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7 November 2006

By Maurice Weaver,2014-05-07 16:54
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7 November 2006

    7 November 2006

    Secretary-General

    SG/SM/10720

    DC/3049

     Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

    SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR LEGAL NORMS TO ELIMINATE HORRENDOUS

    HUMANITARIAN

    IMPACT OF CLUSTER MUNITIONS, IN MESSAGE TO GENEVA CONFERENCE

    Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the third Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, delivered by Sergei

    Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva, in Geneva, 7 November:

    I am pleased to send my greetings to all the participants in this third Review

    Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which seeks to ban or

    restrict the use of weapons that cause excessive injury or unnecessary suffering to

    combatants, or affect civilians indiscriminately.

    With 100 parties, the Convention is still short of universal membership. I welcome

    the steps you are about to take to promote more accessions, especially by developing and

    least developed States that are suffering from the effects of mines and explosive remnants

    of war. I am also encouraged to know that, during this session, you will continue your

    efforts to address the avoidable destruction of lives by mines other than anti-personnel

    mines. I urge you to articulate strong legal commitments that will reinforce the

    Convention’s humanitarian norms.

    As we are about to mark the entry into force of Protocol V on explosive

    remnants of war, I welcome your interest in addressing the disastrous impact of

    cluster munitions. I have repeatedly called upon States to comply fully with

    international humanitarian law. However, recent events show that the atrocious,

    inhumane effects of these weapons -- both at the time of their use and after conflict

    ends -- must be addressed immediately, so that civilian populations can start

    rebuilding their lives. I urge States parties to the Convention to make full use of this

    framework to devise effective norms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate the

    horrendous humanitarian and development impact of these weapons.

    In particular, I call on you to freeze the use of cluster munitions against military

    assets located in or near populated areas. At the same time, we should all remember that

    placing military assets in such areas is illegal under international humanitarian law. I also

    urge you to freeze the transfer of those cluster munitions that are known to be inaccurate

    and unreliable, and to dispose of them. And I challenge you to establish technical

    requirements for new weapons systems so that the risk they pose to civilian populations

    can be reduced.

    I am encouraged that progress is being made on an effective compliance and

    cooperation mechanism for the Convention and its Protocols. Completing other unfinished

    business, for example on laser weapons, would also show the world that States parties are

    taking their responsibilities seriously. Indeed, your work will continue to have a direct

    impact on the lives of millions of civilians currently in harm’s way. As the Convention faces these and other tests, I offer you my best wishes for the success of your deliberations.

     For information media • not an official record

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