Some 30 countries taking part in a conference in Oslo this week, are being encouraged by activists and government officials to join a treaty banning the use of cluster munitions and help halt their harmful impact on civilians, the Cluster Munition Coalition(CMC) said.

More than 100 governments are at the summit in the Norwegian capital.

A total of 111 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was adopted in 2008 and entered into force in 2010, but superpowers Russia, China and the United States are among those that have not, Laura Cheeseman, the director of disarmament group CMC said.

The convention prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It also requires destruction of stockpiles, clearance of the weapons and victim assistance. Among the convention’s signatories, 75 countries are legally bound by its provisions, and ratification is underway in most of the remaining 36 countries.

“We’ve got half the world on board, but there are a number of countries that remain outside the ban,” Cheeseman told AlertNet from the conference. “There’s really no good reason for any of these countries not to come on board and to sign up to the convention.”

TAKING STOCK

The weapons consist of small bomblets that open and explode across a wide area when they are launched from the ground or dropped from the air.