09 February 2011

CMC Newsletter January 2011

CMC January newsletter1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSCampaigners grateful to outgoing CMC coordinatorThomas Nash stepped down as coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) on 31 January 2011 after seven years of inspiring leadership of the global campaign to ban cluster bombs. Under his direction, the CMC grew immensely from its founding in 2003 through the negotiation, adoption and entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

"Thomas’s incredible range of skills, along with his boundless energy, keen insights and political judgement, were absolutely essential to the great success of the Cluster Munition Coalition," said Steve Goose, chair of the CMC.
A New Zealand native, Nash, 31, graduated from Victoria University of Wellington in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French. He went on to serve as executive assistant to disarmament Ambassador Clive Pearson at New Zealand’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, where he worked on issues including the small arms trade and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. His work on the latter introduced him to members of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).After marrying Paula Eyzaguirre in 2003, Nash relocated to Ottawa, Canada where he worked for ICBL member Mines Action Canada on the campaign to ban cluster munitions, which was formally launched at the end of that year. Nash took on coordination of the CMC in 2004, a position he held for the next seven years.During the campaign’s initial years, Nash worked with a steering committee of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to grow the movement and advocate for international action to stop civilian harm caused by cluster munitions. He documented the humanitarian impact of Israel’s use of cluster munitions in Lebanon, including during the August 2006 conflict. On behalf of the CMC, Nash worked closely with the government of Norway as it launched the diplomatic Oslo Process to create an international treaty to tackle the weapon. He engaged with other core group governments as they steered the process through Lima, Vienna, Wellington, and other capitals to the May 2008 adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dublin, Ireland.Since the Convention opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008, Nash has worked to ensure its universalisation and implementation. For many, he has been the public face of the CMC, serving as an interlocutor with governments and key partners, as well as a spokesperson at diplomatic meetings and in the media.
"The battle to ban cluster munitions was a tough one, and Thomas’s job as CMC coordinator has been stressful and demanding," said Grethe Ostern of Norwegian People’s Aid, a former CMC co-chair. "But every single day of these years he has achieved his goals whilst also treating all people with respect and kindness."
Nash announced his decision to step down as CMC coordinator following the close of the historic First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, held in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010. He intends to remain active on issues related to the CMC’s work through a new initiative to confront the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. He will continue to work from the offices of London-based Action on Armed Violence, where the CMC has been based since 2005.In a farewell message to campaigners, Nash described the experience of coordinating the CMC as "the most enriching endeavour I have ever undertaken." He called on all members of the CMC and its sister organisation, the ICBL, to "remain as determined and energetic as you have always been in carrying forward the work to eradicate mines and cluster bombs."A recruitment process is under way to hire a new CMC director, who will join the staff team coordinating the global campaigns to ban landmines and cluster munitions. The CMC will carry on the work Nash led to urge as many countries as possible to join and fully implement the cluster munition ban.Thomas Nash speaks at the South East Asia Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Xiengkhuang, Lao PDR in October 2008. Photo Credit: Stanislas FradeliziEl Salvador ratifies cluster bomb ban treatyThe Republic of El Salvador ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 10 January 2011. El Salvador will become the 50th state party to the treaty once it enters into force nationally on 1 July 2011.
"El Salvador has sent a strong signal that it stands in solidarity with cluster bomb victims and affected communities around the world," said Jesús Martínez, a landmine survivor and director of Red de Sobrevivientes y Personas con Discapacidad, which has advocated for El Salvador to sign and ratify the Convention. "Most of Latin America has now joined this treaty, and the few holdouts should get on board to end the suffering caused by cluster bombs."
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 groundbreaking 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.El Salvador actively participated in the Oslo Process that produced the Convention and was among the 94 countries that signed the treaty in Oslo on 3 December 2008. El Salvador has never used, produced, transferred or stockpiled cluster munitions. A state party to the Mine Ban Treaty, El Salvador has at least 3,158 survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war left over from an internal armed conflict from 1980-1992.In the Americas, 19 countries have signed the Convention and eight Latin American countries have ratified (Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay). Brazil, the only remaining producer of cluster bombs in the region, and Argentina, a former producer and stockpiler, have yet to sign the Convention.Campaigners in El Salvador mark the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in August 2010.Pacific campaigner Andy Piau-LynchPacific campaigner Andonia Sema Piau-Lynch passed away peacefully on Saturday, 29 January 2011 in Port Vila, Vanuatu after a painful battle with cancer. In addition to her crucial work advancing the rights of persons with disabilities and women in Vanuatu and across the Pacific, Andy made important contributions to the International Campaigns to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). As national coordinator of the NGO Disability Promotion & Advocacy Association (DPA), Andy successfully lobbied for the government of Vanuatu to ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty on 16 September 2005 and the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 23 October 2008. Andy urged Vanuatu to support a strong treaty to ban cluster munitions during the Oslo Process, but still Vanuatu has not yet joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Read more about Andy on the ANZCMC website here: http://www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz/2011/01/30/vanuatu-campaigner-andy-piau-lynch/#more-557CMC staff participate in 2MSP advance missionFrom 13-15 December 2010, CMC staff Laura Cheeseman, Alexandra Hiniker and Thomas Nash joined the United Nations and Norway representatives on an advance mission to Beirut to prepare for the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (2MSP) to be hosted and presided over by Lebanon in from 12-16 September 2011.The advance mission took place in a very positive atmosphere with open, informal, frank and wide-ranging discussions with all partners. The programme focused on high-level political meetings, but also covered initial discussions on logistics, organisation, resources, procedural matters, substance, and communications. There is already a strong sense of teamwork between Lebanon, the UN and the CMC nationally and internationally, with CMC set to be closely integrated within the coordination structures and part of the organising committee to be established by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Following the change of government in Lebanon and the appointment of a new prime minister in January 2011, the political situation has been somewhat uncertain, but there has been no indication that the 2MSP will not go ahead in Beirut in September 2011.CMC staff and Lebanese campaigners in Beirut. Photo credit: CMC2. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESAustralia: The photo exhibition Untold Stories opened in Brisbane on Saturday 22 January. All of the images, which showed mixed stories of Cambodian life covering poverty, disability, development and the landmine and cluster munition issue, are the work of Griffith University student photographers taught by John Rodsted. The work was a result of a trip to Cambodia in January 2010, when the students collaborated with many NGOs on a range of issues. The exhibition opening was a huge success, especially because the part of Brisbane where it took place was impacted by devastating floods a week before the opening. Australian MP Teresa Gambaro and Rodsted spoke to a packed house. Untold Stories will stay open for a month and teachers and students will give several floor talks each week. There has been strong media interest in the exhibition.Contact: John Rodsted, BanBus, Rodsted@gmail.comInvitation to the photo exhibition in BrisbaneCanada: In January, Mines Action Canada (MAC) completed the first phase of a recruitment process to select young Canadians to be a part of the next cohort of mine action interns, known as the Young Professionals (YPs). Over the coming weeks, MAC will conduct interviews with shortlisted candidates. The Government of Canada provides financial support for the YP programme through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). YPs who are selected will be entrusted with real responsibilities in placements at mine action organisations worldwide. Past YPs have gone on to accomplish great things in various fields in the not-for-profit, public and private sectors in Canada and abroad.This year, YPs will be placed with the following organisations:
  • Cambodia (Phnom Penh): Jesuit Refugee Service of Cambodia (JRS-CAM) (March 2011-August 2011),
  • Cambodia (Phnom Penh): Jesuit Refugee Service of Cambodia (JRS-CAM) (mid-July 2011-mid-December 2011),
  • Colombia (Medellin): Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas (CCCM)
  • Colombia (Bogota): Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas (CCCM)
  • Nepal (Kathmandu): Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL)
  • Tajikistan (Dushanbe): Tajikistan Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • Uganda (Kampala): Uganda Landmine Survivors Association (ULSA)
  • Vietnam (Hue): Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF)
  • Zambia (Lusaka): Zambian Campaign to Ban Landmines (ZCBL)
Contact: Jordan Nott, Mines Action Canada: Jordan@minesactioncanada.orgGermany: After 15 years in operation, the German coalition ActionGroup Landmine.de (Aktionsbündnis Landmine.de) decided to dissolve at the end of 2010. Landmine.de was the driving force in Germany for both the Ottawa and Oslo processes, and the group received widespread recognition for its work, including the 2009 "Wilhelm-Dröscher Prize" from Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the 2010 Henry Mathews Prize. A number of Landmine.de members will continue to campaign on landmines and cluster munitions nationally and within the CMC and ICBL including CMC-member Handicap International Germany. In close cooperation with new partners including CMC-member Netwerk Vlaanderen Thomas Kuechenmeister started the new alliance "FACING FINANCE," which will campaign against unethical investments. Facing Finance intends to apply for CMC membership and will collaborate with CMC members on the disinvestment campaign.Web: http://www.facing-finance.org/ (under construction and currently only available in German)Contact: Thomas Küchenmeister, Facing Finance: thomas.kuechenmeister@googlemail.comIraq: On 15 January, Iraqi parliamentarian Abdul Khider Altaher visited the Baghdad headquarters of the Iraqi Alliance for Disability (IADO). During his visit he met with a group of landmine and cluster bomb survivors and discussed his plan to support IADO’s campaigning work. IADO asked him to lobby in parliament for Iraq to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Iraq, which is affected by cluster munition contamination, signed the CCM on 12 November 2009.Contact: Moaffak Alkhfaji, IADO, maffak62@yahoo.comIraqi Alliance for Disability (IADO) members and Iraqi parliamentarian Abdul Khider Altaher at the IADO headquarters in Baghdad. Photo credit: Moaffak AlkhfajiThe Netherlands: On 18 January, the Dutch Senate approved the ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The ratification will now be published in the State Courant, after which the ratification instrument will be deposited. No implementation legislation is required in the Netherlands, but an extensive explanatory note to the ratification serves as a guideline for implementation. The Senate welcomed ratification but asked the Dutch government to further investigate investments in cluster munitions producers and the transit of cluster munitions and respond on both issues. The government’s previous position was against prohibition of either. On 28 January, the Minister of Finance responded with a letter in which he stated that the Dutch government is willing to investigate if it can facilitate a process for financial institutions to draw up a disinvestment memorandum of understanding, or a letter of intent for financial institutions to prevent investments in cluster munitions. The government will investigate the effectiveness of the memorandum of understanding after three years to see if further steps are necessary. The Minister’s proposal derives from the Dutch government’s position that the primary responsibility for disinvestment lies with the financial institutions. In a separate letter of 31 January, the Dutch government also clarified its position on transit saying that it will actively strive to prevent transit of cluster munitions through or over Dutch soil unless it deems it a necessary compliance with alliance agreements. The senate will discuss both letters in the coming month(s) and will assess if the tabled motions on a prohibition on direct disinvestment and a general prohibition on transit will be brought to a vote. IKV Pax Christi is pleased that the Netherlands is ready to deposit its instrument of ratification, but is at the same time disappointed by the lack of urgency and willingness to take responsibility to prevent financing and transit of cluster munitionsContact: Miriam Struyk, IKV Pax Christi, struyk@ikvpaxchristi.nlUnited Kingdom: Handicap International has launched a new teaching tool on landmines and cluster munitions. Aimed at 11-16 year-olds, the interactive DVD and website tell the story of how the actions of ordinary people around the world led to the international treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions. The resource shows young people how they can become active global citizens, encouraging them to take action to raise awareness about these indiscriminate weapons. Produced in English, French and German, the DVD is available to teachers and campaigners in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. For more information, and to use the online version of the tool, please visit www.clusterbombs.orgContact: Tom Shelton, Handicap International UK, tom.shelton@hi-uk.org‘Beky’ – the mascot of HI’s new teaching tool****3. DISINVESTMENTThe legislation page on the Stop Explosive Investments website has recently been updated and now includes further information on legislation, ministerial statements, parliamentary initiative and statements.Visit this link to view the updated information: www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/legislationThree new web stories have been posted on the Stop Explosive Investments website. The web stories include information on countries speaking out on disinvestment at the First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane and campaigning updates from Australia and Switzerland. To view these stories visit http://www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/newsDisinvestment media highlightsResponsible investor, 19 December 2010Dutch MP calls for annual ‘name-and-shame’ after TV doc reveals controversial charity investmentshttp://www.responsible-investor.com/home/article/dutch_mp/Aftenposten, 20 January 201107/11/2007: NORWAY AND SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDShttp://www.aftenposten.no/spesial/wikileaksdokumenter/article3997255.eceEthical Corporation, 7 January 2011Sustainable business and finance: Can investors save the world?http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=7229***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.Contact: Laura Cheeseman, CMC staff: laura@stopclustermunitions.org****5. MEDIAJanuary was a relatively quiet month for CMC media outreach, but the cluster munition issue remained in the news. Multiple follow-on stories from the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Laos came out this month, including a comprehensive ABC Radio Australia report interviewing several CMC members in Laos and a profile story in the Sierra Club’s bi-monthly membership magazine.Diplomatic cables on cluster munitions shared by WikiLeaks continued to make the news in Brazil, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway, while national developments or cluster bomb incidents garnered coverage in Azerbaijan, Canada, Lebanon, Spain and Peru.Contact: Conor Fortune, CMC staff, conor@stopclustermunitions.orgMedia highlights of the monthSierra Magazine (United States), Jan.-Feb. 2011Life after wartimehttp://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/201101/laos.aspxThe Ottawa Citizen (Canada), 28 January 2011Has the defence department decided it can live with a cluster munitions treaty or has it been able to overrule Foreign Affairs?http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/archive/2011/01/28/has-the-defence-department-decided-it-can-live-with-a-cluster-munitions-treaty-or-has-it-been-able-to-overrule-foreign-affairs.aspx?B92 (Serbia), 26 January 2011NATO’s cluster bombs to be removedhttp://www.b92.net//eng/news/society-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=01&dd=26&nav_id=72353Now! Lebanon, 26 January 2011Cluster bomb explodes in Tripolihttp://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=234465El País (Spain), 26 January 2011España prohíbe a los aviones de EE UU repostar sobre su territoriohttp://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Espana/prohibe/aviones/EE/UU/repostar/territorio/elpepuesp/20110126elpepunac_13/TesABC Radio Australia, 26 January 2011Deadly cluster bomb legacy in Laoshttp://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201101/3122256.htmEl Comercio (Peru), 22 January 2011Positivo balance de la visita de Estado a Chilehttp://elcomercio.pe/opinion/702274/noticia-editorial-positivo-balance-visita-estado-chileNow! Lebanon, 19 January 2011Cluster bomb found in southern townhttp://nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=231856Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), 18 January 2011Fabricante de material bélico Avibrás teve medidas de segurança avaliadashttp://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/861936-fabricante-de-material-belico-avibras-teve-medidas-de-seguranca-avaliadas-leia.shtmlBBC Radio 4 (United Kingdom), 15 January 2011Laos seeks prosperity in private enterprisehttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9360746.stmABC Radio "The World Today" (Australia), 11 January 2011Sounds of summer: Deadly legacy of US cluster bombs in Laoshttp://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3111191.htmScoop.nz (New Zealand), 10 January 2011WikiLeaks: NZ, cluster munitions and interoperabilityhttp://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1101/S00109/wikileaks-nz-cluster-munitions-and-interoperability.htmRadio France Internationale (RFI), 9 January 2011Bombes à sous-munitionshttp://www.rfi.fr/node/379792News.az (Azerbaijan), 7 January 2011Azerbaijan to complete UXO clearance project in Mayhttp://www.news.az/articles/society/29417The Uptake (United States), 5 January 2011Vietnam war bombs still killing childrenhttp://theuptake.org/2011/01/05/vietnam-war-bombs-still-killing-children/****6. UPCOMING EVENTSDecember 20102011 Global DatesFeb. 28-Mar. 4: Arms Trade Treaty 2nd preparatory meeting in New York (NY)Mar. 1: Mine Ban Treaty anniversary (1999 – 12th year)Mar. 8: International Women’s DayMar: Mine action program managers’ meeting in GenevaApr. 4: International Day for Mine ActionApr: 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. 11-15: Arms Trade Treaty 3rd preparatory meeting in NYAug 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, Cambodia2011 National and Regional DatesFirst half 2011: Regional meeting on CCM in Guatemala (Marie Eugenia/Hector)Feb. 17-18: SEHLAC workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Maria Pia)Feb: Regional ATT meeting in MoroccoMar: Pacific regional workshop on CCM and MBT in Fiji – tentative (Ema)Apr: Caribbean meeting on CCM in Antigua and Barbuda (Folade)Mar/Apr: Inter-Arab Parliamentarian Union annual meeting in Doha, Qatar (Ghassan)May: Central Asia, regional workshop on Victim Assistance, Tajikistan (Elke/Camille)May: Regional meeting on CCM in Nigeria – tentative (Mimidoo)Jul: African Union meetingAug: Iraqi Alliance for Disabilities annual conference in Baghdad (contact Muoffak)Dec: International Conference on AIDS in Africa incl. CRPD in Ethiopia (Daniel)