August 1st annually, marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) members from around the world are today celebrating five years of the Convention on Cluster Munitions’ life-saving achievements and calling on countries who have not done so already, to join the global ban immediately.A line up of events for the celebration in upcoming weeks includes advocacy visits and lobbying of all stakeholders. The objective is to raise awareness of the devastation caused by cluster bombs and urge all governments to join the global cluster bomb ban and also help survivors of cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.

Today, WANEP-The Gambia joins hundreds of others worldwide to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. On this global day of action, members of the Cluster Munitions Coalition, a global network of member organisations in more than 100 countries, will engage government and public support to tell the world ‘We can Stop Cluster Bombs’ and generate support for this lifesaving ban.

WANEP –The Gambia is a non-governmental organisation established in August 2003 and working in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict prevention. The Network comprises of about 20 local organisations spread across the country and with a focal point in every region. Such platform undoubtedly provides leverages for wider promotion of a culture of peace for sustainable development.

Cluster bombs are indiscriminate, unreliable weapons, which cause devastating harm to civilians when they are used. For this reason they have been banned under international law. They have killed and injured thousands of civilians during their history of use and continue to do so today. Cluster bombs cause widespread harm on impact and yet remain dangerous, killing and injuring civilians long after a conflict has ended. One third of all recorded cluster munitions casualties are children. 60% of cluster bomb casualties are injured while undertaking their normal activities. Air-dropped or ground – launched, they cause major humanitarian problem and risk to civilians. Their widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military and civilians especially when the weapons are used in near populated areas.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires countries to clear affected areas within 10 years and destroy stockpiles of the weapon within eight. The Convention includes groundbreaking provisions requiring assistance to victims and affected communities. Signed in Oslo in December 2008, the Convention entered into force as binding international law on 1st August 2010 and is the most significant international disarmament treaty since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.

As we join the rest of the world to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the coming into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), WANEP-The Gambia implores the government and citizen of the Gambia to remember victims of cluster bombs especially innocent children who would have been productive assets to their countries.