07 October 2010

CMC Newsletter September 2010

CMC September newsletterCOPE staff with François Sénémaud at a reception in Vientiane. The French Government and COPE signed an agreement to fund COPE's advocacy activities over the next year. Photo credit: COPE/Jack Khamchan*See the campaign and country updates section for more details****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSThree more states parties on board cluster bomb banThree states deposited their instruments of ratification in the month of September bringing to 42 the number of countries that are already or will soon become full states parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Bosnia and Herzegovina ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 7 September 2010, becoming the 40th country fully on board the treaty. Bosnia and Herzegovina is contaminated by cluster munition use and has produced and stockpiled the weapons. Between 1992 and 1995, Yugoslav forces and non-state armed groups used available stocks of cluster munitions left over after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Bosnia produced cluster munitions for 11 years, but in October 2007 it announced it no longer did so. Most of the Balkan region, which is heavily contaminated by cluster munitions, has now ratified the Convention, with the notable exception of Serbia.The Principality of Monaco ratified the Convention at a United Nations treaty event in New York on 21 September 2010, World Peace Day. The Republic of Tunisia ratified the Convention on 28 September 2010. Tunisia will be the first state party from the Middle East/North Africa region and was the second country in the region, after Lebanon, to sign the Convention, on 12 January 2009.The CMC is urging all countries to ratify or accede to the Convention and to attend its First Meeting of States Parties, which will be held from 9-12 November in Lao PDR, the world’s most cluster-bombed country.2. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESCanada: In just over a month, the Youth Leaders Forum 2010 (YLF) with start in Vientiane. From a pool of 100 candidates, MAC has selected 40 participants from all over the world. Young women and men from affected or non-affected countries and about 10 survivors are going to attend sessions and workshops that cover all areas of campaigning work undertaken by CMC and ICBL: lobbying, fundraising, awareness raising, media relations and so on. MAC is now looking for facilitators for these sessions as well as for experienced campaigners who could serve as mentors and invite the YLF delegates to their lobbying meetings during the First Meeting of States Parties (1MSP). For more information, please contact ylf@minesactioncanada.org. MAC is also offering three apprenticeship positions to support the ICBL and CMC media relations & communication team at the 1MSP in Vientiane, Lao PDR, to provide logistical support for the YLF in Vientiane and to support the coordination and implementation of the ICBL’s campaigning strategy at the 10MSP. To submit your application before October 8 visit: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGhOUlhrMVJYWHR4VzkyS2hSX0NiSVE6MQEU: CMC Coordinator Thomas Nash, ICBL Executive Director Sylvie Brigot, Firoz Ali Alizada of ICBL and Katleen Maes of Handicap International presented on behalf of civil society at a seminar aimed at raising awareness within the EU on the issue of landmines and cluster munitions. The seminar was attended by senior officials from the European Commission, the Director of UNMAS, the President of Geneva Call and other experts including from the GICHD. Topics ranged from advocacy on the CCM and MBT, victim assistance, developments in mine action, engaging non-state armed groups and linking mine action with development. Following the seminar the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, addressed a reception to launch the exhibition 'Mined Lives' by Spanish photographer Gervasio Sanchez, which is being displayed in the Commission's Headquarters. Contact: Sylvie Brigot, ICBL: brigot@icbl.orgGermany: The Association of Ethical Shareholders (Dachverband der Kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre) has awarded the Henry Mathews Prize 2010 to Thomas Küchenmeister and Action Group Landmine.de (Aktionsbündnis Landmine.de). The award was given based on the Action Group Landmine.de’s work on the interests of victims of unexploded ordnance as well as raising public awareness about the dangers posed by landmines and cluster munitions. Contact: Thomas Küchenmeister, Action Group Landmine.de: thomas.kuechenmeister@googlemail.comLao PDR: On Monday 20 September, COPE’s CEO Ms. Bounlanh Phayboun and French Ambassador to Lao PDR François Sénémaud signed an agreement for France to fund COPE advocacy activities over the next year. These include the promotion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and continuing the development of the CMC network in the Lao PDR. The ceremony was attended by representatives from the embassy, COPE, CMC, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Regulatory Authority, the United Nations Development Programme and the UXO sector. Contact: Alexandra Hiniker, CMC staff in Lao PDR: Alexandra@stopclustermunitions.orgNepal: The NCBL met with the Office of Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction to prepare a statement on Nepal’s position and participation of the 1MSP in Laos. NCBL is currently following up on the meeting. Contact: Purna Chitrakar, NCBL: ncbl@mail.com.npNew Zealand: DVDs of the film "Cluster Bombs: Banned in New Zealand" and assorted extras have been sent to every Pacific government and to diplomatic representatives in New Zealand from the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Cuba, India, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, USA and Vietnam. A cover letter urges states that have not acceded or ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions to do so without delay, and to also participate in the First Meeting of States Parties. Contact: Mary Wareham, ANZCMC: wareham@hrw.orgPeru: Campaigners continue advocacy work on the ratification process and plan to meet with the president of the Congress to deliver 5,000 postcards signed by the public requesting that Peru ratify the Convention of Cluster Munitions.Contact: Ana Maria Watson, ISDH: watsonpg1@yahoo.es3. DISINVESTMENTGermany: Action Group Landmine.de called on the government of Germany to not purchase airport body scanners manufactured by companies that produce of cluster munitions and asked that public procurement contracts should be awarded to companies that follow ethical principles. On Monday 27 September, trials of Germany’s first full-body scanner began in Hamburg airport. Campaigners are calling on the German government not to use these scanners as they are manufactures by L-3 Communications, who also manufacture cluster munitions. Contact: Thomas Küchenmeister, Action Group Landmine.de: thomas.kuechenmeister@googlemail.comItaly: The Italian campaign, led by the Italian anti-mines coalition (Campagna Mine) has succeeded in having a bill presented in the Parliament. Written with the help of advisors from the Italian Ethical Bank (Banca Etica), the bill prohibits all Italian financial institutions from giving any form of support to Italian and foreign companies involved in the production, use, managing, selling, transport, etc. of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Financial Commission, but the debate has not yet begun. The aim of the Italian campaign is now on the one hand to have another bill presented in the second house of Parliament, in order to reinforce the process, and secondly and most importantly to have the debate start in the Senate as soon as possible. The campaign therefore intends to put pressure on parliamentarians, by raising awareness about the debate among Italian civil society and media.Contact: Andrea Baranes, CRBM: abaranes@crbm.orgLuxembourg: On 17 August, a parliamentarian asked the Luxembourgish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Social Security the reason why the compensation fund of Social Security invested in cluster munitions in 2008 and 2009, based on information about producers found in the IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen report. Interviewed by journalists a few days after, the President of the fund stated that “he didn’t know these companies were linked with cluster munitions” but announced that his administration will look into the matter.Through an official joint response to the parliamentarian’s question on 13 September, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Social Security argued that the main part of the fund was composed by an unit trust where investments were not directly decided by the Social Security administration but by external managers.Using the “knowingly” aspect of the national law as an argument, Ministries noted that there were not, for the moment, “internationally recognized concrete criteria” to define exactly what a cluster munitions producer is without an official list; Ministries explained that the Social Security couldn’t know it was investing in such an industry without such a list. However, they presented the IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlanderen report as a useful example for investors who “would like to increase their ethical investments.” Ministries declared that, for this concrete matter, the Social Security will now realize a black list of cluster munitions producers that will permit to exclude these companies from the fund.Handicap International Luxembourg is still working on these issues and should organize, by the end of October a meeting gathering the various national stakeholders in order to continue the definition of the implementation of the ban on investments.Contact: Jérôme Bobin, Handicap International Luxembourg, jbobin@handicap-international.luThe Netherlands: In December 2009 a motion was passed in the Netherlands which called upon the government to prohibit investments in cluster munitions. However, in March 2010 the two responsible ministers wrote an extensive letter to the parliament stating that they would not implement this motion. On 22 September the issue was discussed again in Dutch parliament. IKV Pax Christi as well as 3 financial institutions (APG, ASN Bank and Mn Services) sent letters to the parliament to call for legislation on investments before the debate. During a 2 hour debate the Minister of Social Affairs Donner proved to be unwilling to make legislation because this would be "symbolic legislation with a possible counterproductive effect".The minister promised to investigate whether institutions that received financial aid from the government in the economic crisis have invested in cluster bombs. He will also look into the possibility to have the regulation that has been drawn up to combat child labour also apply to companies that invest in cluster-bombs. They then no longer receive a subsidy or are excluded from government contracts.There are still two motions on this issue on the table, which might be discussed again when the new government is well in place, and things have settled down a bit. IKV Pax Christi will continue to work, together with financial institutions and parliamentarians, towards legislation or rules to prevent Dutch investments in cluster munitions producers. Contact: Roos Boer, IKV Pax Christi: boer@ikvpaxchristi.nlDisinvestment media highlights:ABC News, 21 September 2010Greens push “ethical” investmentshttp://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/21/3017232.htmNIS News Bulletin, 24 September 2010No Dutch Ban on Investments in Cluster Munitionshttp://www.nisnews.nl/public/240910_1.htmON LINE opinion, 27 September 2010Should Australian savings be funnelled to cluster bomb manufacture?http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11014Joop (The Netherlands), 22 September 2010Clusterbommen: niet gebruiken en dus ook niet in investerenhttp://www.joop.nl/opinies/detail/artikel/clusterbommen_niet_gebruiken_en_dus_ook_niet_in_investeren/Vk.nl, 22 September 2010Geen verbod op investeringen clustermunitiehttp://www.volkskrant.nl/vk/nl/2686/Binnenland/article/detail/1025569/2010/09/22/Geen-verbod-op-investeringen-clustermunitie.dhtmlJoop (The Netherlands), 22 September 2010Kabinet weigert - wéér - verbod op investeren in clusterbommenhttp://www.joop.nl/politiek/detail/artikel/kabinet_weigert_weer_verbod_op_investeren_in_clusterbommen/****4. TAKE ACTIONUrge your government to or ratify or accede to the Convention on Cluster MunitionsThe Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is calling on signatories to ratify the Convention and on non-signatories to accede to the Convention. Since the Convention has now entered into force, non-signatories must accede rather than sign and ratify in separate steps.Push for high-level participation by your government at the First Meeting of States PartiesFollowing a Preparatory Meeting for the First Meeting of States Parties (1MSP) on 6 September in Geneva, the First Meeting of States Parties will be held from 9-12 November in Vientiane, Lao PDR.All states are invited, and the CMC is encouraging as many states as possible to send high-level representatives. Please encourage your government to attend this key meeting.Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.org****5. MEDIAMedia updateDuring September, the main media focus of the CMC was on planning for the First Meeting of States Parties. The media strategy around this key meeting includes the Bangkok launch of the first-ever Cluster Munition Monitor on 1 November, followed by a CMC media trip to affected communities and field sites in Laos. During the 1MSP, the CMC media and communications team will be on hand to assist campaigners in reaching out to their national media, and there will be an official press conference on the first day of the conference. The CMC will distribute a media advisory, press release and video news release in the run-up to the meeting and will issue a closing press release. All of these materials will be shared with the campaign.There were several pieces gearing up for the 1MSP and focusing on the extent of contamination in Lao PDR, including a Guardian op-ed on UXO clearance by Brett Dakin of Legacies of War, a short historical summary in India’s The Hindu and an in-depth feature article in the US magazine Hyphen on the ongoing cluster bomb problem in Laos.Contact: Conor Fortune, CMC staff: conor@stopclustermunitions.orgMedia highlights of the monthHyphen (USA), Autumn 2010Land of a million bombshttp://legaciesofwar.org/resources/books-documents/land-of-a-million-bombs/New Zealand International Review, September/October 2010Banning Cluster Munitions, by John BorrieSoon to be posted here: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/nziia/publications/nzir/issues.htRadio Vaticana, 25 September 2010Goodbye to cluster bombs?http://www.radiovaticana.org/EN1/articolo.asp?c=425142&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=South+African+CatholicUN News Centre, 24 September 2010Laos invites UN member states to meeting on convention on cluster munitionshttp://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=36166&Cr=laos&Cr1=Daily Star (Lebanon), 23 September 2010Yohyor mayor asks deminers to return after Hizbullah rowhttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=119600#axzz10LOSibnsThe New York Times “The Lede” blog, 17 September 2010Fun with rental bikes in Paris and Londonhttp://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/fun-with-rental-bikes-in-paris-and-london/UNDP Lao, 19 September 2010Entry into force: Cluster munitions conventionhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcKhHR1abYEThe Hindu (India), 16 September 2010Laos still grappling with war legacyhttp://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article669502.eceBottup (Spain), 13 September 2010Laos: el país que aprendió a reciclar bombashttp://www.bottup.com/201009136496/Global/el-pais-que-aprendio-a-reciclar-las-bombas.htmlRTBF (Belgium), 14 September 2010La Belgique a détruit toutes ses armes à sous-munitionshttp://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/defense/la-belgique-a-detruit-toutes-ses-armes-a-sous-munitions-254345UPI, 6 September 2010Coalition: cluster bomb threat must endhttp://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/09/06/Coalition-Cluster-bomb-threat-must-end/UPI-78971283790443/Asia Times, 4 September 2010New case for US reparations in Laoshttp://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/LI04Ae01.htmlThe Guardian “Comment is Free-America” blog, 2 September 2010Laos and the legacy of Vietnamhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/sep/02/laos-usa****6. UPCOMING EVENTSOctober 201019 Special event on the CCM, UN General Assembly First Committee, New York, NY, USANovember 20101 Cluster Munition Monitor launch, Bangkok, Thailand9-12 First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Vientiane, Lao PDR25-26 CCW Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, Switzerland29 Nov –3 Dec Tenth Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, SwitzerlandDecember 20103 Second anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference3 International Day of Persons with Disabilities