UN Meeting Under Way on Setting Date for Cluster Bomb Ban

The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits all use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of these devices, and took effect Aug. 1, 2010. To date, 119 states have joined the Convention. The Sept. 5-7 meeting aims to set a target date to achieve that.

A meeting is taking place this week in Geneva, Switzerland, of State Parties to the United Nations-backed pact that would ban cluster bombs in order to set a target date to achieve that goal. Such munitions kill large numbers of civilians in areas where armed conflicts have taken place.

"It is our hope that within the next couple of days, the States Parties can adopt or come closer to adopting a target date for completion of cluster munitions clearance and stockpile destruction," Henk Cor van der Kwast of the Netherlands, who is the president of the Sixth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, said Sept. 5. The meeting continues through Sept. 7.

The Convention prohibits all use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of these devices, and took effect Aug. 1, 2010. To date, 119 states have joined the Convention. "The Convention on Cluster Munitions is young but has achieved a great deal in this short period of time. Stigmatization of this weapon is growing; more and more states outside the Convention recognize its inhumane nature. Nevertheless, much more needs to be done for a universal adoption of the Convention,” said van der Kwast.

At the First Review Conference of the Convention held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in September 2015, the State Parties adopted the Dubrovnik Action Plan, which lists steps to implement the Convention during 2015-2020. The plan seeks to increase adherence to the treaty and help countries develop resourced plans for destroying stocks, clearing contaminated lands, providing risk-reduction education, and strengthening national capacity for victim assistance.

"During these three days, we will pay great attention to the updates that will be presented by the States Parties as they review progress achieved over the past year and discuss challenges encountered in implementing the Convention," van der Kwast explained.

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