Holy See Signs Cluster Munitions Convention

Reprinted from Vatican Information Service.

VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2008 (VIS) – Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States yesterday participated in a ceremony, held in Oslo, Norway, to sign a Convention prohibiting the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions, the text of which was approved on 30 May in Dublin, Ireland.

In his address, Archbishop Mamberti stated that “in order to send out a powerful political signal, the Holy See is ratifying this Convention on the same day as the signing. In the first place we wish to express to victims the human proximity of the Holy See and its institutions. We also wish to launch an appeal to States – especially to the producers, exporters and potential consumers of cluster munitions – to join the current signatories, so as to assure victims, and all countries gravely affected by these arms, that their message has been understood.

“Credible security is not only possible, but actually more effective, when it is based on co-operation, on trust and on a just international order”, while “order founded on the balance of power is fragile, unstable and a source of conflict”, the archbishop added.

The head of the Holy See delegation to the Oslo ceremony then indicated that “through contributions on everyone’s part, the house of peace is now stronger, yet perseverance and patience are indispensable for its consolidation”.

An English-language declaration accompanying Archbishop Mamberti’s speech states that “in ratifying the Convention … the Holy See desires to encourage the entire international community to be resolute in promoting effective disarmament and arms control negotiations and in strengthening international humanitarian law by reaffirming the pre-eminent and inherent value of human dignity, the centrality of the human person, and the ‘elementary considerations of humanity’, all of which are elements that constitute the basis of international humanitarian law.

“The Holy See considers the Convention on cluster munitions an important step in the protection of civilians during and after conflicts, from the indiscriminate effects of this inhumane type of weapon”, the text adds.

“The Holy See”, the document concludes, “considers the implementation of the Convention as a legal and humanitarian challenge for the near future. An effective implementation should be based on constructive co-operation of all governmental and non governmental actors and should reinforce the link between disarmament and development. This can be done by directing human and material resources towards development, justice and peace, which are the most effective means to promote international security and a peaceful international order”.

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