Cluster-bomb ban to enter into force Aug 1

NEW YORK, Feb 18 : The UN said on Wednesday that a convention prohibiting the use of cluster munitions will become a binding international law when it enters into force Aug 1.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions will become effective because Burkina Faso and Moldova ratified it on Tuesday, which brought to 30 the total number of ratifications required to make it binding on the international community.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the entry into force of the convention, saying that it will advance the global disarmament agenda. He said the weapons are unreliable and inaccurate, and continue to harm civilians long after a conflict is over.

"It impairs post-conflict recovery by making roads and land inaccessible to farmers and air workers," he said.

A cluster bomb contains dozens of smaller explosives or bomblets. When dropped from the air, the bomb explodes and spreads the bomblets in mid-air to a vast area, causing injuries indiscriminately. Cluster munitions have been used in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

A total of 104 countries have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions since it was adopted in Oslo in December, 2008. Of the 104 signers, 30 countries have ratified. But the signers did not include major weapons manufacturing countries like China, Russia and the US.

The convention bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of the the weapon and requires countries to clear affected areas within 10 years and destroy stockpiles of the weapon within eight years after they were deployed. The convention calls for assistance to victims and affected communities.

The Convention of Cluster Munitions is the second most significant international disarmament treaty since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.
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