18 March 2009 The pace of the ratification of a global pact outlawing cluster bombs must be accelerated to relegate the deadly weapons “to the pages of history,” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today.
Addressing an event at UN Headquarters in New York to encourage countries to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions, she said the treaty will help to address the humanitarian, socio-economic and environmental damaged caused by the devices.
“We must step up our efforts so women, men and children can walk free of the terrible injuries these munitions inflict,” Ms. Migiro said.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) signed onto the Convention today, joining 95 other nations, while Laos ratified the pact, bringing the total number of ratifications to five.
Thirty ratifications are required for the Convention – which opened for signature in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, last December – to enter into force.
The pact is the “first instrument of international humanitarian law to address, in a clear and straightforward manner, the needs and rights of victims of a specific weapon,” the Deputy Secretary-General said, adding that it also emphasizes the key role of partnerships between the UN system and other organizations.
The UN Mine Action Team will endeavour this year to help remove and destroy cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, assisting victims in countries such as Cambodia, Chad, Laos and Zambia.
“We need to remove the need for such action,” Ms. Migiro stated. “We need to consign cluster munitions to the pages of history.”
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