Minister Martin congratulates Cluster Munition Coalition on award of 25th Tipperary Peace Prize.
Speaking at the award ceremony in Tipperary on 1 May, Minister Martin praised the major contribution of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), representing some 300 NGOs around the world, to securing adoption in Dublin last May of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Convention bans the use of this appalling weapon which causes so many civilian casualties and has state-of-the-art provisions for helping victims and their families. Ireland was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention.
The Minister said the Cluster Munition Coalition had “offered us a model and a master class in how to run an effective campaign. Time and again, we have seen them combine passion for a just cause with the technical expertise and communications skills to rebut the stalling and alarmist arguments put forward by those reluctant to face up to realities.”
The Minister paid personal tribute to Branislav Kapetanovic, a Serbian deminer severely injured in the course of his work, who accepted the award on behalf of CMC, and his fellow Ban Advocates who bore witness to the impact of cluster munitions. “Their indomitable spirit has inspired us all and given us a standard and ever higher level of ambition in this process”, said the Minister.
The Minister also acknowledged the role of the Irish Defence Forces and development agencies in highlighting the devastating effect of these weapons through their eyewitness accounts.
Looking to the future, the Minister identified the challenge of securing early entry into force of the Convention, which requires thirty ratifications, and effective implementation of its detailed provisions. He looked forward to the Convention helping stigmatise the weapon, so that even States which do not become party to it will be inhibited from using this type of weapon.
1st May 2009