1 August 2017 marks the 7th entry into force anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Convention on Cluster Munitions opened for signature in 2008 and entered into force in 2010. To date 119 states have joined the convention, of which 102 are States Parties and the remaining 17 are signatories that have yet to ratify.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires countries to clear affected areas within 10 years and destroy stockpiles of the weapon within eight. The Convention includes groundbreaking provisions requiring assistance to victims and affected communities. Signed in Oslo in December 2008, the Convention entered into force as binding international law on 1st August 2010 and is the most significant international disarmament treaty since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.
Cluster bombs are indiscriminate, unreliable weapons, which cause devastating harm to civilians when they are used. For this reason, they have been banned under international law. They have killed and injured thousands of civilians during their history of use and continue to do so today. Cluster bombs cause widespread harm on impact and yet remain dangerous, killing and injuring civilians long after a conflict has ended. One third of all recorded cluster munitions casualties are children. 60% of cluster bomb casualties are injured while undertaking their normal activities. Air – dropped or ground – launched, they cause major humanitarian problem and risk to civilians. Their widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military and civilians especially when the weapons are used in near populated areas.
WANEP – The Gambia working closely with the government of the Gambia made headway in the ratification process of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
- On December 3, 2008, The Gambia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions
- A Technical Committee was set up comprising of WANEP – The Gambia, Government Ministries: Interior, Defence and Members of Parliament
- A cabinet paper was prepared by the Technical Committee and submitted to then Cabinet for discussion and approval
WANEP – The Gambia acknowledges the contribution and participation of the government of the Gambia in raising awareness on the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Cluster Bombs and applauds the Gambia for being one (1) of the 119 states that have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Similarly, the government of the Gambia in accordance to the provision of Article 16 (2), of the Mine Ban Treaty, ratified the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction on 23rdSeptember 2002 which came into effect on March 1st 2003.
The government of the Gambia in compliance with the Ottawa Convention, destroyed internationally banned weapons such as Anti-Personnel Mines in February, 2017. According to Gambia’s 2011 transparency report, the government retained 100 antipersonnel mines without fuses for training purposes in demining which is permitted by the Mine Ban Treaty.
WANEP – The Gambia therefore calls on the government of the Gambia to undertake assessment and studies to ascertain the quantities and types of weapons in the Gambia and to report publicly on the quantities and types of anti-personnel mines destroyed.
WANEP – The Gambia also calls on the government of the Gambia to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the conventional arms trade in line with the African Union Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the year 2020.