Disarmament Minister to attend Global Summit on Cluster Bombs

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Disarmament and Arms Control

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Hon Georgina te Heuheu will travel to Vientiane, Laos next week to lead the New Zealand delegation at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

"New Zealand is fully committed to the elimination of cluster munitions worldwide.  This meeting will be critical to the implementation of the Convention," Mrs te Heuheu said.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, development, production and stockpiling of cluster munitions.  Participants will work together at the First Meeting of States Parties to determine how the Convention can be effectively implemented.

A cluster bomb is usually a canister containing sub-munitions or bomblets that disperse over an area and are designed to explode on impact.  But many fail and become a serious hazard for people returning to their communities after a conflict has ceased.

"There are many places where cluster munitions have been deployed in times of war.  Laos is the worst affected.  New Zealand has provided Laos with assistance in clearing some of those devastating after-effects of war.

"The Convention is a major step forward in addressing the harm to civilians caused by use of these unreliable and dangerous weapons."

New Zealand played a leading role in negotiating the Convention, including hosting a crucial meeting in Wellington in February 2008.  The Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010 following the deposit of the requisite 30 ratifications.  New Zealand was the 25th State to ratify the Convention.  There are currently 43 States Parties to the Convention.

The meeting is scheduled to run between November 9-12.