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Ban urges States to make full use of treaty on certain conventional weapons

Ban urges States to make full use of treaty on certain conventional weapons

Mortar rounds being collected which are slated for destruction
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged States parties to make full use of a global agreement on certain convention weapons that seeks to protect civilians from the effects of hostilities, in an address to a meeting taking place in Geneva ahead of the 25th anniversary of the treaty’s entry into force.

In a message delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Mr. Ban commended the efforts of States parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) for their efforts over the past 25 years “to make this major treaty an indispensable element of contemporary humanitarian, disarmament and arms control machinery, and to provide a forum to consider how best to protect civilians from the effects of hostilities.”

Also known as the “Inhumane Weapons Convention,” the purpose of the treaty is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately.

The structure of the CCW – a chapeau Convention and annexed Protocols – was adopted in this manner to ensure future flexibility.

The Convention itself contains only general provisions. All prohibitions or restrictions on the use of specific weapons or weapon systems are the object of the Protocols annexed to the Convention.

Among its many achievement, the Secretary-General cited Protocol V, which relates to explosive remnants of war, a deadly scourge that kills and maims long after the end of hostilities.

However, much more could be done to further address anti-vehicle mines, he noted, adding that the Convention also has the potential to respond to the humanitarian challenges posed by advancements in weapons technology.

“I urge you to make full use of the Convention’s unique and dynamic structure,” Mr. Ban stated, adding that he is closely following efforts to address the effects of inhumane weapons.

“I urge you to continue to be guided in your efforts by the fundamental humanitarian principles that make up the very basis of this Convention. This is the best way to secure its credibility and enhance its considerable humanitarian potential for the benefit of all victims of armed conflicts.”

The Secretary-General also noted the establishment of a compliance mechanism, and expressed strong support for the efforts to make the Convention universal, as well as to encourage wider adherence and participation among developing countries and States affected by mines and explosive remnants of war.

Currently 108 States are parties to the Convention with another six having signed but not yet ratified.