08 March 2010

CMC Newsletter February 2010

Treaty Status:104 signatures and 30 ratifications.Ratifications in January: 3 (Denmark, Burkina Faso, Moldova)For the full list of signatures and ratifications, check out the Treaty Status page on the CMC website: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/treatystatus/CMC Newsletter February 2010****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSCluster bomb ban treaty reaches 30th ratification milestoneReception hosted by the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations on 19 February 2010, celebrating the 30th ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Photo Credit: CMCBurkina Faso and Moldova ratified the international Convention banning cluster munitions on 16 February, bringing the total number of ratifications to 30 and triggering entry into force on 1 August 2010, when the Convention will become binding international law. Denmark was the 28th country to ratify on 12 February 2010.A total of 104 countries have signed the Convention since it opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008. The Convention comprehensively bans use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions and sets strict deadlines for stockpile destruction and clearance of contaminated land. In addition, the Convention obliges states to support survivors and affected communities.After the Convention on Cluster Munitions enters into force on 1 August, the next milestone will be the First Meeting of States Parties, which is scheduled to be held in Lao PDR on 8-12 November, 2010. Lao PDR is the country most heavily contaminated by cluster munitions as a result of US bombing more than 30 years ago.Even before the Convention’s entry into force, states have already begun to implement some of its provisions. Last year, Spain announced the destruction of cluster munition stockpiles, and about a dozen other states have begun stockpile destruction. Albania announced in December 2009 that it was the first signatory country to complete clearance of cluster bomblet contamination on its territory.The CMC urged as many states as possible to sign, ratify, and begin implementation of the Convention before the First Meeting of States Parties in Lao PDR in November. In particular, states that have already ratified the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should put their full support behind the cluster bomb ban as well, as all three international treaties enshrine the same humanitarian and human rights principles for assistance to affected communities and the promotion of dignified lives for survivors and victims of armed violence.Several CMC member organisations were represented at a reception held by Norway at the United Nations on 19 February to celebrate the 30th ratification. Allison Pytlak of Religions for Peace, Channapha Khamvongsa of Legacies of War, Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch, and Zach Hudson of the US Campaign to Ban Landmines joined representatives from UN agencies and ratifying governments to mark the occasion.For the full story, visit: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=2040****2. FEATURE ARTICLEAmid 30th ratification celebration, a strong CMC role emerges for Lao 1MSPThe sunset over the Mekong River to the west of Vientiane on 16 February 2010 was, by all accounts, like any other. But in the coming hours, important news would come from the west – news of a triumph that would be roundly celebrated by Lao officials over the coming days, and that would shed light on the road ahead to November, which will mark a defining moment in the country’s recent history.Thomas Nash and Laura Cheeseman of the CMC staff were with a delegation sitting on the banks of the Mekong that evening when word filtered through from the United Nations in New York that the Convention on Cluster Munitions was on the verge of reaching its milestone 30th ratification. Two additional countries, Burkina Faso and Moldova, were poised to deposit their instruments of ratification with the UN Treaty Section; in only 15 months, 30 states had ratified the treaty, triggering its entry into force on 1 August 2010.The excitement around the ratification milestone being reached set the tone for the rest of the advance mission to Lao PDR from 15-19 February, where Nash and Cheeseman collaborated with the Lao government and representatives of Norway, the UN and civil society on plans for the treaty’s First Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) in November."The mission here in Lao PDR went very well, with a remarkable level of preparedness, serious ambition and great cooperation and hospitality," Nash said of the trip. "The reliance on and trust in CMC is significant: the Lao government is expecting a lot from us."The weeklong planning mission covered a comprehensive programme, including logistics, organisation, resources, procedural matters, substantive matters, communications and coordination in Vientiane and in Geneva. Besides high-level meetings and a visit to the planned venue for the 1MSP, the mission team also met with local civil society organisations.According to Nash, there were good dynamics within the mission team and in particular with the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, which was very supportive of civil society and the Lao government. The government, in turn, intends to take on a stronger leadership role as incoming President and host of the 1MSP, and is eager to engage other ratifying states in specific roles for the 1MSP. A positive atmosphere during the mission led to open, frank, honest and wide-ranging discussions with all partners, who share a desire to be very ambitious when drawing up the blueprint for the outcomes of the 1MSP and the treaty’s implementation.The Vientiane 1MSP is a big first for Lao, as it is the largest multilateral disarmament meeting ever convened in the country. Local civil society organisations are motivated to participate in the conference, as it presents them with a key opportunity to shine a spotlight on the shocking immensity of the cluster bomb problem in Lao PDR, the world’s most heavily affected country. But they will rely on the CMC to provide assistance in making their concerns known, as they lack well-established channels of communication with the government, international actors and the media."The 1MSP will be a fantastic opportunity for local civil society to meet campaigners from all over the world who have contributed so much to raise awareness about cluster munitions, a critical issue for Laos," said Jo Pereira of COPE National Rehabilitation Centre in Vientiane. "While it's important to recognise the work that many governments and organisations are already doing, COPE hopes that more resources will be put into developing constructive, meaningful rehabilitation programmes that meet the needs of victims and survivors and remove the threat of unexploded cluster bombs in all affected countries."Additional key roles for the CMC in Vientiane will include working on the substance of the meeting, developing common messages, facilitating media work, coordinating film and photographic work and ensuring efficient communications. Indeed, much is expected of the CMC in helping to work toward the success of the conference, and two new CMC staff members based in Vientiane will help to liaise with the Lao PDR government and other partners on the ground.By all accounts, the Vientiane conference is shaping up to be a busy time for the CMC and its partners, but it also presents the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to further the eradication of cluster bombs and lay the foundations for survivors to have their rights fully realised.****3. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESCambodia: On 17 February, campaigners and tourists in Siem Reap from 55 different countries released 106 balloons, distributed flyers and answered questions about the 30th ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the heart of the tourist district in Siem Reap. The same action was carried out in Phnom Penh and in Battambang. In Phnom Penh, campaigners released birds outside of the Royal Palace to celebrate the 30th ratification of the CCM in a joint activity between UNDP, MAG, JS/JRS, NPA, CDPO, Venerable Vibol and others. Survivors from three of the most mine-affected areas of Cambodia participated in events to mark mine awareness day on 1 March. A letter to the local newspaper from the Campaign, international NGOs and UNDP called on Cambodia to sign the cluster munitions treaty.Contact: Denise Coghlan, Cambodia campaign to ban landmines and cluster munitions: denisecoghlan@yahoo.com.au Campaigners releasing birds outside of the Royal Palace to celebrate the 30th ratification of the CCM in Phnom Penh. Photo Credit: Alex Hiniker, UNDPCroatia: At the RACVIAC Centre for Security and Cooperation in Zagreb, Croatia on 8-11 February, Norwegian People’s Aid, along with their partners from the Moldovan Ministry of Defence, presented the concept and current activities in the self-help project of Cluster Munitions Stockpile Destruction. The current assistance to the Moldovan MOD that started in December 2009 and the process of ratification of the Republic of Moldova that came soon after created a lot of interest with the participants. As a result, a meeting was held with the Croatian MOD, NPA & UNDP to discuss Croatia's move toward meeting their commitments to Article 3 of the Convention.Contact: Lee Moroney, NPA: leem@npaid.orgIndia: From 14 to 17 February 2010, the Control Arms Foundation of India along with 20 partner organisations organised events called "Delhi Disarmament Conference & Events 2010" and an experts’ conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. The events were held parallel to India's Defence Expo 2010, from 15 to 18 February 2010. Over 600 weapons manufacturing companies, including cluster munitions manufacturers like Textron, were present. This event comprised of series of workshops, a press conference, peace marches, concerts and experts’ conferences. The issue of cluster munitions formed an important theme of the events. The film on cluster munitions, "We made it happen" was screened at the disarmament event and called for India to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This request was made in a memorandum submitted to the Indian prime minister on 15 Feb 2010.Contact: Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India: binalakshmi@gmail.comMozambique: Campaigners from FOMICRES sent a letter to the government urging it to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay.Contact: Albino Forquilha, FOMICRES: forquila@tvcabo.co.mzNepal: Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL) organised a symposium on "The Responsibilities of and Opportunities for the Government on Being a State Party to the Ottawa Convention" among CA members/parliamentarians, members of the Mine Action Steering Committee and the Technical Committee, security forces personnel, parliamentarians, campaign members UNMAT, HI etc on 23 February 2010. The chief guest of the workshop was Honorable Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Rakam Chemjong. A number of other representatives gave speeches at the event.Contact: Purna Chitrakar, NCBL: ncbl@mail.com.npUganda: On 19-20 February, Margaret Orech was invited by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (Disability Department) to a Conference on Persons with Disabilities focusing on Policy and Law. The conference addressed challenges facing persons with disabilities in the East African Community (EAC) region. Margaret addressed the conference on the issue of landmines and cluster munitions and took the opportunity to raise awareness on the CCM and the MBT and to all on the EAC member states that have signed to CCM to ratify and ensure prompt implementation. A Ugandan Member of Parliament from the East African Legislative Assembly said she would table a motion urging member states to ratify the CCM.Contact: Margaret Arach Orech, ULSA: ugandalsa@gmail.com****4. DISINVESTMENTBelgium: On 12 February, HI Belgium, Netwerk Vlaanderen, HRW, and ICBL held a briefing on the implementation of both of the CCM and the MBT. Particular focus was given to victim assistance, disinvestment, stockpile destruction and funding. The target group included Belgian and EU-watching media. The briefing was well attended and generated substantial media coverage. The national media was particularly interested in the Belgian government’s failure to develop a blacklist. Media hits can be found on this event below.Contact: Stan Brabant, HIB: stan.brabant@handicap.be or Esther Vandenbroucke, Netwerk Vlaanderen: esther.vandenbroucke@netwerkvlaanderen.beNetwerk Vlaanderen and IKV Pax Christi briefing paper: http://www.netwerkvlaanderen.be/en/files/documenten/campaigns/banksandweapons/press_file.pdfHI Belgium press release: http://en.handicapinternational.be/All-European-States-must-commit-to-ban-cluster-munitions-and-support-survivors_a674.htmlJapan: Japan’s Asahi Shimbun published an editorial on the Convention on Cluster Munitions which references the disinvestment legislation already enacted in several countries and urges the Japanese government to consider similar measures. For a copy of this editorial in Japanese or English,Contact Kimberly Brown, CMC staff: Kimberly@stopclustermunitions.orgUnited Kingdom: Shortly after the launch of the Stop Explosive Investments campaign, Amnesty International UK launched an email action targeting UK banks that invest in producers of cluster munitions. So far, more than 7,000 emails and letters have been sent. To send an email expressing your concern, visit: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=667Disinvestment media highlightsReutersNorway's fund sharpens ethical investment ruleshttp://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE6201IO20100302Amnesty International UK blogA cluster of good newshttp://blogs.amnesty.org.uk/blogs_entry.asp?eid=6032Interdiction des sous-munition: la Belgique perd son role de pionnierLalibre.behttp://www.lalibre.be/actu/belgique/article/562440/interdiction-des-sous-munition-la-belgique-perd-son-role-de-pionnier.htmlLa Belgique moins en pointeLalibre.behttp://www.lalibre.be/actu/international/article/562618/la-belgique-moins-en-pointe.html****5. TAKE ACTIONUrge your government to sign and/or ratify the Convention on Cluster MunitionsThe Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is calling on all governments that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Convention. It will enter into force on 1 August 2010 now that 30 states have ratified. When this happens it will have full legal force as a binding piece of international law; the use, production, transfer of cluster bombs will be illegal and deadlines for destroying stockpiles and clearing contaminated land will start counting down.Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.org****6. MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTHMedia updateFebruary was a busy month for the CMC in the media, with a very high level of press interest in the 30th ratification on 16 February. The event generated more than 100 individual stories from around 30 countries, including stories by all the major international newswires (leading to more than 300 stories in English alone, counting duplicated wire stories), as well as by major media outlets such as the BBC, Le Monde and The New York Times. CMC and its members were cited in the majority of stories and were widely quoted on the issue. Several major broadsheets published editorials in support of the Convention, including Arab News, The Irish Times, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun and South Korea’s The Hankyoreh. In addition, eight governments (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and Norway), the UN Secretary-General and the Council of Europe issued media statements marking the 30th ratification and supporting the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Besides the many CMC member organisations that issued a press release to mark the occasion, other NGOs and international organisations also did so, including the ICRC, MAG, UNDP and UNICEF.Part of the 2010 CMC media strategy is to veer off the beaten path of working nearly exclusively with diplomatic and military correspondents, to also generate coverage on cluster munitions and related issues in specialty media. February saw us beginning to make some inroads here, with a CMC-written op-ed published on the online legal journal Jurist, a good editorial on the CCM from the renowned medical journal The Lancet, a thoroughly researched and masterfully written feature on women deminers in Lao PDR by the British daily The Times and a feature short story on cluster munitions in the graphic novel DMZ, which is published by a subsidiary of DC Comics. The editor of the latter contacted the CMC directly to talk about his interest in the issue, and he blogged and tweeted about his initiative to garner support for the CMC and the global movement to ban cluster bombs.Media highlights of the monthLa Libre Belgique (Belgium), 12 February 2010Interdiction des sous-munition: la Belgique perd son rôle de pionnierhttp://www.lalibre.be/actu/belgique/article/562440/interdiction-des-sous-munition-la-belgique-perd-son-role-de-pionnier.htmlDe Standaard (Belgium), 13 February 2010België niet langer pionier in strijd tegen clusterbommenhttp://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=DMF20100213_001Associated Press, 16 February 2010Cluster bomb ban to enter into force on Aug. 1http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jTnbk1RjTkitahQFNOxAfVWlLh0wD9DTM01G0BBC News, 16 February 2010Treaty to ban cluster munitionshttp://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/8519360.stmEFE (Spain), 16 February 2010La ONU celebra la entrada en vigor del tratado contra las bombas de racimohttp://www.google.com/hostednews/epa/article/ALeqM5jAkw4O3H_l0n0aQ6EoZiCYVAYMTgIRIN (UN), 17 February 2010GLOBAL: Cluster bombs bannedhttp://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=88142Reuters, 17 February 2010Cluster munitions treaty to enter into force this yearhttp://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-46224920100217Le Monde (France), 17 February 2010Ratifiée par 30 pays, la Convention contre les armes à fragmentation va entrer en vigueurhttp://www.lemonde.fr/organisations-internationales/article/2010/02/17/ratifiee-par-30-pays-la-convention-contre-les-armes-a-fragmentation-va-entrer-en-vigueur_1307055_3220.htmlArab News, 18 February 2010EDITORIAL: Cluster bombshttp://arabnews.com/opinion/editorial/article18606.eceThe Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), 18 February 2010Balking at the cluster bomb banhttp://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2010021832300/National-news/balking-at-the-cluster-bomb-ban.htmlThe Irish Times, 18 February 2010EDITORIAL: Cluster bombshttp://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0218/1224264713396.htmlAsahi Shimbun (Japan), 19 February 2010EDITORIAL: Treaty on cluster bombshttp://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201002190389.htmlVientiane Times (Lao PDR), 19 February 2010Laos calls for end to cluster bombshttp://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/Free_Laos.htmThe Times (UK), 23 February 2010Women at the deadly end of the cluster-bomb debatehttp://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article7036794.eceJurist (US), 25 February 2010Convention on Cluster Munitions sets new international humanitarian law standardhttp://jurist.law.pitt.edu/hotline/2010/02/convention-on-cluster-munitions-sets.phpThe Lancet (UK), 27 February 2010EDITORIAL: Moving towards a world without cluster bombshttp://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)60286-3/fulltext****7. UPCOMING EVENTSMarch 201015-19 UN Mine Action Programme Directors Meeting25-26 Regional meeting on Convention on Cluster Munitions in Pretoria, South Africa/ UN Mine Action Programme Directors meetingApril 20104 International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action12-16 CCW group of governmental experts on cluster munitions and disinvestment report update in Geneva, SwitzerlandJune 20107 Global Preparatory Meeting on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, Chile21-25 Intersessional Standing Committee Meeting on the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, SwitzerlandAugust 20101 Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions