The Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Cluster Munitions Convention started in Dublin 19 May, with over 900 participants. This is the final conference in the Cluster Munitions Process, also called the Oslo Process, which aims to complete a draft treaty by May 30 that will be signed in Oslo in December.
The cluster munitions process was launched in Oslo in February 2007 when 46 states, in the Oslo Declaration, committed themselves to “Conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument that prohibits the use and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians and secure adequate provision of care and rehabilitation to survivors and clearance of contaminated areas”.
As of May 6, 105 states had endorsed the Wellington Declaration of 22 February 2008, which is a requirement to be a part of the negotiations in Dublin. The United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other actors from Civil Society are also playing an important part in these negotiations.
Unacceptable Harm to Civilians
Cluster munitions injure and kill civilians all over the world, both during and after wars. This process, initiated by Norway, aims at securing an international ban on cluster munitions that have unacceptable humanitarian consequences.
“The Norwegian delegation to the Dublin Conference has a clear objective: Together with the representatives of other states, international and non-governmental organisations we shall put all our efforts into producing a strong and comprehensive treaty that establishes a complete ban on cluster munitions causing unacceptable harm to civilians, provides adequate support to victims and effectively prevents proliferation of such munitions,” State Secretary Espen Barth Eide, Ministry of Defence, said in the Norwegian opening statement at the Dublin Conference.
The Norwegian delegation in Dublin is working for a strong and comprehensive agreement, based on the following principles:
- The agreement must lead to an unconditional ban on all cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.
- The agreement must ensure support for victims and clearing of affected areas based on effective international cooperation.
- And finally; the agreement must prevent proliferation of existing cluster munitions through a controlled destruction of storage by a specified deadline.
In addition, Norway is working to ensure that as many states as possible will sign the agreement and that there is a broad international recognition of the fact that cluster munitions is a major humanitarian problem.