14 June 2010

CMC Newsletter May 2010

****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSUK among record number of governments to ratify during MayFive additional countries will become full States Parties by 1MSPFive signatories ratified the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions during the month of May, giving them the right to attend the First Meeting of States Parties in Lao PDR this November as full States Parties. The United Kingdom, a former producer and user of cluster munitions, ratified the Convention on 4 May, becoming the 32nd country to do so. The British government announced its support for the draft Convention text during final negotiations in Dublin in May 2008, which was a significant policy turnaround and helped to influence many other states to adopt the text. The UK signed the Convention at the Oslo signing ceremony in December 2008 and the "Cluster Munition (Prohibition) Bill" received Royal Assent on 25 March 2010, after passing through both houses of Parliament with wide cross-party support.The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary David Miliband signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008. Photo: Gunnar Mjaugedal/catchlight.noIn the past, the UK used cluster munitions in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas (1982), Iraq and Kuwait (1991), the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia including Kosovo (1999) and Iraq (2003). It produced, exported and imported the weapon, and amassed a sizable stockpile.More than a third of the UK's cluster bombs have reportedly been destroyed, and the government has committed to eradicating its remaining stockpile by 2013, well ahead of the allotted eight years under the Convention.Ecuador (11 May), the Seychelles (20 May), Lesotho (28 May) and Fiji (28 May) became the 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th (respectively) countries to ratify the treaty.For more information on ratifications this month please see:

  • UK
  • Ecuador
  • Seychelles
2. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESAustria: The government of Austria hosted an "Expert Conference on Victim Assistance" from 8-9 April 2010 at the National Defence Academy in Vienna. The conference discussed how states can better assist survivors and their communities. Government representatives United Nations officials, victim assistance experts, survivors and civil society advocates discussed on victim assistance (VA) in the context of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. For the full conference report, contact: Marlies Burkhard, CMC Austria: marlies.burkhard@googlemail.comPanelists at the victim assistance conference in Vienna. Photo: Marlies Burkhard Brazil: On 4 May 2010, the Brazilian Campaign Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs (BCAL) and CMC Brazil attended a convocation hosted by the House of Deputies Commission of Defense and External Relations. In this public hearing, the BCAL and the CMC presented their position regarding Brazilian cluster bomb production. The Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Avibrás industry (which produces and exports cluster bombs) were also present and provided their own statements. The MFA representative highlighted the responsibility of countries that have used cluster bombs to remove them and assist victims. He also defended draft Protocol VI of the CCW. Avibrás, who produce and export cluster bombs, reported USD $60-70 million per year in revenues generated by cluster bombs, and has around 5,000 employees in all productive machinery. He also noted that the actual cluster bombs produced by Avibrás have a failure rate of below 1%. He argued that it is possible have adequate defense while respecting humanitarian principles with these technologies. On behalf of CMC/ICBL/BCAL, two statements were presented by Gustavo Oliveira Vieira, one for BCAL stressing the relationship with CRPD, Protocol V and other human rights treaties, also stressing the exception preventing humanitarian harm. Contact: Gustavo Vieira, BCAL: gvieira7@gmail.comCambodia: Large symbols supporting the international ban on cluster bombs were placed in a reflection Centre in Siem Reap and were visited and photographed by many guests. One of the symbols is of a plane dropping bombs, and the other of a dragon boat getting ready to go to the 1MSP in Lao PDR. Both symbols were built out of foam by four survivors of explosive remnants of war. Youern Sam En, a cluster munition survivor, has written a letter to a number of famous prospective work cup players, asking them to do a ball kick-off which will urge countries to attend the 1MSP so that they can make effective plans to better the lives of those affected by cluster bombs. Youern Sam En has no arms or eyes, so he signed the letter with a footprint to encourage the best football players in the world to join his effort. Contact: Denise Coghlan, JRS: denisecoghlan@yahoo.com.auDRC: A workshop on the CCM and the campaign against cluster munitions was held in the DR Congo on 28 May 2010 in Kinshasa. Participants included: the Chief of staff of the DRC Foreign Affairs Ministry; the director and members of the UNMACC/DRC; two delegates of the government of the Republic of Congo; the coordinator and member of the National Focal Point of the struggle against mines; members of DRC national NGOs; and members of international organisations (MAG, ICRC, JICA). The purpose of the workshop was to foster a deep understanding of the CCM as well as cluster munitions themselves. Participants provided updates of the ratification process of the CCM in the DRC Congo and the Republic of Congo and defined priorities for actions against cluster munitions during the year 2010 such as creation of the National regulatory authority, working out of the initial transparency report, and working out of the law for implementing the CCM. Ratification is being considered by the MFA in the two countries and will soon be discussed by government councils before being sent either to the parliament (Republic of Congo) or directly to New York for ratification (DRC). Contact: Francky Miantuala, Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines: francky_tos@yahoo.frFrancky Miantuala gives an interview to media in Kinshasa. Photo: Francky Miantuala France: The French Senate adopted unanimously on 6 May the French implementation bill. While some recommendations by Handicap International and Amnesty International had already been adopted by the Senate Foreign Affairs Commission, some crucial amendments were rejected by the Ministry of Defence without any valid explanation (i.e. prohibition of investment, transit and Article 21 positive obligations). Other amendments gave the government the appropriate occasion to clarify its position, notably concerning the responsibility of corporate bodies and brokerage. Handicap International France and Amnesty International France will keep promoting its recommendations during the upcoming bill examination by the National Assembly Defence Commission on 22 June, and in plenary session on 6 July. Contact: Marion Libertucci, Handicap International France: mlibertucci@handicap-international.orgGermany: Two activities were held at the German Oecumenic Church Congress on 12 May during a meeting of hundreds of thousands protestant and catholic Christians in Munich. The first was a stand with a little "minefield" to demonstrate the danger of mines and cluster munitions. At the end of the day, everyone held candles and put many of them into this minefield, so that it became a candle memorial for the victims of mines and cluster munitions. The other activity was a service for young people focusing on victims of cluster munitions where a letter to Angela Merkel was handed over to an MP. Contact: Eva Maria Fischer, Handicap International Germany: efischer@handicap-international.deCandle minefield/memorial. Photo: Eva Maria FischerIndonesia: JRS Indonesia made a presentation on the CCM and the CMC to 20 students of International Relations at Universitas Gaja Mada in Yogyakarta, which included watching parts of "Unacceptable Harm" and the ICRC film "Time to act". Some of these students will get involved in the preparation of the 1 August celebration of the entry into force of the CCM in Yogyakarta. Contact: Lars Stenger, JRS: larsstenger@jrs.or.idKenya: After kicking off the 100-day countdown last month with a visit to survivors of UXOs and bombs, the Kenya Network to Ban Cluster Munitions have made contact with two MPs who have agreed to support the cause. Already, one MP has sent questions to the AG and will be following up next week. The second MP will work on a commentary to be sent to the print media on why MPs must push for the ratification and domestication of CCM. The Kenyan Network Against Cluster Munitions also wrote two letters to the Minister for Foreign Affairs requesting a progress report on what Kenya is doing to ensure they ratify the CCM. Contact: Daniel Aghan, Handicap International Kenya: aghandan@yahoo.comNepal: A half-hour radio programme on cluster munitions was broadcast on 29 May in Nepal. Topics covered were: an introduction on cluster munitions; the International Campaign to Ban Landmines; and the Cluster Munition Coalition. Contact: Purna Chitrakar NCBL: ncbl@mail.com.npNew Zealand: As part of the 100-day countdown to entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, campaigners in New Zealand have been contacting governments to urge them to support the ban. Campaign representatives in Wellington have so far met with diplomatic representatives from Argentina and Vietnam. Thailand was not available and Brazil did not respond to the coalition's request for a meeting. For more information visit http://www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz/2010/05/28/meetings-with-argentina-and-vietnam/ Contact: Mary Wareham, ANZCMC: wareham@hrw.orgPeru: Instituto de Seguridad y Derechos Humanos launched a campaign on 6 May to urge Peru to ratify the CCM, which was attended by authorites from the Ministries of Foreign Affiars, Defence, the Interior, the General Command of the Army, the Belgian embassy, Organization of American States, San Martín University Law School, Council of Reparations, and Contraminas, with the participation of three survivors. Contact: Ana Maria Watson, Instituto de Seguridad y Derechos Humanos: isdh.directora@gmail.comInstituto de Seguridad y Derechos Humanos launches a campaign to urge Peru to ratify the CCM. Photo: Ana Maria WatsonPhilippines: The PCCM coordinators: Nikki Delfin and Jaymelyn Uy together with CMC Thailand and PCBL Coordinator Fred Lubang met with the Department of National Defense Asec. Lamberto Sillona to discuss the CMC Global Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Philippine government is a strong supporter of the CCM and is currently working towards its ratification. Asec. Sillona will be part of the official Philippine delegation to the meeting in Santiago, Chile. Contact: Mirma Mae C. Tica, Steering Committee Member, PCCM: mirmamae@yahoo.comThailand: Students at KIS International School in Bangkok held an exhibition on cluster munitions to raise awareness in their school and with the media in advance of Thailand's week in the 100-day countdown. The students collected about 400 signatures and a created a big hand, on which they collected handprints in support of Thailand signing the CCM. They plan to present these signatures along with letters to the Government of Thailand during Thailand's week of action at the end of July. Contact: Danield Dunlevie, KIS International School: Danield@kis.ac.thStudents at KIS international school in Bangkok. Photo: Daniel DunlevieUSA: PSALM/WVCBL (Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs and the West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs) began the 100-day countdown to the Convention on Cluster Munitions due to take effect on 1 August 2010. Students, along with campaigners worldwide, are stepping up pressure on governments, including the US, to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Students began with banner painting, a balloon release, presentations for community and state organisations and will be hosting a "drum circle" for getting the word out about the Convention. They are calling on all countries to get on board the cluster bomb ban by signing and ratifying the Convention and challenge students everywhere to join them! They are joining campaigners around the world by "drumming" up support through a range of actions aimed at counting down to entry into force, when they will celebrate a momentous humanitarian achievement. This is truly a milestone in the history of diplomatic disarmament and the students are excited to be a part of the process and essentially witness the "birth" of a new international treaty. Contact: Nora Sheets, PSALM/WVBCL: noracat@yahoo.comReligions for Peace: Most Rev. Anders Wejryd, the Archbishop of Uppsala, Sweden wrote to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. In his letter, the Archbishop urged the government to continue the ratification process and provide some public comment on its status. He also commented on Sweden's possession of the KB 90 cluster munition. The archbishop is affiliated with Religions for Peace and its European Council of Religious Leaders. Contact: Allison Pytlak, Religions for Peace: apytlak@religionsforpeace.org3. DISINVESTMENTJapan: On 23 April, JCBL (Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines) organised a symposium "my money, my responsibility-savings, pensions, cluster bombs" with three panelists: Kosuke Yokoo (Financial Service Agency, Supervisory Bureau, Banks Division); Kazuyuki Tsuchiya (A SEED Japan); and Motoko Mekata (JCBL). The panelists exchanged opinions regarding regulations of investment by the government. Yokoo stated that the Financial Service Agency informs banks about the CCM asks them to carry out banking service along the lines of the treaty. He also stated that it cannot intervene excessively in credit policies of each bank. Tsuchiya and Mekata replied that the government, especially the Financial Service Agency, is responsible for encouraging banks to set rules of investment and should disclose information. The dialogue between banks and NGOs has just started in Japan and Yokoo pointed out that Japanese banks are inexperienced in dialogue with NGOs.One week before the symposium, JCBL sent a questionnaire to five banks that are investing in companies that produce cluster bombs or their components. JCBL received replies from all banks, and some banks showed a forward-looking attitude in their answer. JCBL will meet with one of the five banks, Daiwa Asset Management, to discuss disinvestments issue. Contact: Junko Utsumi, JCBL: utsumi@jcbl-ngo.org Germany: A report on the provisions of Article 1c of the Convention on Cluster Munitions with regard to the financing of cluster munitions was released in Germany. This report was provided by the research services of the German Parliament and commissioned by MPs and Landmine.de. Campaigners will use the report by authority of the research service as a background for their lobby work on a prohibition in Germany and for their ongoing media work. Contact: Thomas Kuechenmeister, Landmine.de: thomas.kuechenmeister@googlemail.comItaly: Campaigners in Italy launched a disinvestment campaign on 25 May. On the day of the launch, ItCBL organized a press conference at the Senate in Rome where they presented the bill on disinvestment named "Measures to contrast the financing of corporations that manufacture landmines and cluster bombs." This is the first bill of its kind in Italy and has already been undersigned by several senators. Campaigners are awaiting the Senate Commission's evaluation of this bill. Contact: Tibisay Ambrosini, ItCBL: t.ambrosini@campagnamine.orgFrance: Campaigners in France are continuing to focus on disinvestment in their national activities. During the discussions on the draft bill within the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), Ministry of Defence representatives indicated that the Ministry considers direct financing is implicitly banned under Article 1c of the Oslo Convention. However, during the debate on the draft bill in plenary at the Senate on 6 May, French Ministry of Defence declared that controlling indirect investments would be too complicated, and that having a specific ban on investments in the draft bill would jeopardise general industrial partnerships between French or European weapons industrial groups and foreign groups that produce cluster munitions amongst other activities. Therefore, in spite of the support by the opposition, the amendment explicitly banning direct and indirect investments was rejected. The draft bill has now been sent to the National Assembly, where several MPs have shown their interest for this issue and could present again the amendment. The bill will be examined by the Defense Commission on 22 June, and in plenary on 6 July. Contact: Marion Libertucci, Handicap International France: mlibertucci@handicap-international.orgUnited Kingdom: A written briefing on behalf of Amnesty UK, Landmine Action, Omega Research Foundation, Oxfam GB and Saferworld was given to the new coalition government in the UK. The letter covered many issues including cluster munitions. The letter credited the UK with its swift ratification of the CCM and also on its ban on direct financing in the UK bill. The letter highlights that further work on indirect financing needs to take place, and asks that the commitment announced by the previous government on 7 December 2009, regarding work with the financial sector, NGOs and other interested parties on prevention on indirect financing of cluster munition producers, should take place at the earliest opportunity. Contact: Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK: Oliver.Sprague@amnesty.org.uk4. 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 is targeting 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). The remaining targets are: 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).You can participate by:
  1. Carrying 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. Taking 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.
    • 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.
Let us know what actions you have planned in your country too!Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.org5. MEDIAMedia updateDuring the month of May, media work focused on preparations for the Chile conference and outreach to national media in specific target countries, as part of the 100-day countdown to entry into force of the Convention. This resulted in a couple of nice features including a detailed article on Vietnam and the Convention and a series of audio slideshows by a freelance radio journalist and photographer on the civilian impact of unexploded cluster bombs in Vietnam.Media highlights of the monthThe Online Citizen (Singapore), 27 May 2010Int'l non-governmental coalition launches campaign to divest ST Engineering of $1billionhttp://theonlinecitizen.com/2010/05/int%E2%80%99l-non-governmental-coalition-launches-campaign-to-divest-st-engineering-ste-of-1-billionSun Star (Philippines), 27 May 2010Ratification of Convention on Cluster Munitions Pushedhttp://www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan-de-oro/ratification-convention-cluster-munitions-pushedDPA (Germany), 25 May 2010Weapons cache found near US airbase in southern Iraqhttp://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/325435,weapons-cache-found-near-us-airbase-in-southern-iraq.htmlWorld Vision Report (US), 22 May 2010Roger and Jacquihttp://www.worldvisionreport.org/Stories/Week-of-May-22-2010/Roger-and-JacquiAsia! Magazine, 21 May 2010Burden of fear: cluster bombs in Vietnamhttp://www.theasiamag.com/people/burden-of-fear-cluster-bombs-in-vietnamThanh Nien Weekly (Vietnam), 21 May 2010Vietnam urged to sign cluster bomb treatyhttp://www.thanhniennews.com/2010/Pages/20100523170607.aspxEFE (Spain), 19 May 2010Militares en Líbano comienzan sus trabajos de desminado en Aytarunhttp://www.elcorreo.com/agencias/20100519/mas-actualidad/politica/militares-libano-comienzan-trabajos-desminado_201005191223.htmlNew York Times, 12 May 2010Leg lost to land mine, boy, 11, moves Israelhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/world/middleeast/13israel.html?src=tptwSwissinfo, 11 May 2010UBS fund takes stance against cluster bombshttp://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news_digest/UBS_fund_takes_stance_against_cluster_bombs.html?cid=8858698Balkan Insight, 10 May 2010Serbia rebuilds outdated emergency response systemhttp://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/analysis/27953/Noticias 123.cl (Chile), 7 May 2010Comisión de RR.EE. del Senado aprueba Convención internacional contra municiones de racimohttp://noticias.123.cl/noticias/20100507_8ea2f9136fb2b2c32ca8683bc9dfa43e.htmThe National (UAE), 8 May 2010Western Sahara conflict's explosive legacyhttp://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100509/FOREIGN/705089848/1002Defense News (US), 3 May 2010Nammo targets demilitarization – cluster bomb treaty means work for arms makerhttp://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4607735&c=FEA&s=BUSToday's Zaman (Turkey), 2 May 2010Cluster munitions ban litmus test for Turkey's humanitarianismhttp://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-209050-101-cluster-munitions-ban-litmus-test-for-turkeys-humanitarianism.htmlDeutsche Welle (Germany), 1 May 2010The Vietnam War and its fatal legacyhttp://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5524470,00.html6. 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 August - 3 September 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 November - 3 December Tenth Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty