Cluster munitions: ICRC hails convention as a major step forward
Statement by Peter Herby, head of the ICRC's arms unit, Dublin Conference on Cluster Munitions, Closing Ceremony, 30 May 2008
ICRC calls for a strong treaty
Statement by Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross at the opening ceremony of the Dublin Diplomatic Conference.
with the head of the ICRC's arms unit, Peter Herby TV News footage Film
Cluster munitions: time to act
Convention on cluster munitions (PDF - 79kb)
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In adopting this Convention you have put in place the last essential element in an international legal regime to address the effects of weapons that can’t stop killing. With the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War and the new Cluster Munitions Convention we now have the tools to prevent or remedy the often tragic consequences for civilians of all explosive munitions used in armed conflicts. We have also established a broader norm that those who engage in armed conflict can no longer just walk away from the long term consequences of the munitions they use and leave the burden to local communities, often in the poorest countries on earth, to deal with.
In a world in which so much seems to be beyond our control we have demonstrated that humanity, collectively, can summon the capacity, the will and the wisdom to eliminate a weapon which should not exist. It is sad that it took so long to get here. And clearly much more time, energy and resources will be needed to implement this new norm. But we have taken a momentous step forward.
As we stand at the beginning of new waves of technological development in such fields as biotechnology, chemistry and nanotechnology we urge States and civil society to constantly keep in mind the lessons from the sad history of cluster munitions. Some technologies should not exist. New technologies can provide great benefits for humanity. But making the choices which will prevent the awful human suffering we have witnessed from cluster munitions will require vigilance, a strong individual and public conscience and scrupulous respect for the principles and rules of international humanitarian law.