31 October 2008

Global Week of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs - Update Day 4

Thursday, 30 October 2008Read about actions and events that took place on Thursday, 30 October:Azerbaijan hold meetings in BakuThe Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines has had a number of successful meetings with decision-makers this week in Baku. Visits were also made to the Norwegian Embassy and the Head of the ICRC delegation who secured their participation in the upcoming roundtable also planned for this week.Bangladesh: Letter handed over to Foreign MinistryOn 29 October, LGSA met with representatives at the Foreign Ministry to hand over a letter to the Director General of the UN division, and discussed the upcoming signing conference in Oslo and encourage Bangladesh to be there to sign the Convention.An image of the letter hand-over can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clustermunitioncoalition/sets/72157608503977832/Faith leaders meeting in BosniaThe European Faith Leaders Conference on Cluster Munitions closed with the adoption of a final statement of commitment entitled "A total ban on cluster munitions - a moral responsibility". The conference was attended by representatives of many faiths including Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Orthodox and Zoroastrianism as well as politicians, diplomats and civil society. Rich discussion framed the problem of weapons and the damage they cause within the context of different faith traditions. Many participants were new to this issue and eager to learn and explore what they can offer in their own capacities; they will leave Sarajevo with strong impetus to action beyond mere statement making. A presentation from the Ban Bus resonated well, making a good foundation for two workshop sessions that explored the topics of advocacy and survivor care. All participants signed the Peoples Treaty with a great deal of media attention and excitement. The conference was organized by Religions for Peace and the European Council of Religious Leaders and Handicap International. It was hosted by the Grand-Mufti of BiH and the BiH Interreligious Council.Colombia theatre performance on cluster bombsThe Colombian Campaign Against Landmines together and their regional representatives across Colombia started their activities on 9 October at the Ditjrambo Theatre where 40 activists from Mercy Corps, the radio station "Aire Sin Minas" which broadcasts on cluster munitions and landmines, and other organisations produced a play called "Quebrapatas" (leg-breaker) raising awareness of the issue of landmines and cluster munitions. Campaigners have also launched the People’s Treaty and are collecting signatures for this petition, including at the theatre.The poster can be viewed here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/clustermunitioncoalition/sets/72157608505507590/Croatia arrival for the Ban BusOn 29 October the European Ban Bus arrived in Zagreb. A public action was organized by campaigners in central Zagreb with signature collections for the People’s Treaty. Local media were invited. In the afternoon there was a public discussion at the Faculty of Political Science, speakers included: John Rodsted from the Ban Bus, Dijana Pleština from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Marija Breber from Mine Aid Croatia. The Ban Bus has now departed Croatia and is now on its way to Italy.Images of the Ban Bus journey so far can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/banbus/sets/Finnish campaigners handover petition to Foreign Minister StubbOn 29 October the Peace Union of Finland and the Committee of 100 handed a petition with approximately 2,200 names to Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb urging Finland to sign in Oslo. At the meeting Minister Stubb said that "the decision on signing the treaty is really hard for Finland" he also said that if Finland can’t sign in Oslo then he hoped that they could sign later.The Red Cross of Finland, Finnish UNICEF and Finn Church Aid also handed over their mutual appeal. Today, Friday 31 October, the government announced that they will not be able to sign the Treaty in Oslo. Campaigners have issued a press release in response to this disappointing decision calling on the parliament to make a recommendation to the government to sign.Photos of the meeting can be found here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/clustermunitioncoalition/sets/72157608507881946/So far, the Finnish leading daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, and Iltalehti (Finlands second largest tabloid) have covered this issue. A statement by a humanitarian organisation also featured on MTV3 (largest commercial Finnish TV-channel).France launches letter writing actionCampaigners from Handicap International in France have sent letters through embassies in Paris to all of the countries that adopted the Convention in Dublin as well as affected states and states that have not yet decided if they will sign the Convention in Oslo. Embassies contacted so far include: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Togo.Information on the up-coming signing conference has been sent out to 70,000 of their supporters.Gambia: Campaigners meet with Permanent Secretary of Foreign AffairsGambian campaigners from WANEP met with the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Mawdo Touray, sitting in for the Secretary of State. He stressed that Gambia will do everything to honour its promise made in Kampala and sign the Treaty in Oslo, and also promised to brief the Secretary of State upon his return.Ireland to sign and ratify in OsloOn 29 October campaigners in Ireland organised a chalk silhouette action in the city centre of Dublin to highlight the indiscriminate effect of cluster munitions and the humanitarian harm caused by cluster bombs. In the evening a panel debate took place with speeches by Colm O'Gorman, Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Barbara Raftery from Afri and Nicholas Twist from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Nicholas Twist announced that the DFA had published the new Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Bill and stated that he was confident that Ireland will be able to enact the legislation prior to 3 December. This will enable Ireland to both sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo. CMC Ireland handed over a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs calling on Ireland to strongly promote the Convention on Cluster Munitions to all other nations as the only appropriate way to address the problem of cluster munitions and to make a humanitarian difference. After the debate the documentary "Unacceptable Harm - 40 Years of Cluster Munitions" was screened.See photos here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/clustermunitioncoalition/sets/72157608537326711/Mali holds joint press conference with MinisterOn 27 October a joint press conference was organised by the West African Journalists for Security and Development Network in Mali. Panelists included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Parliament, the President of the National Security Commission and campaigners from the West African Journalists for Security and Development Network, Handicap International Mali and Amnesty International Mali to discuss signature and ratification of the Convention. Mali has confirmed that they will sign the Convention in Oslo. The press conference was followed by a workshop.On 28 October, Amadou Maiga was interviewed on Mali's National Television news programme. Today CMC members in Mali are meeting with the government delegates that have taken part in the Oslo Process as well as the Foreign Minister and the President of the Parliament in Mali to encourage them to ask other nations to sign the Convention in Oslo.Images from the Press Conference and media coverage can be viewed here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/clustermunitioncoalition/sets/72157608507993961/Senegalese campaign hold panel discussionCampaigners in Casamance on October 28 held a panel discussion entitled "The Oslo Signing Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference and mine victims in Senegal". Two films on cluster munitions were screened at the event and signatures were collected for The People’s Treaty. Civil society organisations including HI, Afrique Enjeux, ASVM, CNAMS as well as ICRC and UNICEF. Journalists also took part and interviewed Campaigners after the lecture.The Senegalese campaign have organised a media campaign in Dakar and Ziguinchor and are also asking parliamentarians to sign the People’s Treaty throughout the whole week. Media Links to follow.Sierra Leone media coverage following press conferenceOn 28 October, a Press Conference took place in Freetown. Mr. Abdulai Bayrayteh, Assistant to the President and Spokesperson to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation was in attendance. He publicly confirmed that Sierra Leone will sign the treaty in Oslo, but stopped short at naming who specifically will sign the treaty but nonetheless said it will either be the President or the Foreign Minister. Mr. Bayrayteh also launched the Peoples Treaty signature collection in Sierra Leone.The local press has reported on the announcement and articles have featured in Awoko, Premier News and the Standard Times. CTN radio, 98.1 and UN Radio reported on the press conference and interviewed CMC member Abu Bakar Sheriff from SLANSA. More newspapers are expected to cover the activities this week.Four of the press articles can be viewed here:http://awoko.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=4171&cntnt01returnid=15http://awoko.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=4163&cntnt01returnid=15http://news.sl/drwebsite/publish/article_200510214.shtmlhttp://news.sl/drwebsite/publish/article_200510220.shtmlTajikistan holds round table with Ministry of Foreign AffairsOn 27 October, the Tajikistan campaign Harmony of the World conducted a round table to discuss the problem of cluster bombs in detail and presentations on the Oslo process to encourage the government to sign the Convention, and was followed by a Q&A session. The event was attended by key government officials including representatives from the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Affairs, Presidential administration and local and international organisations.Tajikistan's position on the CCM is now under the consideration by the Government, but it is speculated that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will lead the Tajikistan delegation in Oslo.TAKE ACTION! Help encourage countries that have not yet decided whether they will sign the Convention in Oslo by sending a letter.Download the letters and information on how to send it here: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/take-action/Let us know who you have sent letters to!CMC animation: Your Signature Can Save Lives!CMC has launched an animation for campaigners to use on their websites throughout the Global Week of Action and in the run up to Oslo to encourage visitors to sign the People’s Treaty and call on all governments to ban cluster bombs and save lives. Please let us know if you have put it on your website. 330 people have watched it so far!You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/CMCInternationalThe animation is also on Google Videohttp://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1065944403665509098and MeView http://meview.co.uk/?id=38128Contact Natalie Curtis for instructions on how to upload it onto your website natalie@stopclustermunitions.org