Statement made on 03 December 2009 by Senator Elizabeth Hubley
Hon Elizabeth Hubley:
Honourable senators, on December 3, 2008, countries from around the world gathered in Oslo, Norway for the official signing of the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions. The culmination of 18 months' work between civil society groups and participating states, the treaty seeks to prohibit the use, transfer and production of cluster munitions, to require the destruction of existing stockpiles, and to provide adequate resources to assist survivors and clear contaminated areas.
Cluster munitions, like landmines, are an especially cruel, inhumane and indiscriminate form of weaponry. Cluster bombs are designed to inflict maximum damage over a wide area by dispersing a large number of sub-bombs. These sub-bombs are undirected and can often cover a square kilometre or more. Their use kills and maims civilians in much greater numbers than more conventional ordnances.
In addition to the immediate devastation they can cause on impact, cluster munitions leave an ongoing threat to the local population, much like landmines, in the form of unexploded components.
Although 103 states have now signed the convention, under international law 30 states must ratify it before it can come into force. To date, only 26 countries have ratified the convention. Canada is not one of them.
As we celebrate the first anniversary of the signing of this important treaty, it is my hope that Canada will continue to lead international efforts to clean up the deadly legacy of armed conflict left behind in countries across the globe by ratifying the convention in the near future.