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UN agency welcomes entry into force of cluster munitions convention

By UN

17 February - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today added its voice to UN plaudits for the news that the international convention banning the manufacture, use and stockpiling of cluster munitions will become law from the start of August.

Thirty countries have now ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions after Burkina Faso and Moldova did so yesterday, setting off the trigger for its entry into force on 1 August.

Jordan Ryan, the Director of UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, congratulated the Member States that have ratified the pact, a day after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the move.

“The broad partnership and expeditious commitment evident in this process clearly signals the relevance of this instrument, and the urgent need to realize its provisions on the ground,” he said.

First used in the Second World War, cluster munitions contain dozens of smaller explosives designed to disperse over an area the size of several football fields, but often fail to detonate upon impact, creating large de facto minefields. They are also notoriously inaccurate.

The failure rate makes these weapons particularly dangerous for civilians, who continue to be maimed or killed for years after conflicts end. Some 98 per cent of victims are civilians and cluster bombs have claimed over 10,000 civilian lives, 40 per cent of whom are children.

Recovery from conflict is also hampered because the munitions place roads and lands off-limits to farmers and aid workers.