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Minister welcomes entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), adopted at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference in May 2008, formally enters into force on 1 August, six months after the deposit of the thirtieth ratification. The provisions of the treaty are now legally binding on the thirty-seven States which have ratified the Convention. A further sixty-nine States have signed the CCM and many are close to ratification.

Minister Martin said:

“The entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin in May 2008 is a cause for great celebration. I am proud that Irish commitment has resulted in the comprehensive ban contained in the Convention and the far-reaching provisions on victim assistance and on clearance of cluster munitions. I am delighted that these are now legally binding. They have established a benchmark in international humanitarian law and set a major standard for the future. A new international norm has been established, stigmatising cluster munitions and ultimately making their use unthinkable.

Ireland will continue to take a leading role in this work. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic has kindly offered to host the first Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane in November 2010 and we are already working to support the Lao Government in its preparations for that meeting, including by providing an Irish member of staff for its support unit and a contribution of $500,000 to the Lao PDR Cluster Munitions Trust Fund. The Vientiane meeting must send a clear signal to the international community that implementation of the Convention will be pursued with the same energy and vigour that characterised its negotiation.”

The Minister also reiterated support for the work of civil society in achieving such progress in preventing the appalling humanitarian consequences of the use of cluster munitions. He noted that funding of €250,000 had been committed to the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), the umbrella NGO organisation, to support its work in 2010.

Note for the Editor

  • A cluster munition is a conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions, each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive sub-munitions. Many such submunitions fail to go off, causing continuing casualties long after conflicts have ended. Cluster munitions have been used since World War II, most extensively in Laos and Cambodia during the 1960s but also more recently in Lebanon and Iraq.
  • Ireland hosted the May 2008 Diplomatic Conference in Dublin, which adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and was one of the first four States to sign and ratify the Convention when it opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008.
  • The heart of the Convention is an immediate and unconditional ban on the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention or transfer of all cluster munitions which cause unacceptable harm to civilians. The Convention also sets new standards for assistance for victims/survivors.
  • The First Meeting of States Parties to the CCM will take place in Vientiane, Lao PDR, in November 2010. It will agree steps for future work to implement the treaty, including on victim assistance, clearance of cluster munitions and stockpile destruction. It will give impetus to efforts to achieve the widest possible adherence to the Convention. The meeting will also see a continuation of the partnership with civil society and international organisations which played a vital role in the establishment of the Convention in Dublin. In light of its role in adoption of the treaty, Ireland will chair the formal preparatory committee for the Vientiane meeting in Geneva in early September.
  • Ireland has a long association with Lao PDR, the most cluster munition-affected country in the world, in supporting clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance and we have provided over €4m for this purpose in the past five years. We are assisting the Lao Government in preparing for the Vientiane meeting, including by the secondment of an Irish national to support preparations. In addition, we have made a contribution of over €400,000 to the recently established Lao PDR Cluster Munitions Trust Fund.
  • Ireland has also taken a leading role in efforts to universalise (seek universal adherence) to the CCM through our diplomatic network and all other available channels.