11 October 2011

CMC Newsletter September 2011

CMC September newsletterHandicap International pyramid of shoes event in Paris that took place on 24 September. Similar events took place in 31 French cities to show solidarity with victims of landmines and cluster munitions, as well as to remind states of their responsibilities under the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Photo credit: Handicap International (see Campaign and Country Updates section below for more information)1. INTERNATIONAL NEWS Record number of new States Parties during month of SeptemberThere were two accessions and three ratifications during the month of September bringing the number of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions up to 66.Afghanistan, Italy and the Czech Republic ratified the Convention on 8, 21 and 22 September respectively. Swaziland acceded to the Convention at the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 13 September and Trinidad and Tobago acceded on 21 September.With Italy and Czech Republic on board, 17 of 28 NATO members are now States Parties to the Convention. Another three NATO members have signed but not yet ratified and eight NATO members remain completely outside the Convention. Italy is a current stockpiler and former producer of cluster munitions and is now obligated to destroy its stocks as soon as possible, but no later than eight years after becoming a State Party. The Czech Republic is not believed to have used or produced cluster munitions, but has stockpiled them in the past. In 2010, the Czech Republic announced that it had already completed destruction of its stocks, even prior to ratification.Since Afghanistan is a country where cluster munitions have been used, thousands of people are currently living with injuries from cluster munitions and other remnants of war. Now that Afghanistan is a State Party, the rights and welfare of those affected by cluster munitions will be protected under international law.Swaziland deposited its instrument of accession at the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions that took place in Lebanon from 12-16 September (see next article). In front of the hundreds of delegates at the meeting, Swaziland’s Director of UN Military Affairs, Mr. John Mandla Msibi, handed his government’s accession instrument over to the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament, Sergio Duarte. Swaziland and Trinidad and Tobago are the second and third countries to accede to the Convention after Grenada’s accession on 29 June 2011. Since the Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010 new countries must join the ban treaty through a process of accession, which is a one-step process combining signature and ratification.All five countries will formally become States Parties to the Convention on 1 March 2012 after the waiting period mandated by the Convention.For more information on these five new States Parties read the web stories:Afghanistan SwazilandTrinidad and TobagoItalyCzech RepublicMore than 130 states attend Second Meeting of States Parties in BeirutThe Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in September was hailed as a success and resulted in a strong international declaration to rid the world of cluster munitions.The 90 States Parties and signatories to the Convention at the meeting adopted the Beirut Declaration, which notes the lifesaving gains already made by the comprehensive ban. It also strongly condemns the use of cluster munitions by any actor, anywhere.The conference in Beirut, capital of heavily cluster munition-affected Lebanon, was attended by representatives from more than 130 states and hundreds of civil society campaigners from all over the world.Amongst these were cluster bombs survivors, and families of people killed by this indiscriminate weapon, from Lao PDR, Vietnam, Serbia, Ethiopia, Lebanon, the United States and Iraq, amongst many other countries.During the meeting countries announced promising progress they have made to fulfill their treaty obligations, or how they intend to become full States Parties to the Convention. In addition, it appears that those States Parties contaminated by cluster munitions should be able to finish clearance operations before the Convention’s 10-year deadline, with the exception of Lao PDR, the most heavily-affected country in the world.States also pledged to expand their victim assistance programs, although much more needs to be done. CMC cluster munition survivors issued a Victim’s Declaration calling on governments to "move beyond words and take action."Representatives from 40 countries who have not yet joined the Convention came to the conference as observers. Delegates from Malaysia, Gabon, Kiribati, Tajikistan and newly independent South Sudan all indicated that they plan to accede to the Convention.For more information see:The CMC’s closing press releaseThe 2MSP webpageCMC’s Flickr account with photos from the meetingStorifyCMC’s Facebook pageCMC’s Twitter account2. TAKE ACTION(UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security – 3 October – 1 November 2011The First Committee on Disarmament and International Security is being held in the coming weeks. At the First Committee, governmental disarmament representatives give statements, hold discussions and adopt or vote on resolutions related to disarmament.TAKE ACTION!Take action, to make the most of this opportunity. Contact your Ministry of Foreign Affairs NOW and urge your country to:PROMOTE universalisation and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), in accordance with their Article 21 obligations, by making special reference to the Convention in speeches at the UNGA and First Committee.The ICBL-CMC will have a small team of staff and campaigners in New York from 16 - 21 October doing advocacy on the universalization and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including urging Convention on Cluster Munitions States to defend CCM standards during the upcoming Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) 4th Review Conference negotiations on a possible new protocol on cluster munitions.For more information on this event and how to coordinate advocacy activities, contact Amy Little, CMC Campaign Manager: amy@icblcmc.orgConvention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) 4th Review ConferenceTAKE ACTION!Negotiations on cluster munitions within the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) have been on-going for a number of years. During the upcoming CCW 4th Review Conference in Geneva from 14-25 November 2011, States Parties to the CCW are attempting to secure agreement on a draft text for a proposed new protocol on cluster munitions. The CMC is concerned that as currently drafted, this protocol would lead to an increase in the use and production of cluster munitions.Your government will have been sent an invitation to attend the 4th Review Conference. If you are from a CCM State, contact your Ministry of Foreign Affairs NOW and urge them to engage in these crucial negotiations and uphold the standards expected by the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Even if you are not from a CCW state party, your country can attend as an observer. Check here to find out if your country is a CCW state party. States need to register with the CCW Secretariat by Friday, 28 October 2011.States should contact:CCW Implementation Support UnitUN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Geneva BranchOffice C. 115, Palais des NationsCH-1211 Geneva 10, SwitzerlandFax : +41 (0) 22 917 00 54, E-mail : ccw@unog.chAn Action Alert on the CCW 4th Review Conference will be sent out soon.For more information on this event and how to coordinate advocacy activities, contact Amy Little, CMC Campaign Manager: amy@icblcmc.org and / or Susan B. Walker, CMC Senior Government Liaison Officer: susan@icblcmc.org3. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESCambodia: A regional seminar on "Addressing the Human Costs of Anti-personnel Landmines" took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 20-21 September 2011. The meeting was organized by the Royal Government of Cambodia, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). At the meeting, Mr. Chan Neang who is a member of the Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines and a landmine survivor delivered a statement that can be viewed hereParticipants at the workshop in Siem Reap. Photo credit: CMACA Land Release workshop took place from 19 to 21 September in Siem Reap and was hosted by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre. The workshop’s purpose was to clarify the current terms and learn through shared experience and knowledge of different de-mining organization around the world.Contact : Denise Coghlan, Jesuit Refugee Service, denisecoghlan@yahoo.com.auFrance: On Saturday 24 September, Handicap International organised its 17th Pyramid of Shoes against landmines and cluster munitions in 31 French cities. This event aimed to show solidarity with the victims of these weapons, as well as to remind states of their responsibilities under the two treaties.During the day, hundreds of volunteers were mobilised all over the country and 52,000 new signatures of the HI petition against landmines and cluster munitions were collected. The petition calls on all States to join the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions and to immediately implement their obligations. In total, since the first petition against landmines was launched, it has collected to date more than 2 million signatures.This event also sought to inform the public about the danger of landmines and cluster munitions with a specific focus on their impact on development, to organise clearance exhibitions, and to work with musicians and artists to raise awareness. The events generated strong media coverage, with around 800 media reports including by major TV channels and radios.Contact: Marion Libertucci, Handicap International, mlibertucci@handicap-international.orgIndia: To mark the annual International Day of Peace on 21 September 2011, campaigners in India organised a conference on Women, Peace and Disarmament. The conference honoured national women-led initiatives for peace and humanitarian disarmament efforts. It was hosted by the Control Arms Foundation of India, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, WISCOMP & United Nations Information Centre in New Delhi. Delegates discussed the success of the Mine Ban Treaty, ongoing work on the Cluster Munition Convention, current efforts on an Arms Trade Treaty and nuclear non-proliferation.Contact: Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India, Binalakshmi@gmail.comIraq: Under the patronage of the Minister of Environment, a national conference took place in Northern Iraq attended by ministries, local government representatives, international organisations, local organisations and the media. The recommendations of the conference included a focus on victim assistance – with recommendations on the rights and needs of landmine and cluster munition survivors. Campaigners urged for a strategy to help persons with disabilities in all parts of Iraq and called on Iraq to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions and accede to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Contact: Moaffak Alkhfaji, Iraqi Alliance for Disability (IADO), maffak62@yahoo.comNorway: Kimberly Brown, ICBL-CMC Campaign Officer visited the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway on 30 September to give a presentation on landmines and cluster munitions.Presentation at the United World College. Photo credit: UWC The 200 students at the college are from more than 80 countries and are given places based on personal merit irrespective of race, religion, politics and the ability to pay, with the explicit aim of fostering peace and international understanding. Kimberly spoke about the ICBL and the CMC and shared information with students about the Mines Action Canada youth network and the upcoming NRK Telethon in Norway. The telethon is the world’s largest voluntary community initiative and this year the funds raised goes to CMC member Norwegian People’s Aid’s work to clear mines, cluster munitions and other remnants of war and conflict.Contact: Kimberly Brown, ICBL-CMC, Kimberly@icblcmc.org****4. MONITOR CORNERCluster Munition Monitor 2011 will be globally released during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland on 16 November. The report will be available in print and will be available free online in HTML, PDF, and ebook formats.To place an advance order to purchase a printed copy of Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 click hereThe Monitor held an oral briefing on the major findings of Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 at the Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties in Beirut. The Monitor released factsheets at the meeting, however the full report will not be available until its global release on 16 November.****5. DISINVESTMENTThe Netherlands: On 16 September, IKV Pax Christi hosted a side event on disinvestment during the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Beirut, Lebanon. The event focused on the Stop Explosive Investments campaign and the latest findings from the 2011 IKV Pax Christi/Netwerk Vlaanderen report "Worldwide investments in cluster munitions; a shared responsibility". The panel comprised of Roos Boer (IKV Pax Christi) who presented the findings of the new report and detailed information about existing legislation, legislative proposals and initiatives, and interpretive statements of various countries to prohibit investments in cluster munition producers, Kimberly Brown (Cluster Muntion Coalition) who spoke about the evolvement of the international Stop Explosive Investments campaign, and Thomas Nash (Article 36 UK) who gave an update of the recent success of campaigning in the UK which resulted in a policy u-turn by the Royal Bank of Scotland on investment in cluster munitions. The panel was chaired by Paul Hannon (Mines Action Canada). The side event was well attended by both government delegations as well as interested campaigners.Contact: Miriam Struyk, IKV Pax Christi, struyk@ikvpaxchristi.nlNew Zealand: On 2 September 2011, the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition issued a letter and press release calling on the government to undertake measures to ensure compliance with the 2009 law prohibiting investment in the development and production of cluster bombs. In a letter to the Minister of Finance and Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, the ANZCMC has requested that the government ensure that New Zealand investors, including state owned enterprises and crown financial institutions such as the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, comply with the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act 2009, which governs New Zealand’s implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The action was undertaken after the Green Party reported on 26 August that the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZS) is being invested in five companies "that have involvement in the production of cluster bombs."For more information click here 6. MEDIAMedia overviewThanks to the Second Meeting of States Parties in September there were dozens of media reports on the Cluster Munition Coalition and the Convention in multiple languages all over the world. Here is a selection of some of the English reports:BBC, 13 SeptemberCluster bombs: Lebanon conference aims for eradicationMonsters and Critics, 13 SeptemberDestruction of stockpiles urged at Beirut cluster bombs conventionThe Daily Star, 14 SeptemberNew pledges for cluster bomb conventionTehran Times, 14 SeptemberLebanon hosts conference on cluster munitionsIslamic Republic News Agency, 14 SeptemberAfghanistan ratifies Convention on Cluster MunitionsThe Daily Star, 16 SeptemberAnti-cluster bomb convention has competitionThe National, 16 SeptemberAll-female bomb disposal team is making Lebanon’s fields saferThe Daily Star (Lebanon), 16 SeptemberNorwegian official: Lebanon symbolizes need for cluster munitions banBikyamasr, 19 SeptemberCluster bomb conference step in the right directionTehran Times, 17 SeptemberBeirut conference calls for ban on cluster bombsContact: Kate Wiggans, CMC Media and Communications Manager, kate@icblcmc.org****7. UPCOMING EVENTS2011 Global, regional and national datesOct: First Committee (disarmament) of 66th UN General Assembly in NYNov. 14-25: Convention on Conventional Weapons 4th Review Conference in GenevaNov. 16: Geneva, Cluster Munition Monitor global report launch. Contact monitor@icblcmc.orgNov. 23: Bangkok, Landmine Monitor global report launch. Contact monitor@icblcmc.orgNov. 28-Dec. 2: Mine Ban Treaty 11th MSP in Phnom Penh, CambodiaDec. 3: International Day of Persons with DisabilitiesDec. 3: Three-year anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing ConferenceDec. 10: Human Rights Day 2011