African countries reaffirm commitment to eradicate cluster munitions
African states commit to eradicate cluster munitions and end the suffering they cause by stepping up efforts to universalize the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions and to strengthen the norm against cluster munitions use by condemning all such use.
On 4-5 August 2016 the Africa Regional Workshop on the Universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions brought together Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe to discuss challenges and solutions to joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Participants of the workshop adopted the bold ‘Addis Ababa Commitment Paper on Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions’ reiterating their commitment to free Africa from the scourge of cluster munitions and strengthen the global norm against these weapons. By supporting the commitments made under the 2015 Dubrovnik Action Plan, the African states attending the workshop highlighted the importance of enhancing the norm against cluster munitions and the need to ‘condemn incidences of documented use of cluster munitions’.
The representatives of signatories to the Convention and non-signatories attending the workshop promised to accelerate the process of ratification or accession. Angola, Djibouti, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, The Gambia and Uganda, countries that have already signed the Convention, reported that they are working on ratification processes of these at least five promised to provide an update at the 6th Meeting of States Parties on actions towards this end [link to 6MSP page]. Non-signatories such as Ethiopia and Gabon have indicated that they will reinitiate the accession process soon.
The Cluster Munition Coalition and its members from Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia who were present at the meeting urged the African signatories and non-signatories to take concrete action on ratification and accession of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. States Parties to the Convention were encouraged to make concrete progress on their treaty obligations and towards the objectives of the Dubrovnik Action Plan.
Zambia, the Convention’s co-coordinator on universalization, along with Ecuador, strongly encouraged all African countries that have not joined the Convention to join as soon as possible. Representatives of States Parties to the Convention such as Ghana and Mauritania also called on African signatories and non-signatories to take action and ratify or accede as soon as possible.
African states attending the regional workshop on universalization of the Convention on Cluster Munitions demand the African Union and sub-regional bodies to take greater roles in helping African countries to adhere to and implement the Convention and eradicate cluster munitions.
Forty-three of 54 African countries have joined the Convention, demonstrating the continent’s strong commitment to a region free of cluster munitions. 14 African signatory-states have yet to ratify with only 10 African states yet to accede. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic cannot accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions due to its political status, but has expressed its support for the ban on cluster munitions. In 2015, the first United Nations General Assembly resolution (70/74) in support of the total ban on cluster munitions was supported by 139 countries. Forty-three African states, including eleven signatories and six non-signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions from the region voted in support of the resolution.