‘Cluster Munitions Convention, tool for peace building’
By MIRIAM ZIMBA-
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Wylbur Simuusa has described the just ended Fourth Meeting for State Parties to the Cluster Munitions Convention (4MSP CMC) as an international tool for putting an end to the suffering caused by the indiscriminate weapons. Speaking at a Press conference at the closure of the Convention, Mr Simuusa, who is the new Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) president, said member states highlighted the broad rejection of cluster weapons by the majority of States. He said though Zambia did not produce or stockpile cluster munitions, the weapons were known to have been used on Zambian soil by neighbouring countries during the liberation struggle. He said the effects that the weapons had on civilians was what compelled Zambia to join 107 other countries at the CCM meeting in Dublin, Ireland in December 2008. He said Zambia was among the first 30 countries that ratified the Convention which became effective in August 2009. Mr Simuusa reiterated the Zambian government’s commitment to ensure support for survivors and families of landmine accidentsvictims. He said the parties to the Convention acknowledged assistance to survivors and their communities and families as a key component of the remedy caused by cluster munitions. In outlining some of the benefits of the country hosting the CCM meeting as well as assuming the presidency, the Minister said Zambia had over the years built an international reputation for herself as an important partner in peace-building both in the region and worldwide. CCM Board member Robert Mtonga called for more countries to sign and ratify the Convention to ensure 100 per cent destruction of stockpiles and zero new victims of cluster munitions’ accidents. The just ended meeting drew participation of over 500 delegates from 112 countries, among them government officials, representatives of civil society, international organisations and members of the public.