Vienna, 30 July 2010 – “The entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions is an important milestone in international disarmament and a significant day for victims of cluster munitions worldwide,” stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, commenting on the entry into force of the international Convention on Cluster Munitions on 1 August 2010. The Convention prohibits the use, production, stockpiling as well as the import and export of this type of weapon, and contains revolutionary provisions as regards the support of victims. To date, 106 State Parties have signed, and 37 ratified, the Convention.
“This Convention constitutes one of the most advanced treaties of international humanitarian law. Austria was instrumental in its elaboration and has undertaken international efforts to convince others of its efficacy. This day constitutes the confirmation of our consistent commitment,” continued Spindelegger. At the beginning of 2008, Austria became the first state to introduce a total ban on the weapon at the national level, which obliges Austria to completely destroy its cluster munitions stockpile within three years. The first stocks were destroyed in February 2010, and the remaining ones shall be destroyed by the end of the year.
“It is now imperative to implement the Convention as swiftly as possible. Austria will make a substantial contribution to these efforts by continuing its focus on the support of victims. We shall ensure that due attention is paid to the support of victims,” affirmed the Foreign Minister. Together with Handicap International, Austria elaborated a survey on this subject and organised a conference of experts held in Vienna at the beginning of April 2010.
In view of the considerable obstacles still to be overcome by a universal cluster munitions ban, Spindelegger emphasised the excellent co-operation of all actors: “The elaboration of the Convention on Cluster Munitions was a very good example of constructive collaboration involving government, parliament and civil society, and this must continue in the implementation and universal application efforts. In this context the resolution adopted by the European Parliament at the beginning of July on the strengthening and extension of the Convention on Cluster Munitions is a positive signal,” concluded the Foreign Minister.
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