for signature in Oslo last December. 87 countries attended the conference, which was focused on the destruction of stockpiles, reaffirming the importance of the treaty and the political will behind it. The meeting was significant in sending a signal that countries are willing to take action even before the treaty enters into force.

Along with other countries, Germany has taken concrete steps to implement various provisions of the treaty. For example it has commenced destruction of its 440,000 cluster bombs (including millions of submunitions) before 2015.

Germany’s commitment to the ban on cluster bombs is particularly significant as it has been a major producer, exporter and stockpile of the weapon.