Australia’s controversial ratification of cluster bomb ban treaty
In 2008 Australia signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (‘CCM’). This important international treaty bans cluster bombs, an indiscriminate class of weapon known to cause significant and long-lasting civilian harm. The CCM is the most significant international disarmament treaty negotiated since the landmine ban treaty in 1997.
Australia ratified the CCM in early October 2008 and passed local legislation on 21 August 2012. Rather than celebrating this outcome, a large number of respected civil society organisations (including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Australian Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, and the Cluster Munition Coalition) remain bitterly disappointed with the legislation which, they say, contains serious flaws that work against the entire purpose of the treaty.