12 April 2010

CMC Newsletter March 2010

CMC March 2010 Newsletter1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSAfrica Regional Conference held in PretoriaKennedy Mabasa and fellow delegates address the conference in Pretoria. Photo Credit: Kennedy MabasaThe Africa Regional Conference on the Universalisation and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions was held on 25 and 26 March in Pretoria, South Africa.Delegations attending included Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Chad, Comoros, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, along with Director-General Saleumxay from Lao PDR and representatives from Norway and Austria.A number of states gave updates on their positions and announced upcoming signatures and ratifications. Discussions were based on the main provisions of the Convention, national implementation, cooperation and assistance, and next steps. Next steps were discussed in a session chaired by Director-General Saleumxay of Lao PDR. Saleumxay set out the road ahead to the 1MSP, which helped channel the momentum built during the conference onwards to Santiago and Vientiane. The conference concluded with an address by Norwegian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Gry Larsen.Workshops in Indonesia to promote swift ratification of the CCMCampaigners at the civil society workshop in Jakarta discuss the ratification process in Indonesia. Photo Credit: Lars StengerFrom 23-25 March 2010, three events were held in Jakarta with the goal of promoting Indonesia’s quick ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and the Cluster Munition Coalition worked together to coordinate these events.On 23 March, Norwegian Ambassador Eivind S. Homme hosted a reception at his residence in Jakarta. The 25 guests included parliamentarians, embassy representatives, government officials, media, and civil society. John Rodsted gave a presentation on the legacy of cluster bombs.On 24 March, a civil society workshop brought together Indonesian and regional civil society organisations. In the morning session, participants heard presentations on the legacy of cluster munitions, the CMC, key dates in 2010 and campaigning in Indonesia. In the afternoon session, participants were lead through a creative process, which resulted in an advocacy plan to promote Indonesia’s ratification of the CCM that will be implemented starting this month.On 25 March, a roundtable event was held for stakeholders, which included parliamentarians, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and embassy representatives in Jakarta. Participants discussed how it could be possible to push parliament to make ratification of the CCM a priority.A special thank you goes to Kristiani at JRS who translated a number of campaign fact sheets and documents into Indonesian.If you would like a copy of any of these documents please contact Kimberly Brown, CMC staff: Kimberly@stopclustermunitions.org2. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATEAustralia: The following submission is from Robert Rands, a CMC campaigner in Australia:

Hello from LaosIn late January and early February, I visited Laos for about 10 days. I was there on behalf of the Mines Victims and Clearance Trust (MiVAC), a Tasmanian Charitable Trust, to observe firsthand some of the work we have been funding, through Phoenix Clearance Ltd (PCL), our partner in Laos.The photo above shows the UXO clearance team involved in clearing the Kohai Village Secondary School grounds, and the rice fields directly behind the School. This team comprises 12 Laotian staff and one expat. Kohai is in Borikamxai Province, east of Vientiane. The men are holding a large-loop deep-search metal detector (yellow frame), as well as one of the more familiar shallow-search mine detectors (white handle).Because UXO search and clearance is less labour-intensive than landmine clearance, we were able to clear about 13.4 hectares in 15 days. This included several large bombs, live ammunition and 125 bombies. During my three-day visit, I was allowed to observe the work close up, under strict supervision. I was fortunate to be involved in the demolition of UXO: I got to "push the plunger" to destroy a day’s findings. Twenty-nine BLU 26 cluster munitions –"bombies" as the locals call them – make a very loud bang, all at once.The UXO clearance activity was planned for the school holidays, so we were all able to bunk in the classroom with the open door in the team photo background. We pushed the row desks together into a long, wide table for our bedrolls.We were also able to travel through the Saysambuone Special Zone, an area which has only very recently been opened, due to earlier internal conflict. This area suffered intensive bombing over a forty year period. Much contamination remains. Some idea of the prevalence of UXO and other debris in the area is given in this photo of a village metalworker, using a 105 mm projectile as an anvil, while forging a small bell.MiVAC and PCL have developed a very productive relationship over the past three years. We believe that the land we have cleared and the ordnance we have destroyed is making everyday life safer for Laotian villagers. But there is still an awful lot to do. The map below shows UXO contaminated areas of Laos, in pink and orange.For further information on MiVAC and PCL, visit:www.mivactrust.orgwww.phoenixclearanceltd.comMany thanks to M Hayes of PCL for technical editing, and photos.Contact: Robert Rands, CMC Australia: rrands@bigpond.net.au
DRC: Campaigners from the Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines had a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 5 March. The CCBL was represented by M. Francky Miantuala (Coordinator of the CCBL), M. Thierry Ngoy (representative of DRC at the Cartagena summit), M. Simabatu (representative of DRC at the Berlin Conference on the destruction of cluster munition stockpiles). The DRC government’s ratification of the CCM was discussed and the issue will soon be raised with the government council as a result of the meeting. Contact: Francky Miantuala, CCBL: francky_tos@yahoo.frGeorgia: On 1 March, campaigners in Georgia printed two magazines with the theme "Towards a Mine Free world". Campaigners conducted meetings in schools in post-conflict areas where youth organisations took the opportunity to meet with young psychologists to discuss the MBT and the CCM. The importance of prohibiting the usage of landmines and cluster munitions was also discussed.Contact: Maia Buchukuri, GCBL: maia.buchukuri@gmail.comIndia: The Control Arms Foundation of India successfully held two separate meetings on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in March 2010, with the American Embassy and with Korean Embassy officials in New Delhi.
During the first meeting, American Embassy officials mentioned that the US might send an observer to the first First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010. In the meeting with Korean officials, it was clearly mentioned that South Korea is feeling the pressure to attend the 1MSP and is exploring ways to respond to CCM. Control Arms Foundation of India advised Koreans to give their support and sign the CCM.The Control Arms Foundation of India has also filed letters to the government of India regarding the Right to Information Act 2005 so that its position on the production, import and export of cluster munitions is made clear to its citizens. Under the provisions of the Act, citizens in India may request information from a "public authority" which is required to reply expeditiously or within 30 days.
Contact: Bina Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India: binalakshmi@gmail.comIraq: On 1-3 March, the Directorate of Mine Action in the Ministry of Environment held a national conference on victim assistance with direct support from UNDP Iraq. The participants were from different governmental bodies, UN agencies, International and local NGOs including both Kurdistan Organization for Rehabilitation of the Disabled (KORD) and Iraqi Alliance for Disability Organizations (IADO). The Iraqi alliance for disability presented on victim assistance needs and rights. The conference resulted in the Ministry of Environment developing a new strategy that will include national statistics and registrations for landmine victims.Contact: Moaffak Alkhafaji, IADO: moaffak61@yahoo.comJapan: The Japanese government held a celebration on 26 March to mark the 30th ratification of the CCM. The event was co-hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo. Mr. Kitagawa, JCBL representative, made a toast at the event.Contact: Junko Utsumi, JCBL: utsumi@jcbl-ngo.orgNepal: On 8 March, Purna Chitrakar was given the National Women Peace Honour award on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Mrs. Vidhya Devi Bhandari, from the Ministry of Defence presented Purna with flowers and the certificate.Contact: Purna Chitrakar, NCBL: ncbl@mail.com.npThailand: On 19 February, campaigners in Thailand walked around the Victory Monument in Bangkok with banners to celebrate the 30th ratification of the CCM. They also put the names of the 30 countries that have ratified the CCM on 30 balloons and flew them in front of Baan Xavier Church outside of the JRS office.Contact: Sermsiri Ingavanija, JRS: sermsiri@jrs.or.thUK: The UK's Cluster Munition (Prohibition) Bill received Royal Assent and became law on 25 March. This follows a rapid passage through parliament, with broad cross-party support for the legislation. The UK is expected to deposit its instrument of ratification in April.Contact: Portia Stratton, AOAV: pstratton@aoav.org.ukUK: Source, a project co-run by Handicap International, announces the launch of a new key list on Cluster Munitions and Victim Assistance! Source (www.asksource.info) is an international support service designed to strengthen the management, use and impact of information on health and disability. This Cluster Munitions and Victim Assistance key list provides a comprehensive introductory resource drawing together key policy documents, tools and information resources. The core elements of victim assistance highlighted are: emergency and long-tem medical care; physical rehabilitation; psychological support; social and economic inclusion; data collection, disability laws and policies. The link can be accessed directly here: http://asksource.ids.ac.uk/cf/keylists/keylist2.cfm?topic=dis&search=QL_CMVA09]Contact: Dorothy Boggs, Handicap International UK: source@hi-uk.orgUSA: On 1 March, PSALM/ WVCBL (Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs and the West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs) commemorated the 11th Anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty and the 30th Ratification of the Cluster Munitions Treaty. PSALM students released balloons to raise awareness about landmines and cluster munitions with messages that read, "A LANDMINE AND CLUSTER BOMB FREE WORLD IS POSSIBLE". The balloon release was covered by West Virginia state TV and local press. Contact: Nora Skeets, PSALM/WVCBL: noracat@yahoo.comPSALM students releasing balloons Photo Credit: Nora SkeetsUSA: Allison Pytlak of Religions for Peace gave a presentation about cluster bombs and landmines to nearly 100 students in New York. The students represented more than10 universities and colleges in the greater New York and New Jersey area, and many expressed interest in becoming involved with the US campaign in future. The presentation was part of a half-day event on 26 March covering a variety of arms control and disarmament subjects. Contact: Allison Pytlak, Religions for Peace: apytlak@religionsforpeace.org3. DISINVESTMENTCanada: As a follow up to the inaugural disinvestment event with the Canadian financial community in January, Mines Action Canada (MAC) published an open letter to Canadian financial institutions and pension funds urging them to disinvest and/or create a proactive policy banning all investments in companies that produce cluster bombs or their components. Personalised copies of the letter were sent to contacts at each of the financial institutions from MAC’s disinvestment research. A copy of the letter can be found here: http://www.minesactioncanada.org/index.cfm?fuse=learn.news-details&ID=398.Contact: Nancy Ingram, MAC: nancy@minesactioncanada.orgGermany: Campaigners in Germany shared a first parliamentarian initiative in the form of a motion of the German Green Party calling for a realignment of financial markets, including a ban on investments in cluster munitions. As three other parties - including one governmental – showed support for such an investment ban, campaigners are hopeful in achieving a binding law later this year. In order to push this they asked a parliamentarian service to provide a legal opinion regarding Article 1c.Contact: Thomas Kuechenmeister, ActiongroupLandmines.de: thomas.kuechenmeister@googlemail.comSwitzerland: On 14 April, CMC member organisations IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen will launch an update of the report "Worldwide investments in cluster munitions: a shared responsibility". The original report publication in October 2009 coincided with the launch of the CMC’s "Stop Explosive Investments" campaign (www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org). The updated report will be available at 10:00 a.m. (Geneva time) on the Stop Explosive Investments site at http://www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/report and on the IKV PC website at http://www.ikvpaxchristi.nl/UK/below_thematic_security_and_disarmament_cluster_munition_home_stop_explosive_investments.htm. Two events will be held in Geneva to coincide with the launch of this report update on Wednesday, 14 April - a morning press briefing and a CCW side event in the afternoon.Contact: Kimberly Brown, CMC Staff: Kimberly@stopclustermunitions.org4. 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 the clock will start ticking on deadlines for destroying stockpiles and clearing contaminated land.Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.org100-day countdownThe CMC will launch a 100-day countdown on 23 April, which will mark the start of 100 days of action leading up to entry into force of the CCM on 1 August. The objective of the countdown will be to target non-signatory states in the run up to EIF and the 1MSP. Start thinking about how you can take action during the countdown to encourage states to sign and ratify the CCM in advance of the 1MSP. Examples of actions that can be carried out are: letters to foreign ministers, embassy visits, media work and public actions.Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC Staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.orgTake Action on DisinvestmentCampaigners are encouraged to take action on disinvestment or after 14 April. You can issue a press release, update your organisation's website, communicate with your networks and do outreach to banks based on the update of the report "Worldwide investments in cluster munitions". The updated report will be available at 10:00 a.m. (Geneva time) on the Stop Explosive Investments site at http://www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/report. You can also utilise the campaign toolkit, which can be found here http://www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/take-action/campaign-toolkitContact: Kimberly Brown, CMC Staff: Kimberly@stopclustermunitions.org5. MEDIAMedia updateFollowing tremendous media interest in the 30th ratification in February, the momentum kept up in March, with several major follow-on editorials supporting the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including one in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. There was also good media coverage of the passage of the United Kingdom’s legislation banning cluster bombs. The CMC and UK campaigners collaborated on the UK government’s official press release, following close collaboration on the bill itself. British and foreign media covered the bill’s Royal Assent, including the BBC, CNN and The Times.The CMC also did media work around the Pretoria regional meeting on the Convention and a national NGO workshop held in Jakarta (for more information on these events, please see International News above).Media highlights of the monthThe Lancet (United Kingdom), 3 March 2010Moving towards a world without cluster bombshttp://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)60286-3/fulltextMilitary.com (United States), 3 March 2010US not part of cluster bomb banhttp://www.military.com/news/article/us-not-part-of-cluster-bomb-ban-.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeedCounterPunch (United States), 4 March 2010Obama’s landmine betrayalhttp://www.counterpunch.org/hallinan03042010.htmlNational Public Radio (United States), 5 March 2010Laos’ unexploded bombs: deadly scrap metal, toyshttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124346491The Hindu (India), 5 March 2010Editorial: Banning pernicious weaponshttp://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/article183316.eceThe Japan Times, 9 March 2010Editorial: Cluster bomb ban moves forwardhttp://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20100309a1.htmlEFE (Spain), 15 March 2010Las bombas de racimo tienen los días contadoshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMmlDbdZkdQ&feature=player_embeddedChange.org, 15 March 2010The banking industry’s seedy relationship with cluster bombshttp://humanrights.change.org/blog/view/the_banking_industrys_seedy_relationship_with_cluster_bombsThe Daily Star (Lebanon), 17 March 2010Israeli cluster bomb wounds mine clearance workerhttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=112828The Sacramento Bee (United States), 21 March 2010Viewpoints: US must clean up leftover bombs in Laos http://www.sacbee.com/2010/03/21/2620614/viewpoints-us-must-clean-up-leftover.html#Comments_Container#ixzz0ip3O00FeThe Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), 23 March 2010Mine casualties drop in Januaryhttp://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2010032334085/National-news/mine-casualties-drop-in-january.htmlBBC (United Kingdom), 23 March 2010Cluster bombs banned for UK armed forces http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8584135.stmThe Times (United Kingdom), 25 March 2010Gordon Brown urges world to join Britain in banning cluster bombshttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7074984.eceCNN (United States), 25 March 2010UK outlaws cluster bombs, calls for global banhttp://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/03/25/uk.cluster.bombs/index.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitterThe Jakarta Post (Indonesia), 26 March 2010Indonesia urged to ratify cluster-bombs conventionhttp://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/03/26/indonesia-urged-ratify-clusterbombs-convention.htmlEl Tiempo (Ecuador), 26 March 2010Ecuador aprueba protocol contra tortura y ratifica convención bombas racimohttp://www.eltiempo.com.ec/noticias-cuenca/26847-ecuador-aprueba-protocolo-contra-tortura-y-ratifica-convencia-n-bombas-racimo/6. UPCOMING EVENTSApril 20104th - International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action12th-16th - CCW group of governmental experts on cluster munitions, Geneva, Switzerland14th - Launch of update of the report "Worldwide investments in cluster munitions," Geneva, Switzerland23th - Launch of CMC’s 100-day countdown to entry into force of the Convention on Cluster MunitionsJune 20107th-9th - Global Preparatory Meeting on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, Chile21st-25th - Intersessional Standing Committee Meeting on the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, SwitzerlandAugust 20101st - Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions