Press Releases

    28 November 2005

    Disarmament and Arms Control Processes Can Impact Human Security Positively, Secretary-General Tells Parties to Certain Conventional Weapons Convention

    NEW YORK, 25 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the annual meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, taking place in Geneva from 24 to 25 November:

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all the participants in this meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons.

    The CCW process has seen major developments since the 2001 Review Conference.  The scope of the Convention was expanded to cover internal armed conflicts.  And in 2003, the Convention was strengthened with the adoption of Protocol V, which aims to eradicate the daily threat that explosive remnants of war pose to civilian populations and to humanitarian personnel working in post-conflict situations.  Thirteen States Parties have now expressed their consent to be bound by this Protocol, and I call upon those States that have not yet done so, to ratify this instrument as soon as possible and help secure its entry into force.

    Let me turn now to a number of items on which your discussions are continuing.

    First, I am encouraged by the progress being made in your consideration of "mines other than anti-personnel mines".  I strongly encourage you to follow the successful example of Protocol V, and further strengthen the Convention.

    Second, I am pleased to note that you are examining ways to strengthen the implementation of international humanitarian law to address the humanitarian and development impact of submunitions.  The issue of cluster munitions continues to be a topic of particular importance in this regard.  These are estimated to be in the arsenals of more than 70 countries; they often claim the lives of civilians; and they impede socio-economic development long after conflict has ended.  Until these measures are agreed, I call upon all States to respect existing, applicable humanitarian law regarding the use of cluster munitions.  And I urge you to place the range of issues related to cluster munitions on your 2006 agenda.

    Finally, I hope you will also reach a common understanding on an effective, flexible and transparent compliance mechanism for the framework Convention and all its Protocols.  After all, implementing obligations is the most crucial obligation of a State Party.

    Experience with this Convention shows that progress is possible, that a legal instrument can evolve to respond appropriately to a new security situation and that multilateral disarmament and arms control processes can have a positive impact on human security.  I wish you every success as you continue this important work.

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