MONTREAL, April 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Following the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in
Mine Action, and in light of recent remarks made by Earl Turcotte,
Canada's former chief negotiator on disarmament issues, Handicap
International expresses its concerns over Canada's position regarding
the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
More than two years after signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions
(also known as the Oslo Treaty), after the government repeatedly
insisting on its intention to ratify it, and in light of concerns
raised by Mr. Earl Turcotte regarding Canada's stance, Handicap
International is concerned about how Canada will interpret key elements
of the treaty prohibiting the use, production, transfer and stockpiling
of cluster munitions. Mr. Turcotte declared in a recent interview that
Canada was leaning towards an interpretation of article 21 (Cf. in
regards to interoperability) that would enable the use of cluster
munitions during joint operations with non-signatory states.
Handicap International is calling on all signatory states to act on
their legal obligation to put the treaty into effect and to promote its
principles, notably in persuading non-signatory states to discontinue
the use of cluster munitions, as stipulated in article 2.1 of the
With the election campaign underway, Handicap International is asking
all political parties to take a firm stance on the issue and to work
with the future government so as to enable the ratification and the
faithful application of the Oslo Treaty, one in which the use of
cluster munitions is strictly banned.
"A Canadian interpretation of the treaty that would permit assistance to
other countries in the use of these indiscriminate and barbaric weapons
would be that much more inacceptable coming from Canada, once the world
leader in the fight against landmines", claims Christian Champigny,
Interim Director at Handicap International Canada before adding that
"Over 500,000 persons have survived the explosion of a landmine or an
explosive remnant of war (ERW). They need lifetime assistance, access
to healthcare, socio-economic reinsertion. Their families and
communities also need support".
Handicap International urges Canada to assume the same leadership role
with cluster munitions as it did with landmines.
About Handicap International: Handicap International is an independent international aid
organization working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict
and disaster. We work alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable
populations, taking action and raising awareness in order to respond to
their essential needs, improve their living conditions and promote
respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.
Handicap International is a co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize
and a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Since its beginnings in 1982, the organisation has gone on to work in
over 60 countries worldwide and our work has benefited several million
people in that time. For more information, please visit: www.handicap-international.ca
SOURCE HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL
For further information:
Khoudia Ndiaye, (514) 908 2813 ext.227; firstname.lastname@example.org