10 May 2010

CMC Newsletter April 2010

CMC Newsletter April 2010 ****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSCMC kicks off 100-day countdownCampaigners worldwide are stepping up pressure on governments to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the final 100 days before it becomes binding international law. On 23 April, the CMC launched the 100-day countdown to entry into force on 1 August.Hundreds of civil society organisations are expected to participate in the countdown, carrying out campaign actions to urge governments to sign and ratify the Convention, and to raise awareness about its potentially profound impact on civilians and affected communities. Activities include press conferences, workshops, marches, exhibitions, and creative outreach. Many actions include the central theme of drumming to make some noise about the entry into force of the most significant disarmament and humanitarian treaty in more than a decade.During each week of the countdown, CMC campaigners will conduct targeted actions urging specific non-signatory countries to sign the Convention. The action started with Cambodia on 26 April, followed by: Tajikistan (3 May), Vietnam (10 May), Brazil (17 May), Jordan (24 May), Argentina (31 May), Serbia (7 June), Grenada (14 June), Bangladesh (21 June), Papua New Guinea (28 June), Sudan (5 July), Slovakia (12 July), Morocco (19 July), and Thailand (26 July).After 1 August, treaty obligations become legally binding for all states that have ratified, and campaigners will urge as many governments as possible to participate in the First Meeting of States Parties from 8-12 November in Lao PDR, the most cluster bomb-contaminated country in the world. All states are welcome to attend this meeting, regardless of whether or not they have signed or ratified the treaty.Update of disinvestment report launchedOn 14 April, CMC member organisations Netwerk Vlaanderen and IKV Pax Christi launched an update of the report "Worldwide investments in cluster munitions: a shared responsibility" urging banks to stop funding cluster bomb producers. The report, which is the most comprehensive study to date on the subject, highlighted that despite the impending ban, financial institutions still provide US $43 billion to companies that produce cluster munitions. This update surveys 182 financial institutions in more than 20 countries, including retail banks, investment banks, asset-management companies and private and public pensions. The updated report can be found at: http://www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/report.Report authors Roos Boer and Esther Vandenbroucke hand over the update of the report "Worldwide investments in cluster munitions: a shared responsibility" to Swiss MP Ms. Mauries Pasquier under the "Broken Chair" in Geneva. Photo Credit: Mary WarehamTo coincide with the launch, two events were held in Geneva on 14 April. Under the "Broken Chair" sculpture in the morning, Roos Boer and Esther Vandenbroucke handed over the update of the report to two Swiss MPs, Mr Hiltpolt and Ms Mauries Pasquier, both of whom are active on disinvestment in Switzerland. A media breakfast was then held at the Handicap International Switzerland office. Thomas Nash (CMC), Paul Vermeulen (HI Switzerland), Mr Hiltpold (Swiss MP), Ms Pasquier (Swiss MP), Esther Vandenbroucke (Netwerk Vlaanderen) and Roos Boer (IKV Pax Christi) briefed the media and answered questions. An overview of media coverage can be found below in the disinvestment section.In the Palais des Nations that afternoon, more than 60 delegates attended a CCW side event on disinvestment. Paul Vermeulen chaired the meeting, and speakers included Thomas Nash, Aslak Skancke (Council on Ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global) Esther Vandenbroucke and Roos Boer. The ICRC intervened by stating that they believe Article 1c can certainly encompass investments and welcomed the report.The beat goes on! New signatures and ratifications in AprilAs the CMC kicked off its 100-day countdown to entry into force, several states took action to sign or ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions during April. Samoa became the 31st country to ratify on 28 April 2010, while the Seychelles and Mauritania signed the treaty. Six Pacific Island Forum members have now signed the Convention, and Samoa is the second to ratify after New Zealand.H. E. Mr. Ronald Jean Jumeau Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of the Seychelles signs the CCM in New York. Photo Credit: UN Treaty SectionNeither Mauritania nor the Seychelles are known to have produced, stockpiled or used cluster munitions, but the conflict in Western Sahara from 1975-1978 left parts of northern Mauritania contaminated by cluster munition remnants as well as other unexploded ordnance and landmines. The complete extent of contamination is not known, and additional survey is planned, depending on the availability of funding.*Note: The UK became the 32nd country to ratify the treaty on 4 May 2010. Further information can be found here http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=2237****2. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESAzerbaijan: Campaigners in Azerbaijan held a meeting with the Norwegian Ambassador to discuss the CCM and ways in which to encourage Azerbaijan to sign. Information on the 100-day countdown was also posted on the first independent military site in the South Caucasus. Contact: Hafiz Safikhanov, Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines: Azerbaijan@icbl.orgGeorgia: On 23 April, ICBL Georgia began its 100-day countdown. A meeting was held in the Ombudsman’s office with other governmental, non-governmental, international and local organisations working on the issue of landmines and cluster munitions.Eleven stakeholders and specialists in the fields of victim assistance and landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war signed a memorandum of partnership and understanding and more are expected to sign in the near future. The actions that are being planned for 1 August were also discussed, and will include drumming actions and a photo exhibition dedicated to the Dutch journalist Stan Storimans, who was killed by a cluster munition in Georgia in August 2008. A website http://forpeace.ge/index.php?newlang=english has been created where visitors can upload their photos. Contact: Maia Buchukuri, ICBL Georgia: maia.buchukuri@gmail.comIndia: In March and April, Control Arms Foundation of India and its team of lawyers filed a series of questions on cluster bombs to the Government of India under the Right to Information Act(RTI) 2005. The following questions were asked: 1) Does India produce/manufacture cluster munitions? 2) Has India ever used cluster munitions? Or has any other country used cluster munitions against India? 3) Did India purchase or sell cluster munitions in recent years?Government officials declined to provide any information, stating that the information sought is classified and providing such information will prejudicially affect the security and sovereignty of the Army & the State. CAFI's team of lawyers filed an appeal on 24 April 2010, but there has not yet been a response.Contact Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India: Binalakshmi@gmail.comIraq: On 4 April, a festival organised by the General Directorate of Mine Actions (GDMA) the active mine action authority in Sulaimaniyah province in Iraqi Kurdistan was held on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Sardar Sidiq Abdulkarim gave a speech which focused on the calamity of mines. He also spoke about the CCM and the provision of full rehabilitation packages to the victims of mines and other explosives.Contact: Sardar Sidiq Abdulkarim, KORD: kordiraq@yahoo.comItaly: On the occasion of the fifth International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 4 April 2010, the Italian Campaign against landmines (ItCBL) organised a flash mob named "Peace does not need crutches" in order to call attention on the rights of all persons with disabilities. ItCBL used this as a new way to communicate about the experiences of landmine and cluster munition victims around the world due to their disabilities. The event took place in Piazza del Popolo and the flash mob started with three blasts of a trumpet played by the ItCBL Director Giuseppe Schiavello. People danced on one leg for four minutes. Each minute the music changed, so four types of music were played (African, Latin American, Asian and Arab) in order to remember victims from all over the world. During the fifth minute, people stopped and try to stand on one leg, and a trumpet blare announced the end of the performance. Various photographers and journalists attended the event.Contact: Tibisay Ambrosini, Campagna Italiana contro le mine: t.ambrosini@campagnamine.orgFlash mob in Rome on 4 April. Photo credit: ItCBL Lebanon: On the occasion of the International Mine Action Day, the Lebanon Mine Action Center and the National Mine Risk Education Committee, in coordination and support of Norwegian People's Aid, held a campaign titled "Plant trees not mines" in which more than 3,000 trees were planted in six different affected areas. Local NGOs, clearance organisations, and Scout associations took part in this event by volunteering to plant trees. The municipalities of the targeted areas committed to take care of the trees and guarantee their survival. In parallel to the planting, more than 40 mine risk education checkpoints were placed at the entrances to affected areas, through which flyers were distributed to remind residents of the danger that persists.Contact: Khaled Yamout, NPA – Lebanon: landmines@npalebanon.orgMoldova: Moldova signed the CCM in December 2008 and ratified in February 2010, joining the 30 lead nations that have brought the Convention into force. On the 22 April 2010, in front of mass media and representatives from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and OSCE the Moldovan Ministry of Defence (MoD) allowed the invited guests to witness the disposal programme of its 152mm cluster munition projectiles. Moldova disposed of its Orkan rockets in 2006 and began destroying its stockpile of 834 152mm projectiles in early 2010. In 2009, NPA and the Government of Moldova, received OSCE assistance to assess the feasibility of an efficient disposal programme to destroy the Moldovan stockpile of air-dropped cluster bombs, a Soviet-era legacy. In May/June 2010 the programme will be implemented in partnership with OSCE and the Moldovan MoD, with funding from the Spanish & Norwegian Ministries of Foreign Affairs. By the time the CCM comes into force on 1 August 2010, with this important international assistance, the Republic of Moldova will be able to declare that it is cluster munition free. In an interview on the National Moldovan Channel 1, Lee Moroney of NPA said that "the disposal project of destroying the 152mm projectiles, of which there are only 200 left to destroy, was being conducted in a safe and professional manner, and other nations should look at the Republic of Moldova in its leadership in destroying these deadly munitions and begin to start destroying their stockpiles without hesitation."For further information /technical assistance concerning the destruction of cluster munition stockpiles then NPA can be contacted through leem@npaid.org or kayg@npaid.org Nepal: NCBL launched a music CD related to risk education on 22 April. The Minister of Peace and Reconstruction Mr. Rakam Chemjong inaugurated the programme and officially released the CD. On the occasion, representatives from NCBL, Armed Force Police, UNICEF, and the Nepal Red Cross delivered speeches. Around 200 participants including Ministry of Home, security forces, UNMAT, ICRC, OCHA, national-level organisations, teachers, students, and journalists participated.Contact: Purna Chitrakar, NCBL: purnashova@gmail.comSerbia: Branislav Kapetanovic was a guest on a national TV show about cluster munitions and demining. On the TV show they discussed the CCM, and the importance of Serbia signing. A message was also sent to the government urging them to sign the CCM. The show had a great impact on the public, and Branislav received a lot of calls and emails congratulating him on his participation on the TV show.Contact: Branislav Kapetanovic: kadzo1111@gmail.comSouth Africa: Letters were sent to the Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and to the Political Advisor to the President urging South Africa to ratify the CCM. A press release was issued on 23 April marking the beginning of the 100-day countdown.Contact: Kennedy Mabasa, Ceasefire: nsini1@yahoo.comTajikistan: On 5 April, a roundtable event devoted to International Mine Action Day was held in Dushanbe Somoni Palace under the leadership of the Government of the Republic of Tatjikistan. A number of roundtable participants expressed that Tajikistan wants to work towards making Central Asia mine-free. A Mine Action exhibition was held which showed the catastrophes that are caused by cluster munitions, and which encouraged the government to sign the CCM. Ban Ki-moon, who was visiting Tajikistan at the time, visited the exhibition with the President of Tajikistan.Contact: Aziza Hakimova, ICBL Tajikistan: Tajikistan@icbl.orgThailand: On 23 April, JRS and Nonviolence International held a small event in the JRS office to mark the beginning of the 100-day countdown. Campaigners brought different kinds of drums and instruments, and the participants drummed for an hour and then lit candles and prayed for survivors of cluster bombs around the world.Contact: Sermsiri Ingavanija, JRS, Sermsiri@jrs.or.thCampaigners in Thailand pray for cluster bomb survivors. Photo credit: Sermsiri Ingavanija USA: A congressional hearing named "Legacies of War: Unexploded Ordnances in Laos" was held on 22 April. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, chaired by Rep. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), examined the issue of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in Laos and US funding for their removal. The was the first hearing the US House of Representatives held on the devastating aftermath of UXOs from the secret US bombing of Laos during the Vietnam-era war.Contact: Channapha Khamvongsa, Legacies of War: channapha@gmail.comVietnam: The Prime Minister approved a National Action Plan on UXO clearance which will implement the National Action Plan to surmount consequences of bombs and mines after the war in the period of 2010-2025. This Action Plan is expected to make people conscious of the consequences of war and will also encourage domestic and foreign assistance for landmine and cluster munition victims. Another aim of the plan is to raise public awareness on the danger of UXO. Read the full story here: http://news.gov.vn/Home/PM-approves-National-Action-Plan-on-UXO-clearance/20104/7085.vgp.Contact: Quang Tran, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund: giaquang@gmail.com3. DISINVESTMENTAustralia: Campaigners met with ANZ representatives and are currently corresponding with Lockheed Martin. Campaigners are continuing their postcard campaign which is asking ANZ to change its policy so that it does not do business with companies that manufacture landmines and cluster munitions.Contact: Mark Zirnsak, Uniting Church in Australia: mark.zirnsak@victas.uca.org.auFrance: Campaigners in France are working to have disinvestment included in the draft bill. The National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) unanimously adopted on 15 April an opinion on the CCM national implementation bill, on the basis of the recommendations by Handicap International and Amnesty International France. The CNCDH, which is an official body addressing its opinions to the First Minister, particularly recommends the prohibition of direct and indirect investments in companies which lead activities related to cluster munitions. To promote this opinion, the CNCDH held a press conference on 21 April and invited Handicap International and Amnesty International France to speak on the disinvestment issue and the importance of France including a prohibition on investments. These two associations will follow with great attention the debates in the Senate on 6 May on the draft bill, when several parliamentarians should propose amendments on the basis of their recommendations, including on disinvestment.Contact: Marion Libertucci, Handicap International France: mlibertucci@handicap-international.orgJapan: The JCBL hosted a symposium on disinvestment on 23 April in Tokyo. Parliamentarians, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as socially responsibility representatives from major banks attended. Officials from the Ministry of Financial Service Agency (FSA) were present to discuss possible options Japan may take on the issue of disinvestment. Prior to the symposium, JCBL met with the Vice Minister of Cabinet Office and the Parliamentary Secretary of the FSA to move the issue forward. The Vice Minister gave a very positive response on the issue and promised that the Cabinet Office, FSA and MFA will work jointly to find a possible solution. Contact: Junko Utsumi, JCBL: Utsumi@jcbl-ngo.orgLuxembourg: Campaigners in Luxembourg issued a press release on 14 April on the launch of the report update, and updated the Handicap International Luxembourg website. They are currently waiting for information from the Ministry of Finance and the banks and funds associations on how the disinvestment law will take effect on 1 August 2010. Contact: Jérôme Bobin, Handicap International Luxembourg: jbobin@handicap-international.luMalta: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Malta has said "The policy of the Government of Malta on issues of interpretation of the Convention is guided by the need to ensure the rapid destruction of cluster munitions. With regard to investment in the production of cluster munitions, Malta interprets Article 1 (b) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions as prohibiting this activity. Malta believes that assistance prohibition under Article 1 (c) of the Convention precludes financing and investment in corporations linked with the production of cluster munitions."Contact: Marion Libertucci, Handicap International France: mlibertucci@handicap-international.org****4. TAKE ACTION100-Day Countdown to Entry into Force: 23 April - 31 July 2010Take part in the countdown to entry into force!23 April marked the beginning of the 100 day countdown to entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). The countdown is an opportunity to carry out actions to promote signature and ratification of the Convention, and raise awareness of its entry into force.Each week of the countdown, CMC will target a non-signatory country to urge them to sign the Convention. Cambodia kick-started the action on 23 April, followed by Tajikistan (3 May), Vietnam (10 May), Brazil (17 May), Jordan (24 May), Argentina (31 May), Serbia (7 June), Grenada (14 June), Bangladesh (21 June), Papua New Guinea (28 June), Sudan (5 July), Slovakia (12 July), Morocco (19 July), Thailand (26 July).1) Carry out a national action to urge your government to sign or ratify the Convention - send a letter, have a meeting with officials, do media outreach, launch an online action, or hold an event. A CMC press release on the countdown is available for campaigners to adapt and send out http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/countdown/2) Take part in the global action -- Send a letter to the target country - particularly if it's in your region. Copies of CMC's letter are being sent out each week to the campaign for you to adapt and use.- Post an article on your website about that country and why it should join the CCM. Articles prepared for the CMC website will be available for you to post on your websites and send to media outlets.- Send a short testimonial statement from you or an influential advocate in your country to use in online campaigning. More information on social networking will be sent shortly by Conor Fortune.- Use Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness of entry into force and why these countries should sign the Convention. Follow CMC on www.twitter.com/banclusterbombs and re-tweet the messages. Join the Facebook group Ban Cluster Bombs International and post messages about the actions you are taking.Campaigners in these countries have national actions and events planned during their action week.Let us know what actions you have planned in your country too!Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.org****5. MEDIAMedia updateA couple of CMC events and actions kept the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the media spotlight during April, including a new disinvestment report launch and the start of our intensive global 100-day countdown.On 14 April, CMC member organisations IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen launched their updated disinvestment report in Geneva. The report launch press conference, held at Handicap International Switzerland’s office, included a panel discussion with Swiss members of Parliament who introduced motions to ban investment in cluster munition producers, The event was well-attended and received good media coverage by Swiss media outlets and international wires.On 23 April, the CMC kicked off a global 100-day countdown to the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which includes online social media actions and a weekly web story targeting a specific non-signatory country. From the very first week, journalists took note, with Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post publishing a lengthy feature on the country’s failure to sign the Convention, quoting CMC members.Contact: Conor Fortune, CMC staff: conor@stopclustermunitions.orgMedia highlights of the monthAFP, 1 April 2010Israel’s deadly legacy still lurks in Lebanonhttp://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5huB73vy8Ulcx7QeTTnIHVDwZG56AXinhua (China), 5 April 2010Cambodian children set to kick at World Cup in Johannesburghttp://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-04/05/c_13237711.htm IPS, 6 April 2010EU boosts arms manufacturershttp://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50927Ha’aretz, 7 April 2010Neighbors; The bomblets left behindhttp://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/neighbors-the-bomblets-left-behind-1.913Scoop.co.nz (New Zealand), 8 April 2010NZ’s leadership needed in nuclear disarmamenthttp://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1004/S00066.htmReuters, 14 April 2010US, Euro banks criticised over cluster munitionshttp://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE63D13E20100414World Radio Switzerland, 15 April 2010Swiss could ban investments in cluster bomb makershttp://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/switzerland/swiss-could-ban-investment-in-cluster-bomb-makers.shtml?18652TSR (Switzerland), 14 April 2010La Suisse finance aussi les bombes à sous-munitions/http://www.tsr.ch/info/suisse/1774735-la-suisse-finance-aussi-les-armes-a-sous-munitions.htmlIRIN, 15 April 2010Cluster weapons and landmine reporting mergehttp://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=88830Daily Star (Lebanon), 16 April 2010Blue line demining still deadly job in south /http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=113830#axzz0lFqX01gVAustrian Times, 20 April 2010WWII bombs found at Styrian train stationhttp://austriantimes.at/news/General_News/2010-04-20/22642/WWII_bombs_found_at_Styrian_train_stationNOW! Lebanon, 18 April 2010Man injured in cluster bomb explosion in southern Lebanon/http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=161686IPS, 22 April 2010France urged to ban cluster bomb fundinghttp://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51158Twin Cities Daily Planet (USA), 22 April 2010The USA & UXO: our legacies, ourselveshttp://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2010/04/22/opinion-usa-uxo-our-legacies-ourselvesHerald (Scotland), 25 April 2010RBS under fire over more ‘dirty’ investmentshttp://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport-environment/rbs-under-fire-over-more-dirty-investments-1.1022898Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), 26 April 2010Kingdom urged to sign banhttp://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2010042638060/National-news/kingdom-urged-to-sign-ban.htmlBoston Globe (USA), 25 April 2010Ancient jars, full of mysteryhttp://www.boston.com/travel/getaways/asia/articles/2010/04/25/ancient_jars_full_of_mystery/Radio New Zealand International, 28 April 2010Samoa ratifies Cluster Munitions Conventionhttp://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=53251****6. UPCOMING EVENTSJune 20107-9 June Universal Meeting on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, Chile10-12 June Campaigners’ Forum, Santiago, Chile21-25 June Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings on the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, Switzerland28 June-2 July CCW informal consultations on cluster munitions, Geneva, Switzerland (TBC)August 20101 August Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions30 Aug-3 Sept CCW second session of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on cluster munitions, Geneva, SwitzerlandSeptember 20106 September Preparatory Committee for the First Meeting of States Parties to CCM Geneva, SwitzerlandNovember 20108-12 November First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, Lao PDR25-26 November CCW Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, Switzerland29 Nov –3 Dec Tenth Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty