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NZ to sign Convention on Cluster Munitions

 

Hon Georgina te Heuheu

Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control

2 December 2008


Media statement

 
New Zealand to sign Convention on Cluster Munitions

 

New Zealand will be among the first countries to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions on December 3 in Norway, says Disarmament Minister Georgina te Heuheu.

“Unexploded cluster munitions continue to kill and injure innocent civilians in post-conflict zones around the world.

“The Convention will ban all cluster munitions that cause such devastating harm to civilians. It establishes a new benchmark in international law on assistance to victims, and sets out strong and clear provisions on destruction of stockpiles, clearance of cluster munition remnants, and international co-operation and assistance.

“It will make an important contribution to limit the civilian suffering that results from the use of cluster munitions in conflicts such as Lebanon in 2006, during the Vietnam War and in Bosnia and Iraq.

“New Zealand officials played a significant role in the negotiations which led to the Convention being endorsed by more than 100 countries at a conference in Dublin in May.

“I have asked New Zealand’s Disarmament Ambassador, Don MacKay, to sign the Convention on behalf of the Government at the signing ceremony in Oslo.

“Following New Zealand’s signature of the Convention, the Government will consider advice on steps toward ratification.”

A cluster munition comprises a canister containing multiple bomblets or sub-munitions which are spread over a large area to hit multiple targets. Because many cluster munitions fail to explode on impact, they remain a threat for many years after a conflict ends.

ENDS

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