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The Republic of Ecuador signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. Ecuador announced during a special event to promote the convention at the UN in New York in March 2009 that it had begun its ratification process. It said that it expects that the new Congress to be elected in April will ensure a short ratification process.[1]

Ecuador has not used, produced, or stockpiled cluster munitions.[2] Ecuador is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War.

Ecuador did not attend the initial meeting of the Oslo Process in February 2007, but participated in all three subsequent international conferences to develop the convention text in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin.

Ecuador hosted a regional conference in November 2008, shortly before the Oslo signing conference, in order to promote signature and ratification in Latin America (see below). Earlier, it attended regional conferences in Costa Rica and Mexico.

At the Lima conference, Ecuador stated its support for a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions and for strong victim assistance measures.[3] At the Vienna conference, Ecuador called for a broad definition prohibiting all cluster munitions.[4] At the Wellington conference, Ecuador called for stronger language on social and economic inclusion for victims. It spoke out against inclusion of a transition period during which cluster munitions could still be used, against language on “interoperability” (joint military operations with states not party), and against retention of cluster munitions for training purposes.[5]

At the final negotiations in Dublin, Ecuador again supported taking a broader approach to assistance,[6] and opposed a transition period.[7] At the conclusion, Ecuador joined the consensus in adopting the convention.

At a CCW meeting in July 2008, Ecuador joined several Latin American countries in stating continued support for CCW work on cluster munitions in addition to the Oslo Process, but also insisted that a new CCW protocol on cluster munitions would have to prohibit the use of cluster munitions with the clear main objective of preventing harm to civilians.[8]

On 6–7 November 2008, Ecuador hosted the Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Quito. After Ecuador announced that it would sign the convention in Oslo the following month, most of the 20 states present made similar announcements or provided strong indications that they would also be signing.

At the meeting, Ecuador provided a detailed statement on its views on the main articles of the convention.[9] It urged other states to provide their views, and argued for vigilance to ensure that Article 21 (on interoperability) is never used to justify any derogation from the convention’s core prohibitions.[10]

At the CCW session in November 2008, Ecuador 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.[11]

Ambassador Emilio Izquierdo Miño, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs, signed the convention in Oslo on 3 December 2008 and described the convention as an historic feat that would serve to strengthen the existing body of international humanitarian law.[12]

[1] CMC, “Report on the Special Event on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, United Nations, New York, 18 March 2009.”

[2] Presentation by Ecuador, “Interpretive Statement,” Quito Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, 6 November 2008, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

[3] Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23–25 May 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF; WILPF, “Report from the Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23–25 May 2007,” May 2007, www.wilpf.int.ch.

[4] Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 5–7 December 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF; and CMC, “CMC Report on the Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions,” December 2007, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

[5] Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 18–22 February 2008. Notes by CMC; Katherine Harrison, “Report on the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 18–22 February 2008,” WILPF, March 2008, www.wilpf.int.ch.

[6] Proposal by Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mexico, Palau, and Uruguay for the Amendment of Article 2, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, CCM/71, 21 May 2008.

[7] Summary Record of the Committee of the Whole, Eighth Session: 23 May 2008, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, CCM/CW/SR/8, 18 June 2008.

[8] Third 2008 Session of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 7–25 July 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[9] Among its views: it would have preferred a ban on all cluster munitions without exceptions; the number of units retained for training should not be bigger than 1,000 and should reduce with time; the establishment of the principle of retroactivity is key; the definition of victim assistance is a pillar of the convention; international cooperation is fundamental; the spirit of Article 21 on interoperability is to promote universalization of the convention and the article should not be interpreted as suspending other obligations under the convention; transit of cluster munitions should also be prohibited. Presentation by Ecuador, “Interpretive Statement,” Quito Regional Conference, 6 November 2008, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

[10] Presentation by Ecuador, “Interpretive Statement,” Quito Regional Conference, 6 November 2008, www.stopclustermunitions.org; and CMC, “Quito Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” November 2008, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

[11] 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 GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 5 November 2008.

[12] Statement by Amb. Emilio Izquierdo Miño, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.