17 March 2009

CMC Newsletter, February 2009

CMC Newsletter February 2009***1. International NewsNicaragua and Panama announce intent to be among the first 30 to ratify the CCMDuring a briefing event on the Convention on Cluster Munitions that took place in Managua, Nicaragua, on 26 February, Nicaragua and Panama announced that they intend to be among the first 30 countries to ratify the CCM. Colombia has started internal consultations on the Convention and is hoping to start the ratification process as soon as possible. Chile stated that they will start ratification procedures in the next months. About 45 delegates attended the briefing, which was chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense, Mrs. Ruth Tapia. Mr. Anton Camen, the regional representative from ICRC, Ambassador Susan Eckey from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, and Yassir Chavarría Gutiérrez and Serena Olgiati from the CMC gave short presentations on the issue of cluster munitions and the CCM. The event took place in cooperation with ICBL on the margins of the Managua Regional Workshop in Preparation of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty (Cartagena, Colombia, 30 Nov - 4 Dec 2009). CMC plans to set up similar briefings on the margins of the other MBT regional meetings in 2009.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=1367Campaigners around the world take action to bring the Convention on Cluster Munitions into forceAs part of the ICBL March 1st Action Alert campaigners from 65 countries around the world took action between 23 February and 8 March to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty's entry into force and to push for its further universalization and implementation. At the same time most of the activities were aimed at bringing the new Convention on Cluster Munitions into force without delay.Under the slogan "A Mine-Free World: Mission Possible", campaigners from Afghanistan to Zambia organized roundtables, press briefings, street actions, photo exhibitions & art installations, film screenings, marches, rallies, workshops, petitions, TV and radio shows, and other events to draw the world's attention to the scourge of landmines and cluster munitions and to call for a mine- and cluster bomb-free world.CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, 16-20 February 2009Having failed to agree on a new instrument on cluster munitions in November 2008, the experts group met again in February to try to reach consensus. Most of the work took place in small groups and at the end of the week the new chair, Argentinean Gustavo Ainchil, circulated a new Chair's paper which has not changed much from the Wigotski paper of November 2008. Under the terms set out in the paper almost all of the cluster munitions that have caused problems in the past would continue to be permitted for indefinite use, production and transfer. Positions remain widely divergent between those countries that have signed the CCM and those outside the treaty, and it will be difficult to achieve consensus at the next GGE meeting in April.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=1126***2. Media Highlights of the MonthIRIN, 5 February 2009:"Lebanon: Funding struggle slowing cluster bomb clearance in South"http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=82768Australia, 13 February 2009:"US: New Bid to Ban Indiscriminate Weapons"http://www.australia.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5352:us-new-bid-to-ban-indiscriminate-weapons&catid=71:world-news&Itemid=30The Mainichi Daily News, 23 February 2009:"U.S. lawmakers submit bill to ban military using cluster bombs"http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090223p2a00m0na018000c.htmlNew CMC Media and Communications OfficerAt the end of February, Jean-Marc Jacobs started as the new media and communications officer in the CMC team in London. He was previously working for Médecins sans Frontières in their Brussels office. He supported field teams from a range of countries to develop and implement their communication strategies.With degrees in social anthropology and population studies, he first entered the communications world by working for John Snow International, an organisation that used to provide health-related knowledge management and resource centre services to the Department for International Development (DfID)."I am very excited to start working on humanitarian issues from yet another angle" said Jean-Marc about joining the CMC. "I strongly believe in the power of communication, especially when it is used to support such a right struggle like ridding the world of unacceptable weapons". His main task will be to keep the cluster munition ban high on the media agenda, with a strong focus on national campaigns to support advocacy to get more signatures and ratifications.Jean-Marc Jacobs, jean-marc@stopclustermunitions.org ***3. Campaign and Country UpdatesAlbania. On Friday 6 March the Albanian Parliament approved national legislation on the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The legislation has been sent to the President for signature. By law the President must review this legislation within 15 days of approval by the parliament. The President's signature is the last step in the ratification process for Albania.ASEAN. Nonviolence International and CMC sent a joint letter to the Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) urging all ASEAN countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions. So far Indonesia, Lao PDR and the Philippines are the only ASEAN members to have signed the Convention. Fred Lubang from Nonviolence International had a meeting with the Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat and the Foreign Minister of Thailand on 22 February during which they committed to discuss the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the ASEAN meeting of Defence Ministers on 26 February in Pattaya, Thailand.Joint letter to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 24 February 2009Fred Lubang, Nonviolence International, fred@nonviolenceinternational.net Brazil. Draft legislation banning cluster munitions was introduced into the Brazilian Parliament in February. The proposed legislation prohibits the use, production and trade of cluster munitions. The document also urges Brazil to sign the CCM, and it is likely that as a result of the project there will be more discussion on the issue now in the Parliament.Cristian Wittman, Brazilian Campaign against Landmines and Cluster Munitions, cristian@icbl.orgBurkina Faso. The Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso stated in a letter on 5 February that the ratification process for the Convention on Cluster Munitions is under way in his country and that he hopes that Burkina Faso will be among the first 30 to ratify.Colombia. Campaigners in Colombia had a meeting with the Ministry of Defence where the Ministry announced that Colombia intends to destroy 41 CB-250k cluster bombs from its stockpile between 24 March and 3 April this year. The Ministry also stated that proceedings for ratification of the CCM will soon start in Congress.Camilo Serna, Colombian Campaign against Landmines, camilo@colombiasinminas.org Croatia. Croatia has started the ratification process for the CCM and hopes to be able to get parliamentary approval for ratification in April.DR Congo. In a statement to the Conference on Disarmament on 4 March the Vice Minister of Interior and Security of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced that his country will soon sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.India. The Indian Campaign to Ban Landmines organised a march and a public rally to urge the Government of India to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty. 128 landmine victims participated in the events and handed over a petition on the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty to a government official. Campaigners held a meeting with members of Parliament and members of the Legislative Assembly who promised that they would take the issue on in their respective institution. The meetings and events were part of the ICBL's celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty's entry into force. Balkrishna Kurvey, Indian Campaign to Ban Landmines, iipdep_ngp@sancharnet.in From 11-15 February the International Aerospace Exposition (Aero India) took place in Bangalore. The exposition showcased the latest international technologies in the field of military and civil aircraft and included displays of cluster munitions. The Control Arms Foundation of India held a peace vigil in Bangalore and organised a three day event with the title "Warfare or Welfare?" where over 140 civil society organisations and individuals were trained on international Arms Trade issues.Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India, binalakshmi@gmail.com Jordan. After receiving feedback from campaigners in Jordan and the MENA region, Laura Cheeseman and Thomas Nash from the CMC had a meeting at the Jordanian Embassy in London to discuss Jordan's position on the Convention on Cluster Munitions. An official noted that Jordan considers the CCM the second biggest disarmament treaty after the Mine Ban Treaty. She added that Amman is actively considering joining the Convention and that the relevant authorities are currently studying it.Lao PDR. On 24 February the National Assembly of Lao PDR approved the ratification of the CCM. Now only the President's signature is required in order for the country to conclude the ratification process.Jo Pereira, COPE, otjo@laopdr.com Mexico. The ratification process in Mexico is in its final stage. The legislation has been approved by the Senate and has been sent to the President whose signature will conclude the ratification process for Mexico. Prior to the approval of the legislation by the Senate campaigner Héctor Guerra represented the CMC in one of the Commissions of the Mexican Senate at a conference.Héctor Guerra, ettoregv@yahoo.fr Nigeria. The Nigerian embassy in London confirmed in a letter that arrangements are under way in Nigeria to ensure that the country is able to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in the next months.Mimidoo Achakpa, IANSA Women's Network Nigeria, iansawomennig@yahoo.co.uk Slovenia. Slovenia has started ratification procedures for the Convention on Cluster Munitions and is hoping to conclude the ratification process in the coming months.Eva Veble, DanChurchAid, EVV@dca.dk Sri Lanka. On 18 February CMC sent an open letter to the Government of Sri Lanka urging them to sign and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Following some recent media coverage accusing the Government of Sri Lanka of cluster munition use, which Sri Lanka denies, the letter also asked for an official clarification from Sri Lanka that it does not possess any cluster munitions.CMC Open letter to the Government of Sri LankaSudan. JASMAR Human Security Organisation on behalf of the Sudan CBL organised a seminar on 1 March on achievements and remaining challenges in Sudan in relation to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Participants included representatives from UNDP, UNICEF, UNAMAO, NGOs and media.Abu Osama Abdalla Mohamed, Sudan CBL, aboosamaa@yahoo.com UK. Landmine Action has sent a letter to the UK Secretary of State for Defence in advance of the NATO Defence Ministers Conference in Krakow urging the UK to use the meeting as an opportunity to engage with the US on the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Landmine Action letter to the UK Secretary of State for Defence, 5 February 2009Portia Stratton, Landmine Action, pstratton@landmineaction.org As part of its new ethical policy the UK Co-operative Bank has ceased all investment in cluster munition manufacturers. "We will not finance the manufacture or transfer of indiscriminate weapons, e.g. cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions."http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/a/241.htmlUS. Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs (PSALM) in partnership with the West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs have started a month of campaign activities to raise awareness about the 10th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty's entry into force and the need to ban cluster munitions. Activities include awareness days at the group's school, a letter writing action to US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an article in the local newspaper, presentations to community groups and a Legislative Day at the State Capital.Nora Sheets, Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs (PSALM), noracat@yahoo.com On 11 February the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protect Act was reintroduced in both chambers of the US Congress. The proposed legislation would prohibit all use of cluster munitions by US forces in areas that are normally populated by civilians, and it would prohibit use of weapons that leave behind more than 1% of their submunitions as duds on the ground. In effect, the bill would prohibit all existing US cluster munitions except one type of cluster munition and this could only be used against clearly defined military targets that are not located in areas normally inhabited by civilians.Press Release by US Senator Patrick Leahy, 12 February 2009Lora Lumpe, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) and US Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs, lora@fcnl.org ***4. Take Action1) Adapt and send a letter to your Minister of Foreign Affairs calling on your government to sign or ratify the CCM as soon as possible (if they haven't done so already).http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/take-action/government/2) Send letters to parliamentarians asking that they encourage your government to sign and ratify the Convention (if they haven't done so already):http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/take-action/mp/3) Arrange a briefing for key government officials and parliamentarians.There is a range of materials to support briefings including the lobbying guides and practical information on how to sign and ratify the Convention, ratification and signature, briefing papers explaining what the treaty means, PowerPoint presentations and photo slide shows.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/4) Sign the People's Treaty and promote the petition on your website, in newsletters and other publications.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/peoplestreaty***5. New ResourcesThe CMC has updated and produced a new range of campaign materials to support the ratification and universalisation campaign:Lobbying toolkit• Next steps: CMC's campaigning objectives for 2009• Template letters to governments calling on governments to sign and ratify the Convention• A guide on ‘How to Ratify the Convention'• A guide on ‘How to Sign the Convention'• CMC briefing paper on the Convention on Cluster Munitions• Talking points: arguments for why governments should sign the Convention• ICRC ratification toolkit with model ratification instrument and model law• 9 cluster bomb fact sheets (1. What is a cluster bomb? 2. What is the problem? 3. How big is the problem? 4. Cluster bombs and the world at a glance. 5. Timeline of cluster bomb use. 6. Types of cluster bombs in global stockpiles. 7. Who has banned cluster bombs? 8. Cluster bomb facts and stats. 9. About the Cluster Munition Coalition)http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/lobbying/Parliamentary action kit• Template letters to parliamentarians• National legislation banning cluster munitions• Parliamentary action to ban cluster munitionshttp://www.stopclustermunitions.org/take-action/mp/Campaigning tools• Take action campaign guide• ‘Unacceptable Harm: 40 years of cluster munitions' photo slideshow• ‘Taking action against cluster bombs' PowerPoint presentation + speaking notes• 9 cluster bomb fact sheets• Real life storieshttp://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/campaigning/New leaflets, stickers, badges and posters coming soon!!***6. Upcoming EventsMarch 200918 March - Special Event on the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the United Nations Headquarters, New Yorkhttp://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=141230 March - Workshop on Disability, Victim Assistance and International Cooperation, organised by Handicap International and CMC, Bangkok, ThailandApril 20091-3 April - Bangkok Regional Workshop in advance of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, Thailandhttp://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=13694 April - International Mine Awareness Day14-17 April - Final scheduled session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), Geneva, SwitzerlandMay 20091 May - Tipperary International Peace Convention 2009, Presentation of the Tipperary International Peace Prize to the Cluster Munition Coalition, Irelandhttp://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=110329 May - Release of Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action Cluster Munition Policy and Practice Report 200929 May-4 June - Global Week of Action, Internationalhttp://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=1363