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ACTION ALERT: Cluster Bomb Ban Powers Ahead Despite US Absence


September 19, 2011
Trust.org & Human Rights Watch & Stop Cluster Bomb Munitions.org

The new international convention banning cluster bombs is already having a powerful impact. Despite the absence of the United States, Russia, China and other major powers, 110 countries have signed and ratified a treaty calling for a ban on these indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction. At the meeting in Beirut, Afghanistan added its name to the treaty, despite pressure from the US government.

http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/cluster-bomb-ban-powers-ahead-despite-us-absence

The United States Has USED, PRODUCED AND STOCKPILED cluster munitions.

The United States has not signed nor ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The United States stands apart from the majority of countries. Other countries that have refused to sign the treaty include Israel, Iran, Libya, Russia and China.

The United States has not participated in the Oslo Process meetings.

The United States did not participate in the Beirut Process meetings.


110 States Have Joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions

The Convention on Cluster Munitions was signed by 94 states when it opened for signature in Oslo, Norway on 3 December 2008. On 16 February 2010, only 15 months later, the 30th state ratified the Convention, triggering its entry into force on 1 August 2010. Now that the Convention has taken effect, States Parties are bound by all of its terms.

Since the Convention entered into force, it is no longer open for signature and states can no longer sign and then ratify. States must now become bound through the process of “accession” which has the same effect as ratification. Signatory states must still ratify the Convention now that it has entered into force. Each country that has signed to Convention must still ratify it in order to become a State Party bound by the Convention’s provisions.

For the 30 states that ratified and triggered the Convention’s entry into force, it also entered into force for those states nationally on the same day -- 1 August 2010 -- making them States Parties to the Convention. For all states that subsequently accede to or ratify the Convention, it enters into force on the first day of the sixth month after their ratification or accession.




Cluster Bomb Ban Powers Ahead Despite US Absence
Trust.org & Human Rights Watch

BERUIT (September 17, 2011) -- The new international convention banning cluster bombs is already having a powerful impact despite the absence of the United States and other major powers, Human Rights Watch said on September 17, 2011, as a diplomatic meeting of the convention concluded in Beirut, Lebanon.

"This week's meeting has shown how the cluster bomb ban is not only working, it is powering ahead in bringing more states on board and in destroying cluster munitions. The US and other nations should join them," said Steve Goose, director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch and co-chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). "Every cluster munition destroyed represents future lives saved."

The week-long Second Meeting of States Parties to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions concluded on September 16 in Lebanon, a country which remains seriously contaminated by cluster munitions. A total of 131 governments participated in the meeting, including 40 observer nations that have not yet joined the convention, an extraordinarily high number.

Participants adopted the Beirut Declaration, a commitment of support for the convention that strongly condemns the use of cluster munitions by any actor and states, "Together, we are compelled to do more for to accomplish our collective goal -- a world free of cluster munitions."

During the meeting, Swaziland joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, becoming the 110th nation and 63rd state party. Many signatories, including Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, and Mauritania, announced that their ratification of the convention is nearing completion. Delegates from non-signatory nations Malaysia, Gabon, Kiribati, Tajikistan, and newly independent South Sudan all indicated that they plan to accede to the convention.

Notable announcements at the meeting included Slovenia stating that it has finished destroying its stockpiled cluster munitions, making it the ninth state party to do so. The UK and Germany, both major stockpilers, announced that they each have destroyed more than 60 percent of their stockpiles.

"This extraordinarily rapid destruction of stockpiles just one year into the life of the convention demonstrates the strong commitment of governments to urgently tackle this issue," said Goose.

At the Lebanon meeting, states parties formally agreed to an offer by Norway to host the Third Meeting of States Parties in Oslo, from September 12 to 16, 2012.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions comprehensively prohibits cluster munitions and requires destruction of stockpiles within eight years, clearance of areas contaminated by cluster-munition remnants within 10 years, and assistance to victims of the weapon. Since the convention entered into force on August 1, 2010, becoming binding international law, states wishing to join may no longer sign, but must accede, a process that essentially combines signature and ratification.

Human Rights Watch is a founding member of the international Cluster Munition Coalition, the civil society campaign behind the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


Global Conference on Cluster Bomb Ban
Ends with Wven More States Pledging to Join the Treaty

Stop Cluster Bomb Munitions.org

BERUIT (September 16, 2011) -- The Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions ended in Beirut today with a strong international declaration to rid the world of cluster munitions. The 90 States Parties and signatories to the Convention at the meeting adopted the Beirut Declaration, which notes the lifesaving gains made already by the ban. It also strongly condemns the use of cluster munitions by any actor, anywhere.

“We acknowledge that the progress made since the First Meeting of States Parties and throughout the Oslo Process is the result of the successful partnership between States, international organizations and civil society,” the Declaration says. In closing the Declaration says: “Together, we are compelled to do more, for as long as people remain at risk, to accomplish our collective goal -- a world free of cluster munitions.”

Steve Goose, Chair of the CMC, said: “This meeting has made abundantly clear that this treaty is working. It is already making a real difference in alleviating the suffering caused by cluster munitions, and is preventing future harm.”

The conference in Beirut, capital of heavily cluster-munition-affected Lebanon, was attended by representatives from more than 120 states and hundreds of civil society campaigners from all over the world.

Amongst these were cluster bombs survivors, or families of people killed by this indiscriminate weapon, from Lao PDR, Vietnam, Serbia, Ethiopia, Lebanon, the United States and Iraq, amongst many other countries.

During the meeting countries announced promising progress they’ve made against their treaty obligations, or how they intend to become full States Parties to the Convention. Amongst the most significant announcements were:

* Swaziland’s accession to the Convention, becoming the 63rd State Party;

* Signatories Italy, Hungary, Gambia, Cameroon, Mauritania, Czech Republic, and South Africa confirming that steps they are taking to ratify the Convention should soon be complete;

* Slovenia has completed its stockpile destruction and major stockpilers the UK and Germany announced that they each have destroyed more than 60 percent of their stockpiles;

* The UK will exceed its 30 million GBP commitment to funding clearance of cluster munitions between 2010-2013, and Germany will provide 700,000 Euros to clearance in Lebanon in 2012;

In addition, it appears that those States Parties contaminated by cluster munitions should finish clearance operations before the treaty’s 10-year deadline, with the exception of Lao PDR, the most heavily-affected country in the world.

States also pledged to expand their victim assistance programs, although much more needs to be done. CMC cluster-munition survivors issued a Victim’s Declaration calling on governments to “move beyond words and take action.”

Representatives from 40 countries who have not yet joined the Convention came to the conference as observers. Delegates from Malaysia, Gabon, Kiribati, Tajikistan and newly independent South Sudan all indicated that they plan to accede to the Convention.


The United States Has USED, PRODUCED AND STOCKPILED cluster munitions.

The United States has not signed nor ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The United States stands apart from the majority of countries. Other countries that have refused to sign the treaty include Israel, Iran, Libya, Russia and China.

The United States has not participated in the Oslo Process meetings.

The United States did not participate in the Beirut Process meetings.

Take Action: Send a letter to the Foreign Minister.

THE LETTER
The template letter can be sent to countries that have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It should be addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who is ultimately responsible for taking a decision to sign the Convention.
Before sending the letter you just need to:

* Insert the name and address of your Minister for Foreign Affairs. You can find this on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

* Insert the date

* Add your name and signature at the end of the letter

* If you are writing on behalf of an organization you may want to put it on your organization’s letterhead
A separate letter urging states to ratify is available on the CMC website here: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/take-action/government/

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
[ADDRESS]
[DATE]


Dear Minister,

I am writing to urge you to sign the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.

This international treaty comprehensively prohibits cluster munitions, requires destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years and clearance of contaminated land within ten years, and recognizes the rights of individuals and communities affected by the weapon to receive assistance.

Since December 2008, a total of 106 governments have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions including stockpilers, former users and producers of the weapon, as well as affected countries from every region of the world.

As you are aware, this comprehensive international ban on cluster munitions is the most important humanitarian and disarmament treaty of the last decade. With full implementation the treaty will make a real difference to countless lives and livelihoods.

Every country wishing to prevent further suffering from the horrors of cluster munitions should join the ban now.

Yours sincerely,

[SIGNATURE]
[NAME]


SECOND MEETING OF STATES PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS
Host: Government of Lebanon and United Nations
Location: Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon
Official website:
http://clusterconvention.org/2msp

BEIRUT (September 12-16) -- The major milestone of 2011 is the Second Meeting of States Parties (2MSP), which is taking place in Beirut, Lebanon, from 12-16 September 2011. At this meeting, States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions are giving progress updates on implementing their treaty obligations and are taking key decisions on items including the structures to support the implementation and universalization of the Convention.

States that have not yet joined the Convention are also be present to give updates on steps they are taking towards joining. Meetings of States Parties will be held annually at least until the first Review Conference in 2015 -- five years after the Convention’s entry into force.

Lebanon offered to host the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and this decision was formally approved at the 1MSP in Vientiane. Holding the conference in an affected country provides another important opportunity to highlight the challenges facing countries that have suffered from cluster munition contamination, as well as to show that the problem can be solved through a collaborative effort with the necessary resources and focus.

Lebanon ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions in November 2010, and has been actively engaged from the very beginning of the diplomatic Oslo Process to negotiate the Convention.


Afghanistan Ratifies Cluster Bomb
Ban Despite US Pressure

Cluster Munition Coalition & YubaNet

BEIRUT (September 12, 2011) -- Afghanistan, which has witnessed the devastation cluster munitions cause, has become the 62nd state party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on the eve of an international conference on the ban.

The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), which is currently gathered in Beirut, Lebanon for the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention, warmly welcomed this news.

Steve Goose, Chair of the CMC, said: "We are delighted Afghanistan has joined the growing list of countries now legally bound to work together to stop the harm being done by this deadly, indiscriminate weapon."

Cluster munitions were used extensively by Soviet and United States forces in Afghanistan between 1979 and 2002, and at least 745 people have been injured by cluster munitions there since 1980. Between October 2001 and early 2002 alone, US aircraft dropped 1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056 submunitions in 232 strikes on locations throughout the country.

Afghan government officials and campaigners will be among delegates from around 120 countries attending the States Parties conference this week. From Tuesday 13 to Friday 16 September these delegates will be joined by more than 230 campaigners from 66 countries in Beirut -- capital of one of the countries most severely contaminated by cluster munitions.

"We're pleased that Afghanistan is now a State Party to the Convention and hope it will set an example to others by beginning their work to implement their obligations under the treaty straight away," said Sulaiman Safdar of Afghan Landmine Survivors Organisation (ALSO), a member of the CMC.

Afghanistan participated in several meetings of the Oslo Process that created the Convention but it did not attend the final negotiations in May 2008 in Dublin. However, Afghan representatives unexpectedly signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Signing Conference in Oslo in on December 3 2008.

In May 2011, US diplomatic cables released via Wikileaks showed that United States -- a known opponent of this international humanitarian process -- had been lobbying high level officials in President Karzai's government not to sign the Convention.

"As a country where cluster munitions have been used, and where conflict still plagues many people's daily lives, Afghanistan's pledge to implement this treaty is significant news," said Goose. "We now know that Afghanistan was under real pressure not to join this treaty, even though it will help Afghan communities who have been affected by this weapon. That Afghanistan has made this humanitarian commitment deserves praise," Goose said.

Afghanistan will formally become a State Party on 1 March 2012 after the waiting period mandated by the Convention.

"Thousands of people in Afghanistan are currently living with injuries from cluster munitions and other deadly remnants of war. This treaty really could save lives of Afghan civilians as not only Afghan forces but also foreign forces should never use or stockpile cluster munitions in the country again. The treaty is also vital as it obliges states to support victims of these weapons and ensures their human rights and welfare will now be protected under international law," Safdar added.

The CMC is urging governments, including Afghanistan, to come to Beirut this week with clear plans and timelines for how they will implement the 66-point action plan agreed on at the First Meeting of States Parties held in Lao PDR last November. This includes how they propose to destroy cluster munitions stockpiles, clear contaminated land, and assistance survivors.

The CMC hopes that those that have not yet joined the convention will come and report on positive steps they too are taking to rid the world of these weapons.

The Cluster Munition Coalition

For full details on the use and stockpile of cluster munitions in Afghanistan, and on cluster munition casualties, please visit the Country Profile on the Cluster Munition Monitor: http://www.the-monitor.org/cp/AF/2011

Cluster Munitions in the World

Cluster munitions have been used during armed conflict by 19 governments since the end of World War II. There have been two instances of new use of cluster munitions since the convention entered into force on 1 August 2010, both by states that have not joined the convention: Thailand and Libya.

At least 28 states and three not internationally recognized areas are believed to be contaminated by cluster munition remnants. The most severely contaminated are thought to be Lao PDR, Vietnam, Iraq, Cambodia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Western Sahara, Serbia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Sudan.

Cluster munitions have killed and injured many thousands of people around the world: casualties have been recorded in at least 30 countries. Those with the most casualties are Lao PDR, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. Almost all known cluster munition casualties have been civilians with the majority being men and boys. A significant proportion of casualties were children who unknowingly came across unexploded submunitions while playing.

Cluster munition victims, including people injured and family members of people killed, require long term assistance to adjust to living with a disability, psychological trauma, or the loss of a loved one who was often the primary wage earner.

In addition to the risk that unexploded submunitions pose to people's lives, they also cause fear and prevent development in contaminated communities. The Convention on Cluster Munitions includes legally binding obligations to assist cluster munition victims.

109 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, The Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia FYR, Madagascar , Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tomao and Principe, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Zambia. See www.stopclustermunitions.org/treatystatus for details.

Copyright YubaNet.com

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