19 October 2010
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary General Says Rapid Entry into Force of Cluster Munitions Treaty

Demonstrates ‘World’s Collective Revulsion’ at Impact of Such Weapons


Following are Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at an event to commemorate the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, in New York, 19 October:

It is a pleasure to join you for this event.

The United Nations Charter commits Member States to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

This means not only ending and preventing conflict, but mitigating the impact on civilians and the environment when armed conflict does erupt.

Creating a safer, more secure world, means working to eliminate indiscriminate and inaccurate means of warfare, such as chemical and nuclear weapons and landmines.

To this list, the world has rightly added cluster munitions.

Unreliable and inaccurate, cluster munitions impair post-conflict recovery by making roads and land inaccessible to farmers and humanitarian workers.

They maim and kill long after conflicts have ended.  The majority of casualties are civilians, including many children.

The entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 August of this year, just two years after the Convention’s adoption, demonstrates the world’s collective revulsion at the impact of such weapons.

I commend Member States for their decisive action and willingness to alter their security policies.

Let us also, ladies and gentlemen, recognize the invaluable contribution of civil society in making this Convention possible.  We are here today thanks in large part to their persistent and effective campaigning.

Let us also acknowledge the brave mine action workers, who risk their lives on a daily basis to make the land safer in Afghanistan and Sudan, in Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Laos, Kosovo, Lebanon, Eritrea and Ethiopia - indeed, wherever the repugnant remnants of war are taking life and limb.

Together, the United Nations system, the family of Red Cross organizations, civil society and Member States, are moving the world several steps closer to ridding the world of these unacceptable weapons.

I congratulate all Member States that have demonstrated their support for the Convention.  To date, 42 Member States have ratified the Convention and it has 108 signatories.  I call on those States that have yet to accede to the Convention, to do so without delay.

The first Meeting of States Parties to the Convention takes place in just three weeks.

I thank the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, represented today by Her Excellency Ms. Phommachanh, for hosting this important gathering.

I also thank the Government of Japan, which co-organized today’s event with Laos, the members of the Laos Support Group, and the Friends of the President-designate.

The meeting in Vientiane will bring together States parties, non-States parties, international organizations and civil society.  It will lay the foundation for the future of the Convention by drawing up a first action plan, and programme of work, for the treaty’s concrete implementation.

Let us ensure it is a success.

Let us continue building on the momentum by removing the threat of these weapons.  And let us work to assist survivors, care for damaged families, and educate all people living in affected areas — and especially girls and boys — about the risks they face.

I strongly encourage all States, including non-States parties, to attend.

The United Nations, for its part, stands ready to assist in the successful implementation of the new Convention, through substantive advice, secretarial support or even concrete assistance in the field.

In that spirit of partnership, I wish you a very successful meeting.

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For information media • not an official record