Third Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions
On the 31st of July 2013 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants (MOFAE) with the support of UNDP, organized an Iftar at the Crowne Plaza Hotel-Hamra on the occasion of the 3rd entry into of force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Cluster Munitions, and also includes separate articles concerning assistance to victims, clearance of contaminated areas, and international cooperation and assistance. The Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010.
Lebanon remains littered with hundreds of thousands of unexploded ordinance, including cluster munitions. These items continue to kill and maim people in Lebanon and hinder development and reconstruction efforts. In 2006 alone, 215 cluster sub-munitions casualties were registered, the majority of victims are under the age of 18 and approximately 36 percent of the land used for livelihood activities was contaminated. While clearance of some highly impacted communities and success in mine risk education has reduced the casualty toll by 75 per cent from 2000 to early 2006, the use of cluster munitions during the 2006 conflict increased the number of victims dramatically.
Lebanon is an active state member to the convention and has hosted in September 2011 the 2nd meeting of state parties to the convention on cluster munitions with the participation of 131 states and organizations.
To commemorate the 3rd anniversary of entry into force of the convention, the IFTAR was a great occasion where MOFAE advocated on universalization and regional adherence of the Arab countries to the convention and to attend the 4th meeting of state parties in Zambia this September 2013.
Ms. Habouba Aoun delivered a speech on behalf of the civil society representative to the convention on cluster munitions; she mentioned that “out Arab world in general and out region in particular are witnessing delicate circumstances. We would like in such circumstances to draw the attention to the necessity of commitment to the CCM” she added “we have had enough death and destruction, we do not want any more victims. We had enough pain, disability and death”
On the other hand, the Republic of Iraq shared their experience on cluster munitions, was congratulated for ratifying the convention in May 2013.H.E. Dr. Assad Al-Alousi stressed in his speech on the killing of innocent people due to the use of cluster munitions “The cluster munitions has led, for more than forty years, to the killing and dismembering of innocent people, causing intolerable pain, considerable losses and difficulties for thousands of human beings.” He added “according to the Handicap International, around 100,000 people (98%) of whom were civilians, have been killed or dismembered in a cluster bomb explosion around the world since the year 1965” Mr. Luca Renda, UNDP Country Director representing Mr. Robert Watkins UN resident coordinator stated that” around 15 million square meters are yet to be cleared by 2016. Strong partnership both locally and internationally must continue to drive our energies towards mobilization of all financial and human resources, needed for the clearance of the land as per the National Mine Action Strategy
Brigadier Imad Oudaimi spoke on behalf of the Lebanon Mine Action Center. Brigadier stressed in his statement on the cluster bomb contamination form a catastrophic problem for Lebanon, several lands are still planted with unexploded cluster bombs intensely compared to the size of the country
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Henry Castoun delivered a speech on behalf of H. E. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, he pointed out that “the ratification of the convention on cluster munitions, which made these munitions an internationally prohibited banned weapons has where Lebanon was one of the most notable contributors in ratifying this international convention” he added “ Lebanon is still in the lead of those who thrive for the adherence of the biggest number of states to this convention, especially in the Middle East region”
The event gathered representatives from Arab countries, Islamic countries, European countries and donors’ states as well as civil society and mine victims representatives