22 October 2008

CMC Report - Kampala Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Photos: Mary Wareham The Kampala Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions was the second all-African conference on cluster munitions, and one of a series of regional conferences taking place to build support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) Signing Conference which will be held in Oslo, Norway on 3 - 4 December 2008.Forty-two African states participated in the Kampala Conference: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia were represented by Ministers. Three core group countries also participated: Austria, Ireland and Norway, as well as representatives from international organisations including UNDP and the ICRC. The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) was represented by 80 campaigners from 26 countries, including: Algeria, Burundi, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Zambia as well as from Belgium, Canada, France, Poland, UK and the USA.The chair’s outcome document from the conference, Kampala Action Plan, urges all African nations to sign the Convention in Oslo and demonstrate the continent’s strong commitment to eradicate cluster munitions. Twenty-nine countries publicly announced they would sign the Convention when it opens for signature on 3 December in Oslo. Most of these states made this announcement for the first time, and included countries that were not part of the 107 countries in Dublin that adopted the Convention. The countries that announced they will sign in Oslo are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo, DR Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Uganda, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. Representatives from several other countries privately indicated that they would sign in Oslo.On 28 September, the day before the conference opened, CMC member, the Ugandan Landmine Survivors Association (ULSA), launched the People’s Treaty in Uganda collecting hundreds of signatures in support of the Convention. It was launched at a concert featuring famous musicians from Uganda and across the region including Phinato, Bobi Wine and the Firebase Crew, Sweet Kid, the Wat Mom Cultural Group, and national radio presenter Aloysious Matovu Junior. Deminers from the Uganda Mine Action Center gave a demonstration of how they carry out mine clearance. In the lead-up to the Kampala Conference, Richard Mugisha of the Ugandan NGO People with Disabilities convened a parliamentary workshop to secure Ugandan support for the cluster munition ban. CMC campaigner from Uganda, Margaret Arach Orech, gave an interview on Radio One, with Hon. Tarsis Kabwegyer, Ugandan Minister for Disaster Preparedness in the Office of the Prime Minister and Melissa Sabatier of UNDP. Margaret Arach Orech and CMC campaigner Robert Mtonga from Zambia also appeared on UBC the national television channel raising awareness on Cluster Munitions in Africa and its impact, and echoing the CMC call for States to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December in Oslo.The CMC would like express their thanks and appreciation to the ULSA team - Margaret Arach Orech, Matt Campbell, Geoffrey Muhumuza, and Richard Mugisha from People With Disabilities, for their organizational support, coordination with the government and work to support this conference and CMC’s participation, it was crucial to its success and very much appreciated. Read the full report here:CMC Report - Kampala Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions