In an orange grove in South Lebanon a deminer takes a short break before continuing his difficult and dangerous work. Submunitions may lie on the surface, be buried underground, or even hang tangled in the branches of trees.
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Photo: ICRC/Marko Kokic.In an orange grove in South Lebanon a deminer takes a short break before continuing his difficult and dangerous work. Submunitions may lie on the surface, be buried underground, or even hang tangled in the branches of trees. . Photo: ICRC/Marko Kokic

Convention on Cluster Munition enters into force

8/3/2010 // The date - August 1, 2010 - will forever be significant in the international humanitarian calendar. That’s when the Convention on Cluster Munition entered into force. Norway helped kick start the work on the Convention three years ago.

”That the Convention on Cluster Munition now enters into force is a milestone. It represents a significant enhancement of international humanitarian law. A norm has now been established that we believe makes it impossible to use cluster munitions,” said foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

“The Convention will make a difference in the field because it is an effective framework for clearing affected areas, securing help for survivors and destroying all cluster munitions in storage within clear time frames,” the foreign minister said.

To mark the occasion, the international coalition of humanitarian organisations, Cluster Munition Coalition, organised a world-wide event on August 1st called "Beat the Drum to Ban Cluster Bombs". Civil society the world over, including Norway, celebrated that the most important disarmament agreement in a decade has entered into force.

“Norway and the other states that have signed and ratified the Convention must now deliver on their commitments. On July 16, we completed the destruction of the last cluster munitions in the Norwegian arsenal. Norway is now free for cluster munitions – and we will continue to work so that the rest of world can be the same,” says foreign minister Støre.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions Cluster munitions kill and maim people both during attacks and long thereafter. Large amounts of cluster munitions fail to detonate only to explode many years later. This threat stops refugees from returning to affected areas, farmers from tilling the land and children from playing freely.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits the use, production, storage and proliferation of cluster munitions. 108 states have now signed the Convention. The Convention is legally binding for all States Parties, and strengthens the protection of civilians. The rapid progress from February 2007, when Norway initiated the process, to now when the Convention comes into force shows what strong support this work has internationally.

All states that are party to the Convention must destroy all cluster munitions in storage within eight years. Affected States Parties must within ten years secure and clear all areas where there are cluster munitions. All States Parties must make sure that the survivors get assistance, psychological support and the opportunity to be integrated socially and economically in to society. States that are able to do so must provide financial assistance to states that need it so that all States Parties can fulfil their commitments according to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


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