Treaty To Become Binding International Law on 1 August 2010
The international treaty banning cluster munitions has received its 30th ratification, meaning that it will become binding international law six months from now, said the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition (ANZCMC) today. Burkina Faso and Moldova both ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, 16 February New York time [NZ time – Wednesday morning, 17 February], triggering an entry into force date of August 1, 2010.
“The swift pace at which the Convention on Cluster Munitions reached its 30th ratification reflects the strong desire of both governments and civil society to never see this weapon used again,” said Mary Wareham, ANZCMC coordinator. “We’re thrilled that New Zealand is among the first 30 nations to complete ratification of this crucial international treaty.”
The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions comprehensively prohibits cluster munitions, provides strict deadlines for clearance of affected areas and destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions, and requires assistance to victims of the weapon. Opened for signature in December 2008, it has taken fifteen months for the convention to attain the thirty ratifications necessary for it to become binding international law six months from now. Burkina Faso and Moldova deposited their instruments of ratification with the United Nations in New York on 16 February 2010, respectively becoming the 29th and 30th signatories to ratify, and triggering an entry into force date of 1 August 2010.
The 30 states to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions includes leaders of the “Oslo Process” diplomatic initiative that created the Convention (Norway, Austria, Holy See, Ireland, Mexico, and New Zealand), countries where cluster munitions have been used (Albania, Croatia, Lao PDR, Sierra Leone, and Zambia), stockpilers of cluster munitions (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Moldova, and Slovenia), as well as Spain, the first signatory country to complete destruction of its stockpile. Other ratifying states are: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Luxembourg, Macedonia FYR, Malawi, Malta, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Niger, San Marino, and Uruguay.
New Zealand became the 25th state to ratify the convention on 22 December 2009, shortly after the New Zealand parliament unanimously passed comprehensive legislation to implement the treaty. The Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act of 2009 was signed into law on 17 December 2009.
New Zealand was the first Pacific nation to complete ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, Palau and Samoa signed the Convention, but have not yet ratified while five other Pacific states participated in the Oslo Process, but have not signed the agreement (Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu).
New Zealand was a member of the seven-nation ‘Core Group’ that took responsibility for the Oslo Process, the unconventional diplomatic initiative conducted outside of traditional diplomatic fora, which resulted in the successful adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In February 2008, New Zealand hosted a pivotal meeting of the Oslo Process in Wellington attended by 106 governments and more than 140 civil society representatives. During the Dublin negotiations of the treaty, New Zealand Ambassador Don MacKay played a key role in securing diplomatic support for a comprehensive definition of the weapon.
The ANZCMC is a network of 23 non-government organisations (including Christian World Service) and a member of the international Cluster Munition Coalition.
For more information, see:
• ANZCMC Review of the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act of 2009 – http://www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/anzcmc_review_cmbill_22dec09.pdf
• Text of the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act of 2009 – http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2009/0068/latest/DLM2171615.html
17 February 2010