17 November 2008

CMC Newsletter October 2008

Read the latest issue of the CMC Newsletter and find out about recent campaign actions and events around the world, as well as national and international meetings related to cluster munitions and the Oslo Process. In the October issue you can read about the European Faith Leaders Conference on Cluster Munitions, the South East Asia Regional Conference on the CCM, Ban Bus activities between the Balkans and Oslo and much more.CMC Newsletter - October 20081. International NewsSouth East Asia Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster MunitionsUnder the leadership of Lao PDR, a three-day conference hosted in the most cluster bomb affected province in the world boosted the global campaign for widespread signature of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Cambodia and Lao PDR committed to signing the treaty in December and Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam participated in the conference. The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) participated actively in the conference with civil society representatives from 12 countries, including 6 from the region. The CMC called on all states in South East Asia to show solidarity with Lao PDR and Cambodia and join these most affected countries in signing the new treaty in Oslo. The conference, which included a powerful field visit to clearance and risk education projects, was held in the Xiengkhuang Province, which has a blood-tinted and tragic history with cluster munitions. The province is known as the most bombed province in the most bombed country per capita in the world. The Lao government showed particular enthusiasm about the treaty and will play a prominent role in Oslo.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/laosconference/Croatia National Workshop on the Convention on Cluster MunitionsThe Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC) hosted a regional workshop on the Convention on Cluster Munitions from 21 - 24 October. The workshop was attended by 34 participants from Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Moldova, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey, as well as the Bulgarian Red Cross, GICHD, ITF, NAMSA/NATO, UNMAS, Mine Aid, NPA and Handicap International Belgium. During a session on "The Regional Experience" representatives of mine action centres in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia described in detail their experience with cluster munitions. The CMC called on all governments to come to Oslo in December to sign the Convention, and to take national steps to begin to implement the treaty.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/croatiaworkshop/European Faith Leaders Conference on Cluster MunitionsThe European Faith Leaders Conference on Cluster Munitions took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina on 29-30 October. The conference was attended by representatives of many faiths including Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Orthodox and Zoroastrian as well as the Bosnian Prime Minister, diplomats and civil society experts. It closed with the adoption of a Statement of Commitment entitled "A total ban on cluster munitions - a moral responsibility". This Statement captures the rich discussion of the conference and frames the problem of cluster bombs, weapons and the damage they cause within the context of religious traditions. It also identifies areas of priority for future work. Many participants came to Sarajevo new to this issue and eager to learn and explore what they can offer in their own capacities. They left Sarajevo with a strong impetus to take action beyond mere statements. A presentation from the Ban Bus resonated strongly and laid a good foundation for two workshop sessions that explored the topics of advocacy and survivor care. All participants signed the People's Treaty with a great deal of media attention and excitement. The conference was organized by Religions for Peace, the European Council of Religious Leaders and Handicap International Southeast Europe. It was hosted by the Interreligious Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/faithleadersconference/Allison Pytlak, Religions for Peace, allison.pytlak@gmail.comGlobal Week of Action to Ban Cluster BombsThe Global Week of Action took place five weeks before the Convention on Cluster Munitions opens for signature in Oslo. Between 27 October and 2 November campaigners across 74 countries took action and called on all governments to put pen to paper and start saving lives, by joining the most significant disarmament and humanitarian treaty of the decade. Worldwide campaigners enacted public action stunts, met with governments, collected petitions and rallied public support for the ban. In Germany, Japan, Lebanon, Mali, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey cluster bomb strikes were simulated by lie-down protests in city centres. Campaign buses set off on epic journeys across Europe, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia to raise awareness about the treaty. Over 1000 people attended a concert in Laos, the most cluster bomb affected country in the world. A global animation was launched across the worldwide web calling for people everywhere to sign the People's Treaty, the online petition to ban cluster bombs. For daily reports on actions and events that took place check out: www.stopclustermunitions.org/gwoa A full report will be circulated shortly.***2. Media Highlights of the MonthAll Africa.com: ‘Africa: Country Adopts Kampala Action Plan'http://allafrica.com/stories/200810090845.htmlAustralia Broadcasting Corporation: ‘Treaty will stigmatise use of cluster bombs' http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/programguide/stories/200810/s2400283.htmAssociated Press: ‘Dutch: Russian cluster bomb killed journalist' http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWXwlwcRZ7ewhEZFUhfw6uWXKJVgD93UD4M81Padova News: ‘Tappa italiana a Padova del Ban Bus'http://www.padovanews.it/content/view/39859/112/Die Links Zietung: ‘Grausame Waffen fordern fast ausschließlich zivile Opfer'http://linkszeitung.de/content/view/169989/45/Many countries have garnered strong media attention during the Global Week of Action including Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Gambia, Ireland, Nepal, the Netherlands, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Please see the Global Week of Action report for a full list of media coverage from the week and do send us any media coverage your events received.Natalie Curtis, Media and Communications Officer, Cluster Munition Coalition, Natalie@stopclustermunitions.org*** 3. Campaign and Country UpdatesArab states. The executive and legal committees of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU) met in Damascus on 7 and 8 October. Ghassan Shahrour circulated material in Arabic on the Cluster Munition Convention at the meeting and briefed the Secretary General of the APU, Mr. Nour Eddine Bouchkouj about recent developments in the Oslo Process. The Secretary General offered to circulate any materials on the issue to the 22 Arab Parliaments that are part of the Union and to include information in the APU magazine. The Secretary General also welcomed any future cooperation with the network and agreed to meet again during the Global Week of Action.Ghassan Shahrour, Arab Research Net for LM & ERW, afodafro@aloola.sy The Lebanese Vision Association for Development, Rehabilitation and Care organised a meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on 9 October 2008 as part of their efforts to urge Arab governments to sign the Convention in Oslo. The meeting was attended by the Arab League General Secretary Mr. Amro Moussa, the Assistant for Social Affairs, and representatives of associations from Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Libya and a representative of the Assembly of People's Aid in Lebanon. Participants highlighted the need for a unified Arab effort in support of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and campaigners called on the Arab League to support civil society initiatives aimed at helping victims of cluster bombs and mines.Dr. Nasser Abou Lteif, Vision Association for Development, Care and Rehabilitation, vision_lebanon@hotmail.com Australia. A delegation of the Australian Network to Ban Landmines met with the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, two advisers to the Minister for Finance, the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, and the Assistant Director General of the Humanitarian and Middle East Branch of AusAID that looks after funding for mine action and action on ERW to talk about the Convention on Cluster Munitions and future funding for mine action and clearance of ERW. Timed with the visit, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Stephen Smith announced in the Parliament that Australia would sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo at the start of December. He also announced an additional assignment of $500,000 for ERW clearance in Lebanon.Dr. Mark Zirnsak, Australian Network to Ban Landmines, Mark.Zirnsak@victas.uca.org.au Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ban Bus stopped in Sarajevo from 27 - 29 October and visited Norwegian People's Aid's Global Training Center for Mine Detection Dogs. John Rodsted, main speaker of the Ban Bus, had helped secure funding for the centre when it was virtually broke and on the verge of closing 10 years ago, and he talked about his first experiences at the centre. Children from Vogosca primary school joined the event and participated in a workshop on the dangers of mines and cluster munitions. Vogosca is one of the country's most contaminated areas with cluster munitions. After the event the Ban Bus was set up in the city centre of Sarajevo and the team collected signatures for the People's Treaty. On 29 October the Ban Bus team participated in the European Faith Leaders Conference on Cluster Munitions (see International News).Alma Taslidzan, Handicap International South East Europe, alma@handicap-international.co.ba Bulgaria. The Ban Bus stopped in Sofia on 24 October. Ambassador Geoffrey Keating hosted a press conference at the Irish Embassy which was also attended by Tove Skarstein, Ambassador for Norway, and other representatives from the Italian, UK and Norwegian embassies, as well as representatives from UNDP and civil society. After the press conference the Ban Bus team collected signatures for the People's Treaty outside Hagia Sofia, the biggest church in the Balkans and the 6th largest in the world. In the evening the team was invited to a UNDP reception to celebrate UN day and talked to various people from organizations that might be interested in campaigning against cluster bombs.Mette Eliseussen, The Ban Bus, mettesofie@gmail.com Colombia. Campaigners in Colombia have produced leaflets and T-shirts on cluster munitions and distributed them to organizations across the country. Articles have also been published on the issue in the national media.Croatia. The Ban Bus visited Zagreb on 30 October 2008. A public action was jointly organised by Mine Aid Croatia and Legalis. The Ban Bus was set up at Zagreb's central square where leaflets, brochures and badges were distributed, and the public could sign the Peoples' Treaty. Around 10 volunteers from Mine Aid Croatia and Legalis participated in the action, including Mina Žunac who was injured by cluster munitions during the attack on Zagreb in 1995. The action was also supported by many representatives of the Government, Embassies, media, IOs and NGOs. Afterwards a lecture was held at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb by John Rodsted from the Ban Bus, Dijana Pleština, Ministry Advisor for Demining, and Mine Aid Members. Interested students and citizens could hear more about cluster bombs, the Oslo process and the position of the Government of the Republic of Croatia concerning the Convention.Marija Breber, Mine Aid Croatia, marijabreber@yahoo.comMario Mazic, Legalis, mazic_mario@yahoo.com Ethiopia. Campaigners in Ethiopia and Nancy Ingram from Mines Action Canada met with a representative of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa to discuss the CCM and encourage Ethiopia to sign. Ethiopia as a country that has been affected by cluster munitions generally supports the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The representative of the MFA explained that Ethiopia still has some concerns regarding the treaty, however, it was not a question of if Ethiopia will sign, but when it will sign.Yiberta Taddesse, yiberta_taddesse@yahoo.comNancy Ingram, Mines Action Canada, nancy@minesactioncanada.orgFinland. Despite strong pressure from NGOs, the public, other countries and the media, the Finnish government has announced that Finland will not sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo. In response to the decision, the Finnish campaign sent out a press release stating that both the international and the Finnish campaign are very disappointed at Finland's decision. Campaigners reminded their government that the UN Secretary General, OSCE and EP supported and called for a ban, and demanded that the parliament opens up the decision when the Defense political white paper comes before parliament soon.Laura Lodenius, Peace Union Finland, laura.lodenius@rauhanliitto.fi France. Handicap International (HI) France has initiated collaboration between French embassies and HI programmes in 35 countries and encouraged them to work together on the signature campaign and the promotion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. HI has also linked up CMC campaigners and HI programmes in various countries to facilitate common campaign actions and lobbying activities.Anne Villeneuve, Handicap International, avilleneuve@handicap-international.org During its 2nd International Rendez-Vous, held in Geneva, Paris and Abu Dhabi from 8 to 15 October, the French film festival Cinema Verite called on its prestigious guests to support the Convention on Cluster Munitions by signing the People's Treaty. www.icbl.org/news/cinemaveriteSylvie Brigot, ICBL, brigot@icbl.org Greece. From 9 - 10 October the Ban Bus stopped in Athens. The Norwegian Ambassador hosted a luncheon at his personal residence to facilitate discussion between the Ban Bus team, representatives from the relevant ministries and NGO representatives. Guests included a member from the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Defense Affairs, a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a representative from the Ministry of Defense, two representatives of Amnesty International Greece, a member of the Medical Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims, the president of UNICEF Greece, and CMC campaigner Susan Morucci. On Friday, 10 October the Ban Bus was set up at a public place in the city centre of Athens and the team supported by representatives from the Norwegian Embassy and Amnesty International Greece handed out information materials and collected signatures for the People's Treaty. Reporters from MEGA channel, a popular private television station, interviewed John Rodsted and Dimitrios Botsos, Director of Amnesty International Greece.Susan Morucci, mdmsusan@yahoo.comDimitrios Botsos, Amnesty International Greece, director@amnesty.org.gr India. Balkrishna Kurvey from the Indian CBL participated in the 6th International Conference of Museums for Peace in Kyoto and Hiroshima, Japan. 158 delegates attended the conference representing various peace museums from all around the world. Balkrishna gave a presentation on the work of ICBL and CMC and highlighted the campaigns' contributions towards world peace.She called on delegates to display posters on landmines and cluster munitions in their peace museums and about 50 Peace Museums agreed to do this if they are provided with the posters/photos. Balkrishna got elected as Executive Board Member of the International Network of Museums for Peace.Balkrishna Kurvey, Indian CBL, bkurvey@yahoo.comThe Control Arms Foundation of India has collected over 1000 signatures for the People's Treaty and has also received signatures from 10 Members of Parliament and 4 Members of the Legislative Assembly. The group has completed various research papers on the theme of "India and the Convention on Cluster Munitions". One of the papers has been submitted for publication in the Journal of the Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses, New Delhi, a think tank of the Indian Ministry of Defence.Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India, binalakshmi@gmail.comIreland. On Friday 24 October, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs published their new Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Bill which will now need to be approved by the Irish Parliament. Speaking at a public event Nicholas Twist from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs stated that given the demonstrated strong support within the Parliament for the Convention, he is confident that Ireland will be able to enact the legislation prior to 3 December. This will enable Ireland to both sign and submit their instrument of ratification to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo.Susan Hensel, CMC Ireland, susan@stopclustermunitions.org Macedonia. On 6 October the Ban Bus stopped in Skopje, Macedonia. The Ban Bus was set up in the main square of the capital. The team displayed John Rodsted's photo exhibition on the effects of cluster munitions around the world and collected signatures for the People's Treaty. At noon a press conference took place, followed by a reception in the main hotel in town.Speaking at the event John Rodsted highlighted that the consequences of cluster bombs can be felt years after an attack, and that the process of clearing contaminated areas takes between 8-10 years. The press conference and reception was attended by media, NGOs and the Norwegian ambassador in Macedonia, Mr. Carl Schiøtz Winye.Natasa Dokovska, Journalists for Children and Women Rights and Environmental Protection in Macedonia (JCWE), ndokovska@gmail.com Nigeria. Mimidoo Achakpa and Ene Ede from the IANSA Women's Network Nigeria gave a talk on African Independent Television (KAKAAKI Programme) on Cluster Munitions and called on the Nigerian Government to make a public statement. The programme will reach a wide audience in Nigeria and beyond.Mimidoo Achakpa, IANSA Women's Network Nigeria, iansawomennig@yahoo.co.uk Romania. On 21 October, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in partnership with FOND and PATRIR organised a public forum at the Law Faculty in Bucharest on the occasion of the Ban Bus visit to Bucharest. The main speakers during the event were Mr. Øystein Hovdkinn, Ambassador of Norway to Romania, Cristina Balan, Information Officer, UN Information Centre Bucharest, and the Ban Bus representatives. The purpose of the public event was to present the campaign to the national NGOs, public authorities, the national press and students. On 22 October, a dinner was organized in order to facilitate further discussions among the campaigners, the Norwegian Embassy representatives, the press and FOND representatives. In a less official environment, the main topic of the discussions was how the Romanian press could raise more awareness on the issue and how NGOs could contribute to continue the campaign in the future and ensure high visibility and effectiveness of the initiative. Read more about the event on the website of the Norwegian Embassy: http://www.norvegia.ro/policy/cluster/initiative/Ban+Bus.htmClaudia Iatan, Mc_cla@yahoo.com Serbia. The Ban Bus was successfully launched with a public event in the Republican Square in Belgrade on 1 October. The event was opened by regional director of Norwegian People's Aid Emil Jeremic. Australian photographer John Rodsted showed pictures from countries around the world where cluster munitions have been used, presenting the deadly legacy of cluster munitions in affected countries and highlighting with concrete examples how cluster munitions maim and kill civilians during and after conflict. The Ban Advocates from Serbia were represented by Branislav Kapetanovic and Sladjan Vuckovic, both former deminers who lost limbs while clearing unexploded cluster munitions in Serbia. Their testimonies together with John Rodsted's pictures gave a clear case for why cluster munitions must be banned. NPA Secretary General Petter Eide pointed out that cluster munitions were used in Georgia in August 2008 by both Georgian and Russian forces, and expressed hope that more than 100 states would sign the Convention.Emil Jeremic, NPA Serbia, emil@npa.org.yu Thailand. Fred Ferrariz Lubang from Nonviolence International Southeast Asia attended the Asia-Europe People's Forum that took place from 13 - 15 October 2008 in Beijing, China. Fred gave a presentation on cluster munitions and the Convention on Cluster Munitions which led to the inclusion of a call on all countries to sign the Convention in Oslo into the final declaration of the meeting. The declaration was presented to the Asia-Europe Meeting of Heads of States which was held in Beijing later in the month.Fred Ferrariz Lubang, Nonviolence International Southeast Asia,, fred@nonviolenceinternational.net Turkey. On 18 October the Ban Bus stopped in Istanbul and was welcomed in Taksim Square by a variety of Turkish civic society organisations. The Initiative for a Mine Free Turkey organized a press conference for the Ban Bus during which Muteber Ö?reten, Coordinator of the organisation, called on all governments in the world and especially the Turkish government to ban all cluster munitions and to come to Oslo to sign the Convention. The Ban Bus visit was covered by Turkish CNN, NTV, Press TV and many other TV channels as well as by various newspapers:http://www.presstv.com/Detail.aspx?id=72552§ionid=3510301http://www.ktunnel.com/index.php/1010110A/06de1f0bce1c8ab288f3b566788c1d296bb7ccb385ab5ce79e27fcad55da018a9e7f6d7803dbedde16485 http://www.cnnturk.com/haberdetay/Turkiye/2/misket_bombalarinin_yasaklanmasi_icin_kampanya/497396/0Muteber Ö?reten, Initiative for a Mine Free Turkey, bilgi@mayinsizbirturkiye.org UK. Landmine Action recently wrote to the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown thanking him for his intervention during the Dublin Conference that led to the UK adopting the Convention and withdrawing their remaining stockpiles of cluster munitions from service. Landmine Action received a letter in response that reiterates that the UK will sign the Convention in Oslo, that they have withdrawn their remaining cluster munitions and are putting together a programme for their destruction and that they will work to encourage widespread support for the treaty. On 28 October Landmine Action also gave a joint briefing with the Foreign Office to the parliamentary group APLEG that has been active during the Oslo Process showing the common initiatives now underway on cluster munitions between government and civil society in the UK.Portia Stratton, Landmine Action, pstratton@landmineaction.org US. The US Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs in cooperation with Handicap International Belgium and Handicap International United States organized a tour of cluster bomb survivors through key mid-western states from 6 - 15 October, to build public support for Senate legislation that would effectively ban the U.S. from using and exporting cluster bombs. The main speakers of the tour were Soraj, a 17-year old boy from Afghanistan who lost both legs to an American cluster bomb, Raed, the father of a five-year-old boy killed by these weapons in south Lebanon, and Lynn, the mother of a U.S. Marine who died in Iraq while cleaning up US dropped cluster bomblets. For further information and a full report check out www.stopclustermunitions.org and the blogs on the following pages: www.banadvocates.org, www.fcnl.org/weapons/clusters/tourblog.htm, http://www.handicap-international.usLora Lumpe, USCBL, lora@fcnl.orgStephanie Castanie, Handicap International Belgium, Stephanie.Castanie@Handicap.be Vietnam. A national workshop on the Convention on Cluster Munitions took place in Hanoi from 27 - 28 October. The workshop was hosted by the Department of International Organisation, Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with UNDP Vietnam and the Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam. The workshop aimed at providing information on the issue of cluster munitions, the Oslo Process and the CCM, and what ratification of the CCM would mean for Vietnam. A number of NGOs present and active on this issue in Vietnam helped prepare the conference and participated in it fully. For a full report check out the CMC's website: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=890Nguyen Thi Kim Hoa, Landmine Survivors Network in Vietnam, ngkimhoa@gmail.com *** 4. Upcoming Meetings and EventsConvention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, 2-4 December 2008The CCM signing will be one of the most important international events of 2008. For the provisional schedule for civic society participants check out the CMC website: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/oslo2008/Book your stallThere will be two big heated tents and several smaller heated tents set up outside the Oslo City Hall on 3 December where campaigners have the opportunity to set up stalls and display information on their organisation and campaign work. Campaigners will be provided with a table for your stall, however, it will be your responsibility as campaigners to set your stall up, to run your stall all day on 3 December and to take your stall down. For further information and to book a stall please contact Susan at susan@stopclustermunitions.org. There is only a limited number of stalls available in the tents, so please get in touch as soon as possible.Bring campaign materialsA big board will be set up outside the Oslo City Hall for a colourful collage documenting CMC campaign work around the world. Please bring posters, banners, photographs from your Ban Bus events, Global Week of Action activities and other actions, and any other campaign materials on cluster munitions that you would like to display as part of the collage. You will be able to take your banners home with you, but most of the posters will probably be pasted on and you may not be able to take it back home with you.We will have the possibility to print photographs in Oslo, so if you have any pictures of campaign actions and events that you organised please email them to Caterina Bresaola Caterina@stopclustermunitions.org as jpg files and we will print them in Oslo. We have collected the photos from the Global Week of Action and uploaded onto our flickr site, but please send any photos you have in addition to these if you need them printed.Other Meetings and EventsNovember 200811 - 12 November - Beirut Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions21 November - Launch of Landmine Monitor24 - 28 November - Ninth Meeting of States Parties of the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, SwitzerlandDecember 20083 December - International Day of Persons with Disabilities10 December - International Human Rights DayFebruary 200922 - 23 February - 2 Year Anniversary of the Launch of the Oslo Process in OsloMay 200930 May - 1 Year Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dublin*******************************This Newsletter is a product of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). For comments, feedback and submissions to the newsletter please contact Susan Hensel at susan@stopclustermunitions.org