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Cluster munitions: ICRC regrets inadequate action by CCW States

13-11-2007 News Release 07/120

Geneva (ICRC) – States party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), ending their annual meeting today in Geneva, could only agree to begin negotiating a "proposal" in 2008 on how to address the growing humanitarian impact of cluster munitions.

" While the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appreciates the efforts made to launch a negotiating process, it firmly believes this does not go far enough in addressing the urgent problem of cluster munitions, " said Peter Herby, head of the ICRC's Arms Unit. " It is regrettable that the mandate adopted today does not reflect a collective commitment either to the adoption of a legally binding instrument or to the prohibition of those cluster munitions which have caused such a serious humanitarian problem. There is also no clear time frame for the completion of negotiations. " Mr Herby insisted that without clarity on such key issues, it was likely that the CCW process would become drawn out and fail to produce an effective solution to the problem.

The ICRC is convinced that the humanitarian problem caused by cluster munitions has the potential to become far worse than it is today. Given the need to prevent this, the ICRC will continue to promote the strongest possible protection of civilians from the effects of cluster munitions in a legally binding instrument of international humanitarian law. Until such a treaty is adopted, the ICRC reiterates its call to all States to immediately end the use of inaccurate and unreliable cluster munitions, to refrain from transferring them to anyone and to destroy existing stocks.

  For further information, please contact:
  Claudia McGoldrick, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 2063 or +41 79 217 3216