New Zealanders can be proud of role played in cluster bomb ban

  • Georgina te Heuheu
Disarmament and Arms Control

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Georgina te Heuheu says New Zealanders should be proud of the role New Zealand played in the international banning of cluster bombs.

She was referring to the major breakthrough this week with the news that the Convention on Cluster Munitions which was signed in 2008 will enter into force on 1st August this year.  This is possible after Moldova became the 30th country to ratify the Convention.  New Zealand was the 25th country to ratify the Convention in December 2009.

"Cluster munitions are unreliable and dangerous weapons which cause major harm to civilians in war zones, not only during conflict but for many years after conflicts have ended," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"They maim and kill scores of civilians, including many children, and impair post-conflict recovery by making roads and land inaccessible to farmers and aid workers", she says.

"The New Zealand Defence Force has played a lead role in clearing live cluster bomb remnants in Lebanon so as a nation we come face to face with the effects of these terrible weapons."

The international convention bans the use, development, production and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

"This is an important moment in the global fight to ban cluster munitions.  New Zealand has always held a respected position in the disarmament area and we will work hard to maintain our reputation."

"New Zealand has been a strong advocate for this Convention.  We played a leading role in negotiating the Convention and hosted a crucial international meeting of over 100 countries in Wellington in February 2008, which saw significant breakthrough in progress," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"The ban on cluster bombs comes on top of New Zealand's leading role in the

international Treaty that banned the use of anti-personnel landmines and we will continue our lead role in ridding the planet of cluster munitions by working to ensure that this significant Convention is fully implemented," Mrs te Heuheu said.

I urge all States that have not already done so to sign and ratify the Convention as soon as possible," she says.

New Zealand will participate in the first meeting of States Parties to be held in Laos later this year.