Following the latest ratifications by Burkina Faso and the Republic of Moldova, the Oslo Convention banning cluster munitions can enter into force on 1 August 2010. In this connection Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (17 February) issued the following statement:
“I am very pleased that now, with the latest ratifications, the Convention on Cluster Munitions can soon enter into force. This shows that progress on disarmament is feasible. It sends a positive signal with regard to the milestones coming up this year in the disarmament debate.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions imposes a worldwide ban on these cruel weapons. I call upon all countries that have held back to date to endorse the ban on cluster munitions without delay.”
Germany has spearheaded the campaign for an effective ban on cluster munitions. It began destroying its own cluster munitions stockpiles already in 2001. From the outset it played a key role in diplomatic efforts to negotiate a ban on cluster munitions.
Cluster munitions are especially dangerous because of their high dud rate and contamination of large areas of land. This puts particularly the civilian population at risk – not only when the munitions are deployed but also long after hostilities have ended.
The Convention prohibits not only the use but also the development, production, stockpiling, importation and exportation of cluster munitions. All stockpiles are to be destroyed. Victim assistance is to be improved and affected countries are to be given greater support.
The Convention was ratified by Germany and transposed into national law already in 2009.