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Convention on Cluster Munitions goes into effect

The Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force on 1 August 2010, requiring Member States that have ratified the treaty to dispose of their stockpiles of cluster bombs and eliminate their production. Thus far, 108 States have adopted the cluster bomb ban; of that number, 38 have ratified the treaty.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Cluster Munitions. Separate articles in the Convention concern assistance to victims, clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles.

In his statement on the entry-into-force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it "a major advance for the global disarmament and humanitarian agendas," and highlighted that this achievement shows the power of collaboration among governments, civil society and the United Nations "to change attitudes and policies on a threat faced by all humankind."

The Convention was adopted in Dublin by 107 States on 30 May 2008 and signed on 3 December the same year. The Convention became binding international law for the States Parties when it entered into force on 1 August 2010.

The Convention is a result of the Oslo-process, an open and time bound diplomatic process that included States, the Cluster Munition Coalition, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations. The process was launched when 46 States agreed to the February 2007 Oslo Declaration, committing them to:

"Conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument that prohibits the use and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians and secure adequate provision of care and rehabilitation to survivors and clearance of contaminated areas."

The way forward

The First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention will take place in Laos from 8 - 12 November 2010, where progress and action plans for further implementation of the Convention will be discussed. A field visit to areas affected by cluster munitions is planned for 7 or 8 November.

Future States Parties will accede to the Convention by submitting their ratifications to the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Read also: UN hails entry into force of global pact banning cluster munitions

Celebrations

The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), a global network of civil society organizations and cluster bomb survivors that, since 2003, has been working to eradicate cluster munitions, and to prevent further casualties and suffering from these weapons, celebrated that the Convention turned into binding law. In a press release, CMC spokesperson Branislav Kapetanovic said “What this treaty shows is that ordinary people, including cluster bomb survivors like me, can be a part of extraordinary changes that bring real improvements to people’s lives all over the world.”

For an overview of celebration events that took place around the world, click here.