Canadian Red Cross

Canadian Red Cross
Mines Action Canada

Mines Action Canada
Embajada de Mexico en Canada

Embajada de Mexico en Canada

November 05, 2007 09:00 ET

Civil Society Groups and Diplomatic Community Come Together for Global Day of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 5, 2007) - November 5th is the Global Day of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs where people from around the world will demonstrate to governments their global public concerns about the problem of cluster bombs and their severe, predictable and preventable humanitarian impacts on civilians. Cluster bombs, like landmines, take away the lives, limbs and land from some of the most vulnerable people in the world. The date also marks one month before the next meeting of countries engaged in the Oslo Process in Vienna from December 5-7th where discussions on a new treaty banning cluster munitions will be held.

To mark the occasion, Mines Action Canada, Canada's campaign to ban cluster bomb and landmines, will host an event tonight for the diplomatic community in partnership with the Embassies of Austria and Mexico - two members of the core group of countries driving the Oslo Process forward. The purpose of the event is for those countries and civil society groups already a part of the Oslo Process to reflect on the challenges that lie ahead to a new treaty and celebrate being a part of history in the making. For countries that currently remain outside of the Oslo Process, it will be an opportunity to be briefed on the latest developments on the road to a new treaty banning cluster bombs. The ambitious goal is to conclude the banning of these weapons by 2008. The Vienna Conference will be launched by a high-powered discussion forum on December 4th.

"The Oslo Process to negotiate a new treaty on cluster bombs was launched last February towards a new treaty by 2008. Just seven months later, over 80 countries are participating in the process including half of the producers and stockpilers of this weapon", said Austrian Ambassador Otto Ditz. "This extraordinary sign of support of the Oslo Process from countries with heavy investments in cluster bombs further adds weight to the need to take urgent action on cluster bombs."

The Canadian Red Cross is also actively campaigning to ban unreliable and inaccurate cluster bombs, participated in a joint press conference this morning with Mines Action Canada. "The Canadian Red Cross exists to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world. We exist to protect lives and ensure respect for the human being by promoting humanitarian law and values", said Mr. Paul Wharram, Interim Secretary General of the Canadian Red Cross. "The use of cluster munitions over the past 40 years, particularly when used against military objectives in populated areas which occurs more often then not in modern conflicts, is of great concern for us. Until a new treaty is adopted, we call on Canada and other governments to immediately end the use of these weapons and destroy existing stocks."

"There is no longer any question about whether a new cluster bomb treaty will be created. The question has become how good it will be", stated Mexican Ambassador Emilio Goicoechea. "A strong and effective treaty will be comprehensive and integrated in its approach. It will be humanitarian in nature and not just disarmament. It will not really be a treaty aimed at a weapon, but at protecting civilians and helping them cope with the consequences of war."

"The lesson we learned 10 years ago with the Ottawa Process to ban landmines is that a good, strong treaty will have a powerful effect even on those who do not join right away. It will set a new standard of behavior to which nearly every government will adhere", said Mr. Paul Hannon, Executive Director of Mines Action Canada. "We will likely see a similar situation with cluster bombs. Once the treaty is in place, few will want to endure the international condemnation that will accompany any use of cluster bombs."

Mines Action Canada (MAC), a coalition of Canadian non-governmental organizations, is an international leader working to eliminate the serious humanitarian, environmental and development consequences of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). For further information on events, clusters or the petition, visit our website at www.minesactioncanada.org.

The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 185 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

Contact Information

  • Mines Action Canada
    Janis Grychowski
    613-241-3777
    613-620-1653 (cell)
    or
    Canadian Red Cross
    Angela Hoyt
    613-740-1994
    613-222-6196 (cell)