Country to host meeting on cluster bombs

Costa Rican officials are calling on other nations to stop using cluster munitions. Manuel González Sanz, Costa Rica’s foreign minister, said the nation stands opposed to these insidious weapons that will soon be subject to an international meeting.

“Before the grim aspect of production, possession, use, and transfer of cluster munitions and the failure to clean areas contaminated by these weapons, and the neglect on the individuals, families, and communities involved, no state dare violate the convention’s principles,” González said.

These words come as a precursor to the Fifth Meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which the country will host from Sept. 1 to 5 in San José. More than 800 delegates from around the world are promised to be in attendance. Costa Rica will act as the official chair of the convention for the remainder of this year and up until the next year’s convention meeting.

“We are now working to find more states to join this tool in guaranteeing success for one of the key elements of humanitarian disarmament,” González said.

The minister, President Luis Guillermo Solís, the Colegio de Periodistas and the Coalition against Cluster Munitions joined together to organize a workshop Monday called “Costa Rica in the Humanitarian Disarmament.” At the meeting, González decried the powerful weapons that he said directly conflict with international law and the rights of the international public.

“A lot of times this work falls on journalists to stigmatize the frequent use of these types of weapons,” the minister said. “We’ve been witnesses to their horrific and inhuman effects in recent conflicts in the last few years.”

According to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, cluster munitions have claimed more than 100,000 victims in 23 countries. First used in World War II, they have been widely deployed in Gaza, among other modern war zones. Cluster bombs commonly refer to any explosive launched via air or ground that ejects thousands of submunitions or bomblets that can cover the area of a football field or two.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions is an international treaty adopted in 2008 that denounces the use of cluster munitions and establishes efforts to give aid to survivors of cluster bomb-related attacks and their families. It further aims to clear up contaminated areas and offer risk education on the subject. Cluster bomb remnants that remain unexploded can kill innocent people passing by in these contaminated zones.

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