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Country Reports


The Kingdom of Lesotho signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. The status of the ratification process is not known. Lesotho has stated that it does not use or produce cluster munitions.[1] It is not believed to have a stockpile.

Lesotho is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War. It has not participated in the CCW discussions on cluster munitions in recent years.

Lesotho did not attend the initial conference to launch the Oslo Process in February 2007, but did participate in all three of the subsequent international diplomatic conferences to develop the convention text in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008. It also participated in the regional conferences in Livingstone (March/April 2008) and Kampala (September 2008).

At the Lima conference, Lesotho said it was not affected by cluster munitions, but was present “to take this opportunity to…make the world a better place” through the creation of a legally binding international instrument on cluster munitions.[2] In Wellington, Lesotho urged states to “desist from the temptation to regulate the use of cluster munitions as that would mean deciding on an acceptable degree of civilian suffering.”[3] Lesotho endorsed the Wellington Declaration on 27 March 2008, indicating its intention to participate fully in the Dublin negotiations. At the Livingstone conference, Lesotho endorsed the Livingstone Declaration, calling for a comprehensive treaty with a prohibition that should be “total and immediate.”[4]

During the Dublin negotiations, Lesotho said it was “here to ban all cluster munitions” because “it is clear that all cluster munitions pose harm to civilians and are indiscriminate.”[5] Lesotho opposed the inclusion of a transition period before obligations took effect.[6] Lesotho stated that user states should be obliged to assist victims.[7] At the conclusion, Lesotho described the text as a balanced and groundbreaking framework and said while Lesotho desired different wording in some articles, it was ready to support the convention in its entirety “in the spirit of compromise.”[8]

At the Kampala regional conference in September 2008, Lesotho 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.”[9]

Upon signing, Lesotho noted that the convention had the strongest provisions for victim assistance to be found in international law. In this “age of unprecedented inter-connectedness,” it called on all states to sign the convention. [10]

[1] Statement of Lesotho, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 24 May 2007. Notes by CMC/WILPF.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Statement of Lesotho, Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 19 February 2008. Notes by CMC.

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

[5] Statement of Lesotho, Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, 21 May 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

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

[7] Summary Record of the Committee of the Whole, Second Session: 20 May 2008, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, CCM/CW/SR/2, 18 June 2008.

[8] Summary Record of the Committee of the Whole, Sixteenth Session: 28 May 2008, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, CCM/CW/SR/16, 18 June 2008.

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

[10] Statement of Lesotho, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 4 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action. Motloheloa Phooko, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, signed for Lesotho.