Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of a key instrument of international humanitarian law: the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW).
Forty years after its adoption, the CCW now has the support of 125 High Contracting Parties and has evolved considerably through additional protocols and amendments. It has proven to be an effective and dynamic instrument, with a structure that allows for the progressive development and codification of new rules of international humanitarian law in response to emerging challenges.
Since it was adopted, the Convention has strengthened the regulation of landmines and its scope of application has been expanded to cover non-international armed conflicts.
Rapid changes in the dynamics, intensity and technological advancement of conflict underscore the relevance of the Convention today. In the face of increasingly complex, prolonged and devastating conflicts, with lasting consequences on people’s lives and livelihoods, the CCW is an essential humanitarian arms control instrument to protect civilians from the harm caused by conventional weapons.
In this anniversary year, I urge the High Contracting Parties to the CCW to work together to keep up the momentum and pave the way for the Convention to remain a strong, agile instrument for the pursuit of disarmament that saves lives.