Today, the Federal Council decided to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). The Convention imposes a comprehensive ban on the use, development, production, acquisition, transfer and storage of cluster munitions and prohibits all actions that support or promote such activities. The decision will now be presented to parliament.
When cluster munitions are used, there are large numbers of unexploded bombs, and this has serious humanitarian consequences. Unexploded bombs cause numerous deaths and injuries among the civilian population and members of military operations for many years after a conflict and seriously impede the reconstruction of a country.
The ratification of the agreement will go hand in hand with the revision of the war material act of 13 December 1996. This act will be complemented by a ban on cluster munitions. There will also be a ban on the financing of prohibited war material. Such material already includes nuclear weapons, biological and capital weapons and antipersonnel mines. Now cluster munitions will be added to the list.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions was approved by an international conference in Dublin on 30 May 2008. To date, 108 states have signed the agreement. 57 states have ratified the agreement, including Germany, France, Norway and the United Kingdom. The convention entered into force on the first of August 2010.
The Swiss Army possesses stocks of cluster munitions that are subject to the CCM ban. By ratifying the convention, Switzerland undertakes to destroy these stocks within eight years.
Switzerland is strongly committed to human security and to international humanitarian law. Throughout the world it spends about CHF 16 million on humanitarian mine clearance projects and on the removal of explosive remnants of war. One such project is in Laos, where 40 years after the war, 78 million unexploded bomblets still pose a threat to the civilian population.
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