November 8th, 2007 01:36 EST
Calls for a treaty banning cluster munitions
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged States to tackle the terrible humanitarian, human rights and developmental effects of cluster munitions by concluding a legally binding instrument banning this particular type of weapon.
“The atrocious, inhumane impact of cluster munitions requires urgent action,” Mr. Ban told those gathered in Geneva for this year’s meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
In a message delivered by High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte, Mr. Ban drew attention to the fact that “the characteristics of these munitions, with their inherent inaccuracy and their frequent malfunctioning, make them particularly indiscriminate both at the time of use and long after conflicts have ended.”
He urged States to address the horrendous effects of these weapons by concluding a legally binding instrument prohibiting the “use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.”
Mr. Ban emphasized that such a legal instrument should require the destruction of current stockpiles of these munitions, and provide for clearance and risk mitigation activities, victim assistance, cooperation, and compliance and transparency measures.
Until such a treaty becomes a reality, he urged States to take domestic measures to immediately freeze the use and transfer of all cluster munitions.
Noting that the Conventional Weapons Convention is still short of universal membership, Mr. Ban expressed appreciation for the practical steps being taken to achieve wider adherence, especially among developing countries and States affected by mines and explosive remnants of war.
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