Zambia: Implementing the ban on cluster munitions in southern Africa

17 June 2015

Lusaka, Zambia (ICRC) – Representatives from nine southern and central African countries are gathered in Lusaka for a two-day seminar, on 17 and 18 June; its aim is to promote adherence to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) amongst members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and to enable them to share best practices for passing domestic legislation to implement its provisions.

"African States have been at the forefront of the movement to strengthen this area of international humanitarian law," said Harry Kalaba, Zambia's Minister for Foreign Affairs. "This purpose of this gathering of SADC States is to ensure that we honour our responsibility to transform our binding international commitment to the CCM into enforceable domestic legislation."

"Making sure that as many States as possible in southern Africa join the treaty and take the measures necessary to penalize the use of cluster munitions, and to destroy their stocks of these weapons, is an important step forward in realizing the treaty's objectives," said Louis Maresca, a senior legal adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The CCM prohibits the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It requires countries to destroy their stockpiles of these weapons and to clear unexploded submunitions on their territory; and it requires other countries, if they can, to help them do so. It also establishes a framework for providing assistance to individual victims and their families and to the communities affected.

The seminar is hosted jointly by the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the ICRC. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be represented at the seminar. Representatives of civil society will be attending it as well.

For further information, please contact:
Tendayi Sengwe, ICRC Harare Regional Delegation, tel: +263 772240960 or +2634790268