+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Landmine Monitor
Table of Contents
Country Reports
Download PDF of country response to Human Rights Watch letter.


The Republic of Guatemala signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. On 19 March 2009, Guatemala informed Human Rights Watch that, “According to national legal procedures, the first step in the ratification process is to engage in promoting discussion on the Convention among local institutions that work in related areas. Once finalized, the Executive Branch will send it to Congress for its consideration and approval.”[1] Later in March, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs informed the CMC representative in Guatemala that ratification documents had been prepared and the process was about to begin.[2]

Guatemala has stated that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.[3]

Guatemala attended the conference convened by Norway to launch the Oslo Process in February 2007 and endorsed the Oslo Declaration, committing states to conclude a new treaty in 2008. Subsequently, it actively participated in the international treaty preparatory conferences in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. Guatemala also attended the regional conferences in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Ecuador.

In Vienna, Guatemala stated that as a mine-affected country it “knows first-hand” the suffering that these types of weapons pose.[4] Guatemala called for more extensive language on victim assistance, including a broader definition of a victim.[5] In Wellington, Guatemala expressed its support for a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions without exceptions.[6] Guatemala also supported the proposed six-year deadline for destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions and opposed the retention of cluster munitions for training or research purposes.[7]

During the Dublin negotiations, Guatemala opposed efforts to dilute the treaty in any way, and in particular expressed opposition to a transition period in which states could still use cluster munitions and to a new provision on “interoperability” (joint military operations with states not party). It also proposed language to strengthen the victim assistance provisions.[8]

Guatemala is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 28 February 2008. At a CCW meeting in November 2008, Guatemala 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.[9]

In March 2009, in response to a question about possible national implementation measures, Guatemala stated, “According to past experience, we are considering to duplicate some of the measures that were taken with the Ottawa Convention [Mine Ban Treaty].”[10]

Also related to implementation, Guatemala said, “Even though the Convention is not explicit…Guatemala agrees that the transit of cluster munitions in the territory of the States Parties should not be permitted.” It also noted its opposition to the Convention’s provision on interoperability, and stated, “Guatemala would not participate in any military operation with States that use cluster munitions.”[11]

[1] Letter from the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the UN in Geneva, 136/ONU/09, 19 March 2009. The letter included an unofficial translation.

[2] Email from Serena Olgiati, Operations Officer, CMC, 27 March 2009.

[3] Letter from the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the UN in Geneva, 136/ONU/09, 19 March 2009.

[4] Statement of Guatemala, Vienna Conference on Cluster Munitions, 5 December 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[5] Vienna Conference, 6–7 December 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[6] Katherine Harrison, “Report on the Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 18–22 February 2008,” WILPF, March 2008, p. 19.

[7] Ibid, p. 28–29.

[8] Proposal by Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Zambia for the amendment of Article 5, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, CCM/70, 21 May 2008.

[9] Statement of Costa Rica, Fifth 2008 Session of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 5 November 2008.

[10] In particular it cited approval of the Decree No. 106-7 “Law on the Prohibition of Production, Purchase, Selling, Importation, Exportation, Transit, Use, Possession, and Transfer of Antipersonnel Land Mines and Antidetector Detonators or parts of these Devices.” Letter from the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the UN in Geneva, 136/ONU/09, 19 March 2009.

[11] Ibid.