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Geneva, Switzerland  
Mr. President, thank you for this opportunity to speak. We are pleased to have you in the chair and look forward to working cooperatively with you and the new coordinators throughout this year.

The NGO community is also saddened by the loss of Ed Cummings of the U.S. State Department. I personally worked with Ed (and admittedly often worked against Ed) for a dozen years of CCW deliberations and other matters. He was an extremely likeable man who we admired and respected greatly. He will be missed.  
Mr. President, we join many States Parties in stressing the importance of early entry-into-force of Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). We will work with others toward the objective of getting the necessary four additional ratifications by the Review Conference in November.  
With respect to Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines (MOTAPM), Human Rights Watch has for several years said that we would welcome a new protocol-but not at any price. The existing text is already too weak to support. It needs to be strengthened or else it will be criticized as a step backward, rather than hailed as a meaningful achievement.  
Mr. President, the primary message that we have for today, and for this week, and for this year, is that States Parties need this year to re-focus the work of the CCW so as to specifically address cluster munitions. In addition to the humanitarian harm they have already caused around the world, cluster munitions are the weapons that will pose the gravest dangers to civilian populations in the future, if not addressed now.  
In this respect, we very much welcome the emphasis on cluster munitions in Norway's statement today. We also appreciate Germany's remark about the need to reach a common understanding on cluster munitions.  
We believe the Working Group on ERW should become the Working Group on Cluster Munitions. States Parties should agree at the Review Conference to a mandate to negotiate a new protocol specific to cluster munitions. The mandate and the protocol should be broad, and should deal with both the technical reliability issues and the targeting and use issues.  
As Human Rights Watch has said before, a new protocol should prohibit the use of unreliable and inaccurate submunitions and require their destruction. The Billions of unreliable and inaccurate submunitions already in the arsenals of more than 70 nations are the primary humanitarian concern. They must never be used in order to avoid a humanitarian and socio-economic disaster exceeding that created by millions of landmines globally.  
Belgium became the first nation to ban cluster munitions last month when its lower house joined its Senate in passing ban legislation. We congratulate Belgium on this bold, far-sighted and most welcome achievement and thank Belgium for its ground-breaking leadership. We believe that many states are ready to take significant steps to deal with cluster munitions-and they should do so immediately at the national level while international efforts continue.  
Existing international humanitarian law (IHL) is not sufficient to address the humanitarian problems associated with cluster munitions. This has been shown by the inconsistent interpretation by states of IHL with respect to cluster munitions, and even more so by the lack of compliance with IHL demonstrated by users of cluster munitions to date. The McCormack report referred to by many earlier today is a good paper, and we agree with most of its recommendations. But it reaches a wrong conclusion-that IHL and Protocol 5 are adequate to deal with cluster munitions-a conclusion that is not supported by the information and analysis in the paper itself. A new instrument is clearly needed. Human Rights Watch has prepared two papers; one is a critique of the McCormack report, the other is our own analysis of States Parties' responses to the IHL questionnaire as applied to cluster munitions. The papers are available to delegates at the back of the room.  
In closing Mr. President, we would like to stress that States Parties need to demonstrate this year that the CCW is a viable process for addressing cluster munitions. If a mandate to negotiate cannot be agreed upon this year, other options should be considered by those states committed to the maximum protection of civilians during and after armed conflict.  
Thank you.  

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