Intervention by Lord Elton on behalf of the Cluster Munition Coalition

Fourth Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, discussions on Article 13 (3) b (“endeavour clause”)

Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday 22 November 2011

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I speak on behalf of the Cluster Munition Coalition and as someone active during the Oslo process. I also speak as a member of the British parliament and as a grandfather.

‘Endeavour’ is a fine word, but to those states that have signed the Oslo Convention I would say: beware of any fine words added to this draft protocol. They are like paint on the side of a ship. They may hide the rust, but they don’t affect how she sails.

For as long as those endeavours fail – and they have failed for four years already – this draft protocol and anything drafted on the same lines, would actually legitimise the use of all cluster munitions made in the past 30 years until the end of the transition period; in the present version that would be 2023 even if every one could ratify tomorrow. By then some of those weapons would have been on the shelf for 40 years.

This forum has been using its best endeavours to get the universal ban that common humanity demands since 2007 and now, after four long years, it is struggling to get something less. It accepts, for instance, a failure rate of 1%. If that really was the failure rate in Lebanon, the result was to sow the soil of that unfortunate country with 40,000 live submunitions, waiting for the feet of a farmer, the hands of a child, the pram of a mother.

I am a grandfather, many of you in the room will become grandparents, many of you have children; can you really want to adopt something that would legitimise these weapons rather than signing up to a treaty that bans them entirely?

Thank you Mr. Chair.


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