Friday, November 12, 2010

An unexploded U.S. submunition or

An unexploded U.S. submunition or "bombie" lies in place where it was detected by clearance teams during a Convention on Cluster Munitions field visit held during the first meeting, November 10 (c) HRW, 2010

The U.S. was not present at the historic first meeting of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Lao PDR this week.

The U.S. was invited to, but did not participate in the First Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions hosted by Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) in Vientiane on November 9-12. A total of 122 governments participated, including 34 observer states as well as representatives from UN agencies, the ICRC, and CMC. Hundreds of delegates engaged in field visits to see first-hand communities affected by cluster munition remnants and witness clearance efforts. 

At the meeting, governments adopted a 66-point Vientiane Action Plan and also issued declaration that said the Convention on Cluster Munitions “sets a new standard by which states will be judged. We believe the sea change in the opinion of governments around the world towards this weapon will continue.”

According to Cluster Munition Monitor 2010, a total of 108 countries have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions of which 40 have ratified. At least six countries have completed destruction of their stockpiled cluster munitions, while ten have enacted national legislation to implement and enforce the ban convention.