On Feb 16, 2010, the international campaign to ban cluster bombs achieved a historic victory. When Burkina Faso and Moldova ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the treaty reached the 30 ratifications necessary to enter into force. On August 1, 2010, the agreement to ban cluster munitions became binding international law. This milestone is a credit not only to the signatory governments that ratified the Convention, but especially to the civil society groups that have campaigned for decades to outlaw these indiscriminate and inhumane weapons.
The treaty victory is a powerful example of how sustained, impassioned campaigning can move governments to the side of international opinion. However, critical work remains to be done. In total, 111 countries have signed the treaty. Although 71 nations have now ratified it, there are still 40 signatories that have not ratified and need to be pressured by their citizens to do so. Just as importantly, some of the world’s biggest users of cluster bombs haven’t even signed on to the treaty, much less ratified it. It will take a concerted citizen’s campaign to pressure the United States, Russia, China, and Israel, among other countries that have used cluster bombs recently, to sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Watch our short film about the devastating consequences of these weapons, the landmark Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the work that remains to be done.
The film is also available on Vimeo.