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Convention on Cluster Munitions

Published on November 22, 2011
Reply given by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (excerpts)

Paris, November 15, 2011

Thank you for mentioning this issue, which isn’t the top story in the media but which raises an extremely serious problem, because, as you said, these weapons cause unacceptable suffering, mainly among civilians and children.

You could have recalled that in 2007, France was among the states who, along with the NGOs, pushed for the adoption of a Convention on Cluster Munitions. It was France who, in May 2008, co-chaired the Dublin conference, which allowed the convention against these weapons to be opened for signature in Oslo on 3 December the same year. By ratifying the text as early as September 2009, our country became one of the first 30 states who signed it.

The convention was able to come into force on 1 August 2010, and it is now the benchmark humanitarian standard. But the process is far from complete, and what you didn’t point out was that this convention is implemented only by states possessing some 10% of the world’s cluster munitions stocks. Nothing at this stage suggests that the main countries who produce and possess these weapons could change their attitude in the near future.

The situation we’re in today is that 90% of stocks are still there, still ready to be used and even set to increase.

So what can we do to counter this situation?

Along with several of our partners, we’ve tried a new, swifter approach, proposing the adoption of a cluster munitions protocol to the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

For us, this protocol should be legally binding and complement the Oslo Convention. We want there to be an immediate and significant humanitarian impact. The text, currently being discussed in Geneva, would make it possible to at least triple the number of cluster munitions covered by the Oslo Convention. (…)./.

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