+   *    +     +     
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 United Mexican States signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. On 11 March 2009, the Senate approved legislation to ratify the convention.[1] The ratification decree requires presidential signature before the ratification instrument can be officially deposited with the UN in New York.

Mexico “does not use, develop, produce, acquire, store, preserve, or transfer cluster munitions. Mexico has not engaged in the activities in the past.”[2]

Mexico is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but has not ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War.

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Mexico was one of the earliest and has remained one of the strongest supporters of a prohibition on cluster munitions. On 25 October 2006, Mexico and five other states proposed that the CCW’s Third Review Conference establish an open-ended Group of Governmental Experts to negotiate a legally-binding instrument that addresses the humanitarian concerns posed by cluster munitions.[3] When this was not accepted by other States Parties, Mexico and 24 other countries issued a joint declaration calling for an agreement that would prohibit the use of cluster munitions “within concentrations of civilians” and completely prohibit cluster munitions that “pose serious humanitarian hazards because they are for example unreliable and/or inaccurate.”[4]

Norway then announced that it would start an independent process outside the CCW to negotiate a treaty banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, and invited other governments to join. A voluntary “Core Group” of countries emerged to take responsibility for moving forward what became known as the Oslo Process, and Mexico was one of six initial countries in the Core Group.

Mexico participated in the international conference to launch the Oslo Process in February 2007, the three subsequent international conferences to develop the convention text in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin. It hosted a regional Oslo Process meeting , and also participated in the other regional meetings of the Oslo Process in Costa Rica and Ecuador.

During the first meeting in Oslo, Mexico forcefully stated its position that there is no such thing as a cluster munition which poses acceptable harm to civilians.[5] Throughout the Oslo Process, Mexico continued to express its support for a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions without exceptions, stating that nothing would justify the use of cluster munitions, not self-destruct mechanisms or other technical features of more modern munitions.[6]

During the Wellington conference, Mexico’s Ambassador Pablo Macedo co-chaired, together with New Zealand, the discussion on general obligations and scope of the proposed convention and also held informal consultations on definitions and transition periods.[7] Mexico strongly supported the proposed six-year deadline for destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions (and nothing longer) and opposed the retention of cluster munitions for training or research purposes.[8]

In Mexico City from 16–17 April 2008, a total of 23 states from the region participated in the Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean on Cluster Munitions. At the end of the conference, several states that were not present in Wellington endorsed the Wellington Declaration (thereby committing to participate fully in the Dublin negotiations), including Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela.

Mexico worked hard during the Dublin negotiations to ensure that the draft treaty text was not weakened through various proposals, including those related to the definitions, transition periods, and “interoperability” (joint military operations with states not party). When states finally reached agreement on the text, Mexico spoke on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean nations and highlighted what it viewed as the many positive elements, including the provisions on disarmament, victim assistance, international cooperation, the absence of transition periods, and the no reservations clause.[9] When the convention was formally adopted on 30 May 2008, Mexico spoke first, expressing its satisfaction with the outcome of the conference and describing the convention as a “milestone” in the development and codification of international humanitarian law.[10]

Mexico was among the most vocal critics of work in the CCW on cluster munitions in 2007 and 2008, being carried out parallel to the Oslo Process. In January 2008, Mexico cautioned that the CCW discussions were taking an “unbalanced approach which favors a military perspective and downplays the humanitarian side” of the issue.[11] Once the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted in May 2008, Mexico warned that the CCW work should not contravene the new treaty or weaken international humanitarian law.[12] At the CCW in November 2008, Mexico 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.[13]

Upon signing the convention in Oslo, Ambassador Macedo described the convention as proof that through political will and civil society support the international community can achieve results. [14]

In a March 2009 letter to Human Rights Watch, Mexico offered its interpretation of several provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Mexico believes that “both the transit and storage of cluster munitions is prohibited under any circumstances, unless these actions are performed for the purposes specifically stated in Article 3, paragraphs 6 and 7. This rule is also applicable in relations with States not Party to the Convention, as stated in Article 21.” It stated that “investment for the production of cluster munitions is also prohibited by the Convention.”[15]

With respect to Article 21 and the issue of interoperability, Mexico stated that “even when a State Party does not itself engage in prohibited activities during a joint military operation with States not Party to the Convention, deliberately providing assistance for the execution of prohibited activities is not allowed.”[16]

[1] “El Senado de la República aprobó la Convención sobre Municiones en Racimo” (“The Senate approves the Convention on Cluster Munitions”), Notimex (Mexico), 11 March 2009.

[2] Letter from Amb. Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 March 2009. Translation by the Embassy of Mexico to the United States, Washington DC.

[3] The proposal was put forward by Austria, the Holy See, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and Sweden, and formally supported by 20 other states. Proposal for a Mandate to Negotiate a Legally-Binding Instrument that Addresses the Humanitarian Concerns Posed by Cluster Munitions, CCW/CONF.III/WP.1, Geneva, 25 October 2006.

[4] Declaration on Cluster Munitions, Third Review Conference of the States Parties to the CCW, CCW/CONF.III/WP.18, Geneva, 17 November 2006.

[5] CMC, “Report: Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions,” February 2007, www.stopclustermunitions.org.

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

[7] Ibid, p. 21.

[8] Ibid, pp. 28–29.

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

[10] Summary Record of the Plenary and Closing Ceremony of the Conference, Fourth Session: 30 May 2008, Dublin Diplomatic Conference, CCM/SR/4, 18 June 2008.

[11] Statement of Mexico, First 2008 Session of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cluster Munitions, Geneva,18 January 2008. Notes by WILPF.

[12] Statement of Mexico, Third 2008 Session of the CCW GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva,7 July 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[13] 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.

[14] Statement by Amb. Pablo Macedo, Director General for the UN System, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[15] Letter from Amb. Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 March 2009. Translation by the Embassy of Mexico, Washington DC.

[16] Ibid.