- Peace activist in Sri Lanka have pitched strongly for an early ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
- This move will not only provide solace to those who were traumatized by the decades-long war in Sri Lanka but also reassure people of the country that such a heinous practice will not be resorted to in future.
Convention on Cluster Munitions:
- The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by cluster munitions, through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action.
- Cluster munitions are bombs, rockets, and artillery shells that disperse small submunitions over broad areas and sometimes fail to explode initially, later injuring or killing noncombatants .Cluster munitions are thus categorized as an “area weapon” as opposed to a single warhead, which is a “unitary weapon.”
- It was adopted on 30 May 2008 in Dublin, Ireland and signed on 3-4 December 2008 in Oslo, Norway, the Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force on 01 August 2010.
- As of 16 June 2016, a total of 119 states have joined the Convention, as 100 States parties and 19 Signatories.
Obligations for states under this convention
- Each State Party undertakes never to:- use, stockpile, produce and transfer cluster munitions - assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party.
- Each State Party undertakes to destroy all stockpiled cluster munitions under its jurisdiction and control as soon as possible but not later than 8 years after the entry into force of the Treaty for that country.
- Each State Party must provide assistance to cluster munition victims in areas under its jurisdiction or control. This assistance covers: a) Data collection; b) Healthcare ; c) Physical rehabilitation ; d) Psychological support ; e) Social and economic inclusion ; f) National laws and policies on disability
- Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide assistance to any other State Party on the overall obligations of this Treaty.
- Each State Party must provide an annual report on its implementation of the Treaty, covering issues such as national implementation measures, quantity and type of weapons stockpiled and destruction of stockpile.
THE STATES HAVING SIGNED THE CONVENTION REPRESENT
- the majority of countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific
- most of the countries affected by cluster munitions
- the majority of the European Union member states
- most members of NATO
- one-third of countries having used cluster munitions
- 40% of countries producing these weapons
- half of countries that have exported them
- one-third of stockpiling countries
NON-SIGNATORY STATES TO THE CONVENTION REPRESENT
- the majority of countries in Asia, Middle East, Northern Africa and the Caribbean
- nearly two-third of countries having used cluster munitions
- two-thirds of stockpiling countries, the biggest stockpilers being the United States, China and the Russian Federation
- 17 countries suspected of still producing cluster munitions in 2009
- Half of exporting countries, of which the largest are the Russian Federation and the United States. However the United States has passed a law to forbid the export of most of their cluster munitions.
- Cluster munitions are unacceptable for two reasons. Firstly, they have wide area effects and are unable to distinguish between civilians and combatants. Secondly, the use of cluster munitions leave behind large numbers of dangerous unexploded ordnance. Such remnants kill and injure civilians, obstruct economic and social development, and have other severe consequences that persist for years and decades after use.
- However this treaty creates perverse incentives for insurgents to use civilian populations as human shields, undermines effective arms control efforts, inhibits nation-states’ ability to defend themselves