08 March 2011

CMC Newsletter February 2011

CMC February 2011 newsletterPSALM members in the West Virginia House of Delegates Photo credit: Nora Sheets (see story in campaign and country updates section below)1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSNetherlands ratifies global treaty banning cluster bombsThe Kingdom of the Netherlands ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 23 February 2011. The treaty will enter into force nationally on 1 August 2011, making the Netherlands the 52nd State Party."We are thrilled that the Netherlands has ratified the international treaty banning cluster bombs," said Miriam Struyk a CMC leader and senior policy advisor at IKV Pax Christi, which has pushed to ban cluster munitions in the Netherlands since 2003. "As a country that used cluster munitions in the past, it’s encouraging news that Dutch stockpiles of the weapon will now be destroyed. The Netherlands should play a leading role in bringing more countries on board the treaty and ensuring military allies never use the weapons. It should also remain one of the biggest donors for clearance of cluster munition-contaminated land."In the past, the Netherlands has produced, imported and reportedly exported cluster munitions. It used cluster munitions as part of NATO operations in Kosovo/Serbia in 1999. The Netherlands is in the process of destroying its stockpile of the weapon and has said it will finish ahead of the eight-year deadline under the Convention. Since signing the Convention in December 2008, the Netherlands has supported its humanitarian aims and committed to begin to work on its treaty obligations.In March 2007 a Dutch documentary on investments in cluster munitions producers by Dutch financial institutions sparked public outrage and led to a Parliamentary debate on the issue. Several Dutch financial institutions subsequently banned investment in companies that produce cluster munitions, but the Dutch government has yet to pass legislation to ban such investments, despite a majority of Parliamentarians voting in favor. An October 2009 report by IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen on worldwide investments in cluster munitions producers coincided with the launch of a CMC campaign promoting disinvestment from such companies."The Dutch government should help to stop the flow of funding to cluster munitions producers worldwide by banning all investments in those companies," said Struyk.The Netherlands is the 12th European Union member state to ratify the Convention - 20 out of 27 EU members have signed. In July 2010, the European Parliament passed a resolution urging all EU members to get on board the treaty "as a matter of urgency."The Netherlands signs the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Oslo Signing Ceremony in December 2008. Photo credit: CMCGhana ratifies Convention on Cluster MunitionsThe Republic of Ghana ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 February 2011. It is the 51st country worldwide and the 14th in Africa to ratify the lifesaving treaty."Ghana has shown its commitment to protecting civilians in armed conflict by ratifying the global treaty banning cluster bombs," said Theodora Williams, research officer at the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa, a CMC member that advocated for Ghana to ratify the Convention. "Now it must follow through by implementing the treaty and urging other countries to get on board the ban without delay."The 2008 Convention comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes ground-breaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 108 countries have signed the treaty, which entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010. Its historic First Meeting of States Parties was held from 9-12 November 2010 in Lao PDR – the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world.Ghana participated in the Oslo Process to negotiate and adopt the Convention on Cluster Munitions and attended the Convention’s First Meeting of States Parties. Ghana has said it has never used, produced or stockpiled cluster munitions.Almost the entire continent of Africa has either signed or ratified the Convention, and the CMC urges all remaining states in the region to get on board and begin to implement the treaty as soon as possible. Ghanaian CMC member FOSDA holds an event celebrating the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in August 2010. Photo credit: FOSDACMC pushes for an end to fruitless CCW debate on cluster munitionsA number of CMC campaigners attended the year’s first session of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Group of Governmental Experts, held in Geneva from 21-25 February 2011. This year, the CCW is preparing for its fourth Review Conference which takes place in November. The CMC called on the CCW to put an end to a decade of fruitless discussion on cluster munitions at the Review Conference, if not before. Over the years, the CCW has proven it is not capable of adequately addressing this issue with the urgency with which it ought to be dealt, while in stark contrast, the Convention on Cluster Munitions has already entered into force and is already making clear progress to address the deadly impact of cluster munitions.The full text of the opening remarks delivered by CMC Campaign Manager Laura Cheeseman on 21 February is available here: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=2906.Campaigners carried out lobbying and bilateral meetings with governments represented at the CCW meeting.The CCW Group of Governmental Experts meets at the UN in Geneva. Photo credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc FerreStates Parties prepare for the intersessional programme of work and the 2MSPOn 24 February 2011, Lao PDR in its capacity as President of the CCM, hosted open-ended informal consultations at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to prepare for the intersessional meetings on the CCM and the Second Meeting of States Parties (2MSP). States discussed the agenda for the CCM intersessional meeting in June which is an opportunity for states to take stock of progress and challenges in implementing the Convention with particular reference to the Vientiane Action Plan agreed at the 1MSP. States also discussed future treaty architecture such as thematic working groups and an implementation support unit. Lebanon gave an update on preparations for the 2MSP that will be held in Beirut from 12-16 September 2011. Minutes from this meeting and meetings of the Friends of the President can be found on www.clusterconvention.org2. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESCanada: Mines Action Canada (MAC) finished the selection process for its Young Professional Internship Program and would like to extend a big welcome to: Candice Botha (Zambian Campaign to Ban Landmines); Choloe Chapple and Adrian Gregorich (Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions); Dustin Ciufo and Katie Pitts (Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal); Rachael Dempsey and Ross Duncan (Colombian Campaign against Landmines); Jennifer Matthews (Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund); Tyler Morden (Uganda Landmine Survivors Association); and Tamana Zamir (Tajikistan Campaign to Ban Landmines).MAC is now preparing these 10 young professionals for their tasks and responsibilities in their host organisations. From 7-11 March 2011, the group will engage in independent study to familiarise themselves with the movements to ban landmines and cluster munitions, and to learn more about mine action, campaigning and victim assistance, as well as their host country. The following week they will gather in Ottawa for a week-long pre-departure briefing during which they will attend sessions led by external experts on various topics related to mine action and their internship, such as fundraising, public outreach and intercultural effectiveness. After 18 March, they will travel to the field to begin their internships.Contact: Jordan Nott, Mines Action Canada: Jordan@minesactioncanada.orgIndia: On 30 January 2011, the Indian Campaign to Ban Landmines & Cluster Munitions organised a Landmine and UXO Risk Education Workshop in the city of Pune in the western state of Maharashtra to train teachers and NGOs on various aspects of mine risk education (MRE). The workshop proved particularly interesting for teachers and NGOs from the border provinces of Rajasthan and Punjab, which are both affected by landmine contamination. On completing the session, many of the participants vowed to arrange further MRE/UXO workshops to educate other NGOs, fellow teachers and their students.Contact: Balkrishna Kurvey, Indian Campaign to Ban Landmines & Cluster Munitions: iipdep_ngp@sancharnet.in Landmine and UXO Risk Education Workshop in Pune Photo credit: Balkrishna KurveyIraq: On 28 February 2011, the Iraqi Alliance for Disability (IADO) held its annual celebration with support from the Kuwait Embassy in Baghdad. Speeches were given by Moaffak Alkhafaji from IADO, Iraqi MP Kheder Altaher and Kuwaiti Ambassador Ali Almoman. President of the Iraqi Parliament Osama Alnujafee also attended the event, which included music and a presentation of gifts.IADO celebration at the Kuwaiti Embassy Photo credit: Moaffak AlkhfajiContact: Moaffak Alkhajafi, IADO: maffak62@yahoo.comUnited States: On 26 February 2011, the West Virginia House of Delegates honoured students from the PSALM (Proud Students against Landmines) programme at St. Francis de Sales Central Catholic School in Morgantown, West Virginia in recognition of their ongoing efforts to ban landmines and cluster munitions and to help victims of the weapons. Local delegates escorted the PSALM students to the front of the House chamber, where they heard the reading of House Resolution 30 honouring their work and received a copy of the resolution. After the presentation, students told legislators why they participate in the campaigns to ban landmines and cluster munitions. Lexi, 10, held aloft a prosthetic leg and said that some landmine victims are too poor to afford high-quality prosthetics and must be fitted with wooden legs. "It's meaningful to us because we really want to ban these things [the mines]," she said.Contact: Contact: Nora Sheets, PSALM/WVCBL: noracat@yahoo.com PSALM members in the West Virginia House of Delegates Photo credit: Nora Sheets****3. DISINVESTMENTOn 12 February 2011, the CMC issued a disinvestment campaign update which included information on the launch of IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen’s updated research on investments in cluster munitions and the corresponding global day of action to stop explosive investments on 12 May 2011.The CMC plans to hold a series of webinars on disinvestment-related topics throughout 2011. The first of these, on "how to talk to financial institutions," will take place in on 16 or 17 March, depending on the participants’ availability. Questions addressed will be: What are we asking financial institutions to do? Who are the right people to target?How can we respond to frequently heard answers by financial institutions?To join the webinar, contact: Kimberly Brown, CMC staff: Kimberly@stopclustermunitions.org***4. TAKE ACTIONHelp promote the CCM at the Inter-Parliamentary Union General Assembly in PanamaThe CMC will participate in the 124th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Panama City from 15-20 April 2011 to promote the CCM to participating parliamentarians. Take action by finding out which parliamentarians from your country will be attending this event and informing CMC staff so that we can reach out to them in advance of, and during the General Assembly to engage them in CMC activities to promote the CCM.Contact: Kimberly Brown, CMC staff: Kimberly@stopclustermunitions.org1 August 2011: Plan a sports event to celebrate the first anniversary of the CCM’s entry into forceOn 1 August 2011, the CMC will mark the first anniversary of the Convention’s entry into force with campaign events worldwide. The CMC will call on all states to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and will mark this day with a sports theme. This theme was inspired by successful events such as the wheelchair basketball event held at the COPE reception during the First Meeting of States Parties in Lao PDR and the "Rumble in Cartagena" wheelchair rugby match on the sidelines of the Cartagena Summit on a mine-free world, which won the Sports Event for Peace Award 2010.Campaigners will be encouraged to organise or participate in sporting events including sports events for people with disabilities, as a way of celebrating the anniversary of the Convention’s entry into force and urging governments to join and implement the Convention.A logo and campaign slogan on this theme will be developed that can be used throughout 2011 and in particular on the 1 August campaign action day. An action alert on this day of action will soon be shared with the campaign. We welcome your input and ideas on a campaign slogan!Contact: Kimberly Brown, CMC staff: Kimberly@stopclustermunitions.orgUrge 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.Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.org****5. MEDIAMedia overviewEven though global news was dominated by the spreading social unrest in the Middle East and North Africa during February, cluster munitions-related scandals on three continents grabbed headlines regionally. Allegations of cluster munition use during the latest spat of a long-running Thai-Cambodia border conflict got widespread coverage, especially after the charges were brought before the UN Security Council. Media coverage cited officials’ concerns about the alleged use of banned weapons, and the Bangkok Post published a strong editorial calling on both countries to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.As Canada prepares national legislation to ratify the Convention, respected disarmament negotiator Earl Turcotte was stripped of his position as head of delegation to the CCW, reportedly for being "too aggressive" in criticising the draft text on cluster munitions being negotiated in that forum. Australia is also in the final stages of preparing its national ratification legislation, and CMC campaigners made national airwaves and headlines in their fight to correct some of the flaws in the draft bill. Meanwhile in Afghanistan, an IRIN article reported that the US and NATO troops no longer store cluster munitions on Afghan soil – something the US has yet to confirm.Contact: Conor Fortune, CMC staff, conor@stopclustermunitions.orgMedia highlights of the monthThe Age (Australia), 28 February 2011Cluster bombs loophole allegedhttp://www.theage.com.au/national/cluster-bombs-loophole-alleged-20110227-1b9ya.htmlThe Daily Star (Lebanon), 22 February 2011Child discovers cluster bomb, notifies UNIFILhttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=125161#axzz1EndJq8DVThe Bangkok Post (Thailand), 20 February 2011Sowing the seeds of a lengthy conflicthttp://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/222506/sowing-the-seeds-of-a-lengthy-conflictThe Bangkok Post (Thailand), 20 February 2011EDITORIAL: Sign Convention on Cluster Munitionshttp://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/222513/sign-convention-on-cluster-munitionsThe Guardian (United Kingdom), 19 February 2011Boycott the UK census over links to Lockheed Martin, protesters sayhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/feb/19/census-boycott-lockheed-martinReuters (Global news wire), 15 February 2011UN leaves Thai-Cambodia conflict to ASEANhttp://in.reuters.com/article/2011/02/14/idINIndia-54894420110214Inner City Press (United States), 14 February 2011As UN Council Rebuffs Cambodia on Peacekeepers, Thai Denial of Cluster Bombshttp://www.innercitypress.com/un4thaicam021411.htmlRadio Australia, 14 February 2011Cluster bomb charge in Thai-Cambodia disputehttp://www.radioaustralia.net.au/asiapac/stories/201102/s3138748.htmThe Daily Star (Lebanon), 14 February 2011Sayegh launches new project to help victims of cluster bombshttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=124863The Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), 10 February 2011Deminers outline cluster bomb planhttp://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2011021046716/National-news/deminers-outline-cluster-bomb-plan.htmlVoice of America Khmer Service (United States/Cambodia), 9 February 2011CMAC investigating cluster munition sitehttp://www.voanews.com/khmer-english/news/CMAC-Investigating-Cluster-Munition-Site-115634654.htmlThe Ottawa Citizen (Canada), 9 February 2011EDITORIAL: A deadly legacyhttp://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/deadly+legacy/4248171/story.htmlABC Radio National (Australia), 8 February 2011Australia’s commitment to the cluster munitions treatyhttp://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/stories/2011/3133370.htmThe Ottawa Citizen (Canada), 7 February 2011Treaty negotiator bounced for being ‘too tough, too aggressive’http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Treaty+negotiator+bounced+being+tough+aggressive/4234050/story.htmlIRIN news (Global news wire), 2 February 2011Afghanistan: US military denies keeping, using cluster munitionshttp://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=91806&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter****6. UPCOMING EVENTS2011 Global, regional and national datesFirst half 2011: Regional meeting on CCM in Guatemala (Marie Eugenia/Hector)Mar. 8: International Women’s DayMar: Mine action program managers’ meeting in GenevaMar/Apr: Inter-Arab Parliamentarian Union annual meeting in Doha, Qatar (Ghassan)Apr: Caribbean meeting on CCM in Antigua and Barbuda (Folade)Apr. 4: International Day for Mine ActionApril 15-20: 124th IPU General Assembly, PanamaMay: Central Asia, regional workshop on Victim Assistance, Tajikistan (Elke/Camille)May: Regional meeting on CCM in Nigeria – tentative (Mimidoo)May 12: Global Day of Action to Stop Explosive Investments/report launchMay 9-13: UN Programme of Action on Small Arms experts meeting in NYJun. 20-24: Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings in Geneva, SwitzerlandJun. 27-30: Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings in GenevaJul: African Union meetingJul. 11-15: Arms Trade Treaty 3rd preparatory meeting in NYAug: Iraqi Alliance for Disabilities annual conference in Baghdad (Muoffak)Aug 1: Convention on Cluster Munitions 1st anniversary EIFAug. 12: Remembrance action and one-month countdown to 2MSPAug 1-30: Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr on Tuesday, 30th August)Sep 7-9: Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities 4th conference in NYSep: 12-16: Convention on Cluster Munitions 2nd MSP in Beirut, LebanonSep. 21: International Peace DayOct. 3: Two-month countdown to 11MSPOct: First Committee (disarmament) of 66th UN General Assembly in NYNov. 14-25: Convention on Conventional Weapons 4th Review Conference in GenevaNov. 28-Dec. 2: Mine Ban Treaty 11th MSP in Phnom Penh, CambodiaDec: International Conference on AIDS in Africa incl. CRPD in Ethiopia (Daniel)