UNITED NATIONS — The swift entry into force of a new international convention banning cluster bombs on Aug. 1 highlights "the world's collective revulsion at these abhorrent weapons," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.
Having the treaty become international law just over two years after its adoption also highlights "the power of collaboration among governments, civil society and the United Nations to change attitudes and policies on a threat faced by all humankind," he said in a statement.
"Such cooperation will be crucial as we seek now to implement the convention, including through assistance to victims," the UN chief said.
Cluster bomblets are packed by the hundreds into artillery shells, bombs or missiles, which scatter them over vast areas. Some fail to explode immediately and can lie dormant for years until they are disturbed, often by children attracted by their small size and bright colors. A bomblet can kill or maim someone within 10 to 50 yards (meters).
The convention prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for the destruction of stockpiles and clearance of contaminated land, and obliges states to support survivors and affected communities.