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Dubrovnik conference on cluster munitions: States Parties reiterate the need to systematically condemn all uses of cluster munitions.

Explosive weapons

The First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dubrovnik, Croatia, ends tomorrow/today. The States Parties unanimously adopted a strong political declaration reiterating the need to systematically condemn all uses of cluster munitions. Over the last twelve months, these barbaric weapons have been used in five countries , a situation not previously seen since the treaty entered into force in 2010.

BLU 24 submunitions from a cluster bomb. Laos.

BLU 24 submunitions from a cluster bomb. Laos. | © Z. Johnson / Handicap International

Handicap International is delighted by the adoption, unanimously and by acclamation, of a declaration during the Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dubrovnik, which ends on Friday. This declaration, which calls on States Parties to condemn all new uses of cluster munitions, strengthens the treaty and underlines the determination of States Parties to make it an undisputable international standard.

“Several countries have displayed signs of weakness over the past year by only half-heartedly condemning the use of sub-munitions. The text adopted in Dubrovnik is therefore extremely encouraging. It reminds us that we need to take a zero tolerance approach to these barbaric weapons. Our observations in the field have shown just how dangerous they are for civilians, both in the short and long term,” explains Anne Héry, Head of Advocacy at Handicap International. According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2015 report, 92% of recorded victims of cluster munitions are civilians.

“The States Parties also demonstrated that they were firmly committed to the far-reaching action plan agreed for the next five years,” adds Anne Héry. “Its victim assistance component is particularly ambitious. The action plan details practical ways of improving access to services for survivors and affected families. Because victims often live in rural or isolated areas and rarely have access to basic medical or social services.”

Between 7th and 11th September, the Review Conference in Dubrovnik was attended by more than ninety delegations. The Oslo Convention, which bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions worldwide , has been ratified by 117 States. Colombia was the most recent State to ratify the treaty, becoming the 96th State Party.

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