ICRC urges action to eliminate cluster munitions

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Geneva/Beirut (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on the States party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, at their second meeting in Beirut (11 – 16 September 2011), to rapidly implement their time-bound commitments in the fields of clearance and stockpile destruction, to ensure measurable progress in victim assistance and promote adherence to the Convention by all States. "The trends identified over the last 10 months are encouraging: they show that nearly 65 million submunitions have already been destroyed as a direct result of the Convention, and clearance is progressing," said Christine Beerli, the vice-president of the ICRC, at the meeting which ends today in Lebanon, one of the countries most heavily affected by these weapons which inflict long-term suffering on civilians.

Since the first meeting of the States Parties, which took place in Laos last year, substantial new commitments have been made to help severely affected States and to address the needs of other States Parties. The combined effect of the meetings in Laos and Lebanon will be to ensure that progress achieved in destroying stockpiles, clearing munitions and providing assistance for victims is reported, monitored and supported each year.

"The past 10 months have also witnessed a steady increase in the number of States party to the Convention – up from 46 to 63. States Parties and Signatories have made a political choice by joining the Convention," said Ms Beerli. "Our task now is to move from political vision to practical action in order to rid the world of these weapons, which cause unacceptable harm to civilians."

The Cluster Munitions Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010. A total of 109 States signed the Convention when it was opened for signature in 2009, and 63* have subsequently ratified it.

For further information, please contact:

Samar El Kadi, ICRC Beirut, tel: + 961 70 153 928 (who can arrange interviews in Lebanon with Louis Maresca, ICRC Legal Advisor)
Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02