The Convention on Cluster Munitions enters into force on 1 August 2010. In this connection Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement today (31 July):
“I am very pleased that, following the latest ratifications, the Convention on Cluster Munitions will enter into force tomorrow.
This is a milestone on the way to a global ban on these cruel weapons and an undeniable sign that progress in disarmament is possible. Success in this area gives us encouragement to continue working resolutely to achieve progress in other areas of disarmament as well.
I call upon the countries that have held back to date to endorse the ban on cluster munitions as soon as possible.”
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 Convention prohibits the use, development, production and stockpiling as well as the import and export of cluster munitions. It requires all stockpiles to be destroyed. Victim assistance is to be improved and affected countries are to be given greater support.
For years Germany has strongly supported the goal of a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions and has played an important role in the diplomatic efforts to achieve this. Germany began destroying its cluster munitions in 2001 and in 2009 it ratified the Convention and transposed it into national law.
The Convention is now entering into force, six months after the 30th ratification was completed in February 2010. Of the 106 Signatories to date, 37 states have already ratified the Convention. The First Meeting of States Parties will take place in Laos in November 2010. Laos is one of the countries most seriously affected by cluster munitions.