Congratulations to Cuba!
Cuba has now acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CMC) a move which is politically and strategically important.
Cuba made a pledge to join the treaty in September 2015 and has now followed through to become a state party. Historically Cuba has been critical of the treaty and the Oslo process which led to its creation, so this move is significant in many ways. At the First Review Conference on the CCM, in Dubrovnik Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson, Cuba’s representative at the conference said that Cuba “strongly supports the prohibition and complete elimination of cluster munitions and condemns its use.”
Sadly, Human Rights Watch has documented recent use of cluster munition use in Syria and Yemen in 2016. Each new use emphasises the need for countries to join the convention, continuing to strengthen its reach and force all cluster munitions are eradicated and their use ended forever.
Cuba exerts a strong influence in the region, particularly in the Caribbean and so this accession, in addition to strengthening the treaty, sends an important message to its neighbours. Cuba’s decision acknowledges the indiscriminate nature of cluster munitions and the on-going threat they pose to civilians, many of them children, long after the conclusion of a war.
Cuba’s decision also shows the way in which the concerns of those countries still remaining outside the treaty can be addressed by working with other nations in a collaborative and mutually supportive manner. Cuba deposited their instruments of ratification on April 6 2016 and the treaty will come into force for Cuba on 1 October 2016.
SafeGround encourages Cuba to work towards universalisation of the CMC, particularly in the Caribbean and the Americas.