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Statement by H.E. Mr. HU Xiaodi, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts of CCW on the Approach, Scope and Definition of ERW (16 July, 2002, Geneva)
2004/04/16
Mr. Coordinator,

Approach, scope and definition are key elements in addressing the issue of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).  In this connection, the following aspects should be taken into account:

First, the situation in which munitions might become ERW after a conflict is relatively complex.  The age, class, property and causes of ERW differ from each other, and the consequences after the conflict also vary.

Second, according to the mandate adopted by the Second Review Conference of CCW, in elaborating the scope of ERW, the Group of Governmental Experts shall consider all factors, in particular "factors and types of munitions that could cause humanitarian problems after a conflict".  This means that the scope of our discussion should not be exclusive, but cover all types of munitions that might cause humanitarian problems after a conflict rather than only one type of munitions.

In view of the above, we think that the point made by the Russian delegation yesterday has merits.  One general principle should be established in addressing the ERW issue, namely the user of the munitions should be responsible for clearing the ERW he left behind.  It is unnecessary to identify one/some type(s) of munitions.  Such an approach can not only address the real humanitarian concerns, but also give incentives to countries to enhance the reliability of their munitions, thus reducing the number of new ERWs in the future.  In the meantime, it will in no way impediment the legitimate security and self-defense needs of any state.  This is the practical, feasible and effective approach to address the humanitarian concerns caused by ERW.

On the definition of ERW, our preliminary view is that four elements are necessary to become ERW: 1) Explosives, 2) Remnants/Remain, 3) War/Conflict and 4) Humanitarian.  They are interrelated and indispensable.  Specifically,

Explosives.  They include fused munitions in a general sense, such as multi-purpose bombs, artillery shells, cluster bombs, missiles and etc.  However, weapons that have been covered by current international law, such as landmines, should not be included.

Way of remaining, it includes both munitions that were used (launched, delivered or deployed) but did not explode as intended, and those that were not used but abandoned, which, after a conflict, can still cause humanitarian risks to the civilians.

War or conflict, the relevant regulations of the Amended Protocol II of the CCW can be referred to in this regard.

In light of the above, the definition of ERW can probably be:

All fused munitions that were used (launched, delivered or deployed) in a war or conflict but did not explode as intended, and those that were not used but abandoned, which, after a conflict, can still cause humanitarian risks to the civilians, with the exception of munitions which have been covered by current international law.
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