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Convention on Cluster Munitions: ICRC welcomes signing of historic agreement

03-12-2008 News Release 08/225

Geneva (ICRC) – The opening for signature by States of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo today is an exceptional event.

The widespread use of cluster munitions over many decades has resulted in large numbers of civilian casualties and in the contamination of vast tracts of land. This historic agreement prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It also commits States to destroying their stockpiles, clearing contaminated areas, and helping victims.

Speaking at the Signing Conference in Oslo, Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: " The ICRC is honoured to have been part of this extraordinary process and this significant development of international humanitarian law. Yet we realise that the true measure of its achievement will be how the lives of people and communities affected change in the months and years to come. The historic process, of which the signing of this Convention is a part, will only end when the use of these weapons has ceased, when stockpiles are eliminated, when contaminated areas have been cleared and when victims have been helped to rebuild their lives. "

The ICRC has witnessed at first hand the terrible impact of cluster munitions on civilians. It strongly supports the adoption of the Convention and will work to promote its universalization and early entry into force.

For more information, please contact:
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 9302
  Full text of President Kellenberger's speech