PRESIDENT Michael Sata has called on members of the Fourth Convention on Cluster Munitions (4MSP) to ratify Conventions against cluster munitions to effectively get rid of all forms of explosive weapons.
The cluster munitions initiative is a United Nations programme aimed at discouraging the use of explosive weapons that could be air-dropped or ground launched. Weapons also include small munitions commonly known as cluster bombs.
These munitions could remain unexploded and stay dormant for years and kill unsuspecting people especially in the bush.
Mr Sata, during the official opening of the three-day Convention at the Government Complex in Lusaka yesterday, said it was unfortunate that most people, especially women and children in various parts of the world, had continued to be victims of cluster munitions which had left them without limbs.
He said Zambia had not been spared by the cluster munitions, especially during the liberation struggle for Africa in the early 1970s.
“We still have people walking without limbs and today people have continued to be affected by ammunitions especially in the border areas,” he said.
The President said Zambia signed the Convention on cluster munitions in 2009 and had been participating in the agenda against the use of cluster munitions.
He said the Government had approved the domestication of the Convention against cluster munitions and the piece of legislation would be tabled before Parliament soon.
He called on member States that had not ratified the Convention to do so to ensure safety from ammunitions.
The use of cluster munitions, he said, had detracted people from their much needed social needs and that all countries should discourage the use of such devices.
Foreign Affairs Minister Wylbur Simuusa said although Zambia was currently not much affected by the cluster munitions, it joined the Convention on moral grounds.
Mr Simuusa said it was unfortunate that some women and children in various areas were being affected by the use of cluster munitions.
A 22-year-old survivor of cluster ammunition, Aynelem Zenebe from Ethiopia, who lost a leg when she was six, welcomed the progress being made to stop the use of munitions and appealed to all countries to sign the Convention.
The gathering has drawn delegates from 83 countries worldwide.