13 November 2009

Iraq signs cluster munition ban treaty

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 H.E. Mr Hamid Talib Al Bayati of Iraq signs the CCM in New York on 12 November. Credit: UN Treaty SectionOn 12 November 2009, Iraq signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, sending a strong message to its neighbour states in the Middle East that cluster bombs should be banned forever.The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. Signed by 103 nations, including Lebanon and Tunisia, and already ratified by 24, the Convention is only six ratifications away from the threshold of 30 required for it to enter into force six months later and become binding international law.Coalition forces used large numbers of cluster munitions in Iraq in 1991 and 2003, and while Iraq is not known to have used cluster bombs, prior to 2003 it produced, imported, and stockpiled the weapons. Given the complex security situation Iraq faces, its signature supporting the ban is all the more important, not least because Iraq will benefit from the Convention's provisions on assistance to victims and communities affected by cluster bomb use."Iraq knows too well the devastation caused by the use of cluster bombs," said Thomas Nash, Coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). "By signing the Convention, Iraq reinforces the clear global standard banning cluster bombs and challenges other Middle Eastern countries to get on board the ban treaty."Together with other CMC members in Iraq and in the region, the Iraqi Alliance for Disability Organisations, headed by Mr. Moaffak AlKhafaji, has been actively promoting Iraq's adherence to the Convention.