From 22 – 31. January 2013, the President of the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Ambassador Steffen Kongstad made a visit to Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam and Lao PDR. The purpose of the trip was to promote accession to the Convention by countries in Southeast Asia, and to learn more about efforts undertaken in the region to protect civilians from the dangers posed by cluster munitions.
Ambassador Kongstad commented: “South East Asia is the region most heavily affected by cluster munitions. Millions of unexploded submunitions continue to threaten the safety of civilians, and thousands are suffering from injuries caused by these unacceptable weapons. As President of the Third Meeting of States Parties I wanted to visit the region, and speak with government officials and affected communities about the merits of the Convention, and discuss how we can cooperate to ensure better protection of civilians.”
Of the countries visited, only Lao PDR is a State party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
“I believe that the Convention on Cluster Munitions has made a significant contribution to international humanitarian law, and to the protection of civilians, by banning a weapon that has a demonstrated record of being disproportionate and inaccurate, and by establishing strong provisions for international cooperation and assistance, including victim assistance. As President of the Third Meeting of States Parties I encourage all States not party to the Convention to ratify as soon as possible,” said Kongstad.
For pictures from the visit, check out the Convention on Cluster Munitions’ official Facebook page.