30 September 2008


Photos: Mary Wareham10,000 Kilometre Expedition BeginsLaunch of The Ban Bus: An eight-week campaign trail through Europe to convince all governments to sign a groundbreaking treaty banning cluster bombs, in Oslo on December 3rd 2008. Beginning in Serbia and ending at the signing ceremony in Norway, the Ban Bus will rally public support for the treaty and turn the eyes of the world on governments who are resisting putting pen to paper and curbing ending the suffering of millions.Using sound, film and photo recording equipment, the Ban Bus will be recording its journey, collecting stories and generating a media storm in a bid to get every government to do the right thing and sign the treaty.WHEN:Wednesday 1st October: 19:00: High impact photo and filming opportunity: The bus will be launched at an evening event in Belgrade, featuring Serbian Hip Hop artist Marchelo, personal testimonies from cluster victims and speeches by Norwegian People's Aid.Thursday 2nd October: 14:00: Official Press Conference to mark the beginning of the epic journey.WHERE:Photo and filming opportunity (Wednesday): Belgrade, Republic Square (stage will be located next to the statue of the horse)Press Conference (Thursday): Belgrade: Hall Number 1, Level 2, Media Centre, Milentija Popovi?a 9 (Sava Center), 1070 Belgrade, Republic of SerbiaWHO:Ban Bus campaigners on the bus:

  • John Rodsted: Nobel-prize winning photographer and film maker with twenty years experience documenting cluster bombs worldwide
  • Mette Eliseussen: Journalist and founder of Save the Children Afghanistan
  • Daniel Barty: Award-winning Journalist and campaigner who has worked with survivors in Asia
  • Branislav Kaptanovic: Serbian cluster bomb survivor and Cluster Munition Coalition spokesperson
  • Gordana Milenkovic: International Committee of the Red Cross
CONTACT:In Serbia and on the bus: Daniel Barty, +381 (0)61 233 1169, media@thebanbus.orgIn London: Natalie Curtis, Cluster Munition Coalition: +44 (0)20 7820 0222 or + 44 (0) 7515 575174, Natalie@stopclustermunitions.orgMORE INFORMATION:Where and when is the Ban Bus going?1 Oct. (Weds) Belgrade, Serbia2 Oct. (Thurs) 14:00 Press conference Media Center. 18:00 Depart for Nis (231km drive)3 Oct (Fri) Nis, Serbia4 Oct (Sat) Rest Day5 Oct (Sun) Depart for Skopje (225km, 1 x border crossing)6 Oct (Mon) Skopje, FYR Macedonia7 Oct (Tues) Depart for Thessaloniki (234km, 3 hour drive, 1 x border)8 Oct (Weds) Thessaloniki, Greece9 Oct (Thurs) Depart for Athens (516km/5hrs)10 Oct (Fri) Athens, Greece11 Oct (Sat) Athens, Greece12 Oct (Sun) Rest Day13 Oct (Mon) Greece14 Oct (Tue) Greece15 Oct (Weds) Greece16 Oct (Thurs) Greece17 Oct (Fri) Depart for Istanbul (305 km/4hrs)18 Oct (Sat) Istanbul, Turkey19 Oct (Sun) Depart for Bucharest (674km/7h28, 2 x borders)20 Oct (Mon) Driving21 Oct (Tue) Bucharest, Romania22 Oct (Weds) Bucharest, Romania23 Oct (Thurs) Depart for Sofia (402 km/4h40, 1 x border)24 Oct (Fri) Sofia, Bulgaria25 Oct (Sat) Depart for Sarajevo (584 km/8h44, 2 x borders)26 Oct (Sun) Driving27 Oct (Mon) Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina28 Oct (Tues) Faith leader meeting. 16:00 Depart for Zagreb (539 km/4h45, 1 x border)29 Oct (Weds) Zagreb, Croatia30 Oct (Thurs) 12:00 Press conference. 16:00 Depart for Padua (401 km/4h, 2 x borders)31 Oct (Fri) Padua, Italy1 Nov (Sat) Depart for Geneva (547 km/5h31, 1 x border)2 Nov (Sun) Rest Day3 Nov (Mon) Geneva. Switzerland4 Nov (Tues) Depart for Munich (591 km/6h, 1 x border)5 Nov (Weds) Stuttgart, Germany6 Nov (Thurs) Depart for Vienna, Austria. (440km/4h, 1 x border)7 Nov (Fri) Vienna, Austria8 Nov (Sat) Depart for Bratislava (79 km)9 Nov (Sun) Rest Day10 Nov (Mon) Bratislava, Slovakia11 Nov (Tues) Depart for Krakow (367km/4h30, 1 x border)12 Nov (Weds) Krakow, Poland13 Nov (Thurs) Depart for Warsaw (271km/2h51)14 Nov (Fri) Warsaw, Poland15 Nov (Sat) Warsaw, Poland16 Nov (Sun) Rest Day17 Nov (Mon) Depart for Vilnius (436 km/6h22, 1 x border)18 Nov (Tues) Vilnius, Lithuania19 Nov (Weds) Depart for Riga (293 km/3h35, 1 x border)20 Nov (Thurs) Riga, Latvia21 Nov (Fri) Riga, Latvia22 Nov (Sat) Depart for Tallinn (315 km/4h47, 1 x border)23 Nov (Sun) Rest Day24 Nov (Mon) Tallinn, Estonia.25 Nov (Tues) 21:00 Depart for Helsinki (Ferry/2h28, 1 x border).26 Nov (Weds) Helsinki, Finland27 Nov (Thurs) Helsinki, Finland28 Nov (Fri) 17:30 Depart for Stockholm (24h, 1 x border)29 Nov (Sat) Rest Day30 Nov (Sun) Stockholm, Sweden1 Dec (Mon) Depart for Oslo (532 km/6h45)2 Dec (Tues) Oslo, NorwayWhat are cluster bombs?Cluster bombs or munitions are large weapons which are deployed from the air and from the ground and release up to hundreds of smaller submunitions. Submunitions released by airdropped cluster bombs are often called "bomblets," while those delivered from the ground by artillery or rockets are usually referred to as "grenades."What's the problem with this weapon?Air-dropped or ground-launched, they cause two major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians. First, their widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme, especially when the weapon is used in or near populated areas. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended. These duds are more lethal than antipersonnel mines; incidents involving submunition duds are much more likely to cause death than injury.Who has used cluster munitions?At least 14 countries have used cluster munitions: Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Israel, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia (USSR), Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, UK, US, and FR Yugoslavia. A small number of non-state armed groups have used the weapon (such as Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006). Billions of submunitions are stockpiled by some 76 countries. A total of 34 states are known to have produced over 210 different types cluster munitions. More than two dozen countries have been affected by the use of cluster munitions including Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Croatia, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Grenada, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam, as well as Chechnya, Falkland/Malvinas, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Western Sahara.Why is a ban on cluster munitions necessary?Simply put, cluster munitions kill and injure too many civilians. The weapon caused more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system. Cluster munitions stand out as the weapon that poses the gravest dangers to civilians since antipersonnel mines, which were banned in 1997. Yet there is currently no provision in international law to specifically address problems caused by cluster munitions. Israel's massive use of the weapon in Lebanon in August 2006 resulted in more than 200 civilian casualties in the year following the ceasefire and served as the catalyst that propelled governments to ban the weapon in 2008.What is the Oslo Process?In February 2007, 46 governments met in Oslo to endorse a call by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre to conclude a new legally binding instrument in 2008 that prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians and provide adequate resources to assist survivors and clear contaminated areas. Subsequent International Oslo Process meetings were held in Peru (May 2007), Austria (Dec. 2007), and New Zealand (Feb. 2008). 107 countries negotiated and adopted a treaty that bans cluster bombs and provides assistance to affected communities in May 2008 in Dublin. The Convention on Cluster Munitions will be opened for signature in Oslo, Norway on 3 December 2008, the international day for persons with disabilities.States that adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions (107)Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYR), Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Zambia.Ban Bus Media Advisory (pdf)