Aftermath of explosions in Sumy, Ukraine Aftermath of explosions in Sumy, Ukraine  (ANSA)

Holy See appeals for adhesion to Convention on Cluster Munitions

At the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions taking place in Geneva, the Holy See encourages nations to adopt the Convention that aims to prohibit all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

By Vatican News

The Delegation of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations offered a statement at the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions taking place in Geneva during a general exchange of views on 11 September 2023.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions is an international treaty of more than 100 states that prohibits all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions. The treat came into force on 1 August 2010.

The Holy See statement first notes appreciation for Iraq's commitment to the Convention and the preparations it made for the Geneva meeting, while also congratulating Nigeria and South Sudan for acceding to it. The statement notes that "any additional State Party to the Convention represents a renewed impulse to achieve universality, further ensuring that there will be fewer victims in the future and that those who already have tragically been affected can be properly assisted."

The Holy See representative then made an appeal for all States that are not yet party to the Convention to join others nations who have signed it and are fully adhering to it for the benefit of all. 

Inherent value of human dignity

The Holy See recalled the Convention's fundamental principles, especially the "unequivocal reaffirmation of the preeminent and inherent value of human dignity and the centrality of the human person." It also noted that the term "universalization" in the Convention is a legal obligation for those party to it as it "has direct implications and far-reaching consequences, in particular with relation to victims’ assistance, which is one of the main reasons why this Convention came into existence."

The Holy See than appealed to all parties to the conflict in Ukraine "to put an immediate end to the use of cluster munitions" and echoed Pope Francis' continuing appeals "to mobilize for peace in the war-torn Ukraine." Sincere dialogue and the application of international law, including international humanitarian law, help plant the seeds of peace, the statement underscores, as it can help overcome the deadly legacy cluster munitions represent "for the innocent people who suffer from the cruelty of conflict" and promote "integral human development, and the preservation of stability and peace."

Shared responsibility

Recalling how we are a family of nations, the Holy See statement then noted how the Convention's provisions and objectives focus on victims’ assistance and so become "a shared responsibility." The delay and failure of one State Party can mean a loss for everyone, it notes, while "the success of one is also the success of all." 

The Holy See Delegation also congratulated States Parties that are moving forward in the completion of the destruction of their stockpiles of munitions.

In conclusion, the Delegation noted Pope Francis' closeness to the victims of the many wars in our world, while expressing gratitude for States Parties to the Convention for their "commitment and generosity" in assisting the victims of cluster munitions with the sincere hope "we may continue with even greater vigor on this noble path in the defense of human dignity and life, as well as for the realization of the common good of all people."

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11 September 2023, 15:07