“The adoption of an international ban on cluster munitions is a historic event,” commented Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre. “This is a victory for international humanitarian law. We have achieved a strong and comprehensive instrument. The ban covers cluster munitions that have unacceptable humanitarian consequences, which in practice means that all the cluster munitions that have been used in warfare up to now will be prohibited,” he continued.
The Norwegian Government took the initiative for a ban on cluster munitions in the fall of 2006. The process started in Oslo in February 2007, when 46 states endorsed the Oslo Declaration, which sets out a commitment to develop an international instrument prohibiting cluster munitions that have unacceptable humanitarian consequences. More than 100 countries have since joined the process, in addition to the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other humanitarian organisations.
The negotiations, which took place in Dublin, culminated in a convention that was adopted to a standing ovation. It ensures a categorical ban on all use, stockpiling and production of cluster munitions with unacceptable humanitarian consequences. It also sets out requirements for the destruction of stockpiles within short timeframes and for the clearance of affected areas, as well as strong provisions on support for victims.
State Secretary Espen Barth Eide and the head of the Norwegian delegation, Steffen Kongstad, are clearly very pleased that the convention has been adopted. Photo: Werner Anderson/Cox
To be signed in Oslo
The convention will help to protect innocent victims from being killed and maimed by cluster munitions in the future. The next step in the Oslo process will be the signing of the convention in Oslo on December 3, 2008.