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Country Reports


The Republic of Benin signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. The status of the ratification process is not known. Benin is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not joined Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War.

Benin is not believed to have ever used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.

Benin did not attend the first two Oslo Process diplomatic conferences in Oslo and Lima, but was a regular participant thereafter, including in the international conferences to develop the convention text in Vienna in December 2007 and Wellington in February 2008. At the Wellington conference, Benin stated that it was convinced that only a strong treaty could bring a sustainable and effective solution to the humanitarian problems caused by cluster munitions and called on countries using, producing, and stockpiling cluster munitions to join the Oslo Process.[1] At the African regional conference in Livingstone in March/April 2008, Benin endorsed the Livingstone Declaration, calling for a comprehensive treaty with a prohibition that should be “total and immediate.”[2]

During the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008, Benin advocated strongly for a “total ban” on cluster munitions, arguing the definition needed to be based on humanitarian principles and that technology could only lower the risk while still leaving potential for humanitarian harm.[3] Benin opposed any further exclusions from the definition.[4] Benin also argued against the inclusion of a transition period during which cluster munitions could still be used, citing the convention’s purpose as a humanitarian instrument as opposed to a limited arms control agreement.[5] On the adoption of the convention, Benin stated that despite certain concerns, it was pleased to support the unanimous adoption. Benin highlighted the provisions on victim assistance as a strong element of the convention.[6]

At the Kampala Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions in September 2008, Benin publicly announced that it would sign the convention in Oslo. It endorsed the the Kampala Action Plan, which declared that states should sign and “take all necessary measures to ratify the convention as soon as possible.”[7]

At a CCW meeting in November 2008, Benin was one of 26 states that issued a joint statement expressing their opposition to the weak draft text on a possible CCW Protocol on cluster munitions, indicating it was an unacceptable step back from the standards set by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[8]

At the Signing Conference in Oslo in December 2008, Benin’s Ambassador called on all states to sign the convention, to advance peace through law, and above all to fight for the universalization of the convention.[9]

[1] Statement of Benin, Closing Ceremony, Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 22 February 2008. Notes by CMC.

[2] Livingstone Declaration, Livingstone Conference on Cluster Munitions, 1 April 2008.

[3] Statement of Benin, Informal Discussions on Definitions, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, 20 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[4] Ibid, 22 May 2008. Benin raised concerns that the proposed criteria for increasing the reliability and accuracy of cluster munitions would become obsolete as technology improved, possibly making the treaty obsolete as well. Statement of Benin, Committee of the Whole on Article 2, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 26 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[5] Statement of Benin, Committee of the Whole, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 23 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[6] Statement of Benin, Committee of the Whole on the Adoption of the Convention, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, 28 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[7] CMC, “Report on the Kampala Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” 30 September 2008; and Kampala Action Plan, Kampala Conference, 30 September 2008.

[8] Statement delivered by Costa Rica on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Indonesia, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Uruguay, and Venezuela, Fifth 2008 Session of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 5 November 2008.

[9] Statement by Ambassador Theodore C. Loko, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 4 December 2008.