STATES ADOPTED THE CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS
On 30 May 2008, after two weeks of negotiations held in Dublin (Ireland), 107states
adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
The CCM bans clustermunitions forever and provides groundbreaking provisions to assist victims.
TheCCM will be opened for signature in Oslo on 3 December 2008 and enter into force sixmonths after 30 states have deposited their instruments of ratification with the UN SecretaryGeneral.
A new international standard based on the voices of the victims
At the final plenary meeting of the Dublin Conference, the Irish Foreign Ministersaid, “Rarely if ever in international diplomacy have we seen such single-mindeddetermination to conclude a convention with such high humanitarian goals in such aconcentrated period of time.” Norway described the CCM as “a strong convention that willhave concrete impact on the ground” and said, “there will not be another minute before westart implementing the Convention. In practical terms the implementation starts today andwill prove the value of our work. (…) In essence, this process and the new Convention onCluster Munitions, is disarmament as humanitarian action.” Cambodia also called for theeffective implementation of the Convention’s provisions on victim assistance and clearance,“very important articles for Cambodia.” Lebanon spoke of the CCM as a “new way” to tacklehumanitarian concerns and paid tribute to the victims “thanks to whom future suffering willbe avoided.” The Lebanese ambassador then thanked all delegates in the name of Zahra, a12-year old girl from South Lebanon and Raed, a member of the Ban Advocates teampresent in Dublin and the father of a five-year old boy who was killed by a submunition. TheUnited Kingdom said, “Finally, and most importantly of all, this delegation would like to paytribute to the victims of cluster munitions; both those who have come here to Dublin andthose around the world whom they represent. What each and every one of them has done:to raise awareness; to make us all think; and now, together, to act, represents anoutstanding service to the citizens of the world. Their extraordinary courage, cheerfulnessand sheer human dignity can never be forgotten by any here who have had the privilege towitness it. It is they who have been our inspiration. It is they who have made this happen.”In a written message of the Secretary-General, the United Nations spoke of “a newinternational standard that will enhance the protection of civilians, strengthen human rightsand improve prospects for development.” He encouraged States “to sign and ratify thisimportant agreement without delay.”
Groundbreaking provisions on victim assistance
Under the leadership of Austria, the victim assistance provisions of the CCM grew indetail and strength as we got closer to the Dublin negotiations. In our May 2007 report
Circle of Impact
we had identified challenges for victim assistance; we also made a seriesof suggestions and established a number of principles, “which need to be addressed intreaty text.”
At the Wellington Conference (February 2008), many states described victimassistance as a “core obligation” of the future treaty and victim assistance provisions could
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, BruneiDarussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Republic of Congo,Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, DominicanRepublic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, HolySee, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYR), Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova,Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama,Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal,Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania,Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Zambia.
The Dublin Diplomatic Conference was attended by 127 States, including 20 observers: Colombia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece,Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Oman, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand,Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.
See also “A way forward to comprehensive victim assistance,” in Handicap International,
Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities
, Brussels, May 2007, pp.12-14.