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German Government welcomes agreement on a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions and will renounce them with immediate effect

29.05.2008 - Press release

Joint statement by Federal Ministers Steinmeier and Jung

The draft convention on the immediate and comprehensive prohibition of cluster munitions, which will be formally adopted in Dublin tomorrow, is a milestone in the development of international humanitarian law. We consider this a victory in our longstanding campaign to outlaw this type of weapon, which has in the past brought unspeakable suffering to the civilian population.

Germany was a pioneer in the efforts to effectively ban cluster munitions and began destroying its own stockpile back in 2001. From the outset, we played a key role in the diplomatic efforts to introduce a ban at international level. The instrument that has now been drafted is based on German proposals in many key areas.

We will sign the Convention in Oslo at the beginning of December and will ratify it as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, we have decided today that Germany will now, with immediate effect, unilaterally renounce the use of all types of cluster munitions and will destroy its remaining stocks as fast as it can. This step is designed to send an unequivocal message: We want other states to follow our example and sign up to the ban without delay.

Background:

The aim of the Oslo Process, initiated by Norway in February 2007, is to encourage as many states as possible to sign this new convention on cluster munitions in Oslo in December 2008, so that it can enter into force once it has been ratified by 30 states.

The German Government has for years been a staunch supporter of a complete ban on cluster munitions. Because they spread over wide areas and have a high dud rate, cluster munitions are particularly dangerous for the civilian population – not only during military operations, but also long after hostilities have ceased.

The new agreement not only outlaws their use, but also their development, production and stockpiling, as well as their import and export. It stipulates that existing stocks of cluster munitions are to be destroyed, and support for the victims of past deployments and affected countries is to be increased.

Link to the website of the Dublin Conference on Cluster Munitions, where you can find the text of the convention:

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