14 May 2009

CMC Newsletter April 2009

CMC Newsletter April 2009****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSCluster Munition Coalition accepts Peace Prize in IrelandOn 1 May the CMC received the 2008 Tipperary International Peace Award in recognition of its successful five-year campaign to outlaw cluster bombs. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the award. Previous recipients include US President William J. Clinton, Live-Aid organiser Bob Geldof, South African President Nelson Mandela, and Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, T.D. gave the key note speech at the award ceremony in Tipperary and said that the CMC "has offered us a model and a master class in how to run an effective campaign. Time and again, we have seen them combine passion for a just cause with the technical expertise and communications skills to rebut the stalling and alarmist arguments put forward by those reluctant to face up to realities." The Peace Award was accepted by CMC spokesperson Branislav Kapetanovic. "We are only now beginning the really challenging work with respect to cluster munitions," said Branislav. "We now need to ensure that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is fully implemented and respected by all." http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=1481New Report details use of cluster bombs by Russia and Georgia in 2008 conflictOn 14 April at a press conference at the United Nations in Geneva, CMC Co-Chair organization Human Rights Watch launched a report titled "A Dying Practice: Use of Cluster Munitions by Russia and Georgia in August 2008?. The 80-page report documents dozens of civilian deaths and injuries from the use of cluster munitions by both Russia and Georgia in their conflict over South Ossetia. Unexploded submunitions continue to pose threats today and interfere with the lives and livelihoods of the population. Neither Russia nor Georgia has signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The CMC urges them and other countries that have not signed yet to review their position in light of the distressing information presented in this latest report.Read the full report here: http://www.hrw.org/node/82158CMC urges OAS members to join the Convention on Cluster MunitionsIn an open letter the CMC urged all Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) that have not yet done so to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The letter was published ahead of the Fifth Summit of the Americas that took place from 17-19 April in Trinidad and Tobago. Nine countries in the region stockpile cluster munitions and four countries have produced cluster munitions, including the world's largest user, producer and stockpiler - the United States, the only country in the region to have used the weapon.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=1467Meetings of the CCW: Group of Governmental Experts, 14-17 April and Protocol V, 22-24 AprilDuring the second meeting of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts on cluster munitions positions remained widely divergent between those countries that have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions and those outside the treaty. On the last day of the meeting the Chair Gustavo Ainchil (Argentina) circulated a revised draft protocol text and confirmed that he will hold informal consultations during the week of 17-21 August 2009 to continue to try and reach agreement on the text. The CMC and key signatories of the Convention on Cluster Munitions such as Germany took a strong position against any new instrument that would legitimize the very weapons that half the world's states have banned. Germany insisted that any new protocol must be compatible with the Convention on Cluster Munitions. States Parties to Protocol V also met to discuss its implementation, with the CMC intervening on the issue of victim assistance.The CMC statements and text of the draft protocol on cluster munitions are available here: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar****2. MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTHAPA, 3 April 2009"Spindelegger: "Rasche Ratifizierung der Streumunitionskonvention belegt Österreichs Vorreiterrolle in der humanitären Abrüstung"http://www.ots.at/presseaussendung.php?schluessel=OTS_20090403_OTS0072&ch=politikin English:Daily Times (Pakistan), 4 April 2009"Austria signs cluster bomb ban convention"http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\\04\\04\\story_4-4-2009_pg7_14Reuters, 14 April 2009"Russia used cluster bombs in Georgia: Rights group"http://uk.reuters.com/article/gc07/idUKTRE53D42R20090414The Independent, 16 April 2009Opinion - "Podium: People must be freed from the fear of explosive remnants of war"http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/podium-people-must-be-freed-from-the-fear-of-explosive-remnants-of-war-1669314.htmlTSR, 23 April 2009"Handicap International: onze dessinateurs de presse se mobilisent contre les bombes à sous-munitions"http://www.tsr.ch/tsr/index.html?siteSect=500000&channel=info#program=25;vid=10608769Russia-IC, 28 April 2009"New weapon soon in the Russian Army"http://www.russia-ic.com/news/show/8106/Irish Times, 1 May 2009"CMC receives major peace award"http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0501/breaking25.htm****3. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESAustralia. Four representatives from the Australian Network to Ban Landmines (ANBL) visited embassies in Canberra on 8 April encouraging universalisation of the Mine Ban Treaty and discussing the importance of prompt ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. They met with Ambassadors or Chargés d'Affaires from the embassies of Poland, Nepal, Vietnam and Indonesia. They visited and left material at the Myanmar Embassy, the Lao PDR Embassy and the Indian High Commission. The ANBL representatives also attended a Forum that was organized by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) to commemorate the International Mine Awareness Day. The Forum discussed land mines and ERW, in particular cluster munitions.Lorel Thomas, Australian Network to Ban Landmines (ANBL), lorelt@optusnet.com.au Burundi. CMC campaigner Georges Ntidendereza met with the Director of Legal Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Burundi who informed CMC that the ratification bill for the Convention has been signed by the Foreign Minister. The bill will now go to the Council of Ministers for approval and then to the parliament. He expects Burundi will complete the ratification process in June.Georges Ntidendereza, Association de Prise en Charge des Orphelins de Guerre (APECOG ), ntidendegeorges@yahoo.fr Chile. On 7 April CMC campaigner Pamela Velasquez gave a presentation on cluster munitions and the process to ban the weapon in a high school to raise awareness of the issue.Pamela Velasquez, pamevelasquez@gmail.com Germany. On 23 April the German Bundestag (upper chamber) approved a cluster munitions bill that will go back to the Bundesrat (lower chamber) on 15 May for approval. After publication in the official gazette, Germany's President will sign the ratification instrument. Germany is expected to deposit its ratification instrument prior to the Berlin Conference on Stockpile Destruction that will take place from 25-26 June 2009.http://www.spdfraktion.de/cnt/rs/rs_dok/0,,47144,00.htmlThomas Küchenmeister, Actiongroup Landmine.de, thomas.kuechenmeister@googlemail.com Holy See. On 5 April Pope Benedict XVI made an urgent appeal to the whole international community to ban antipersonnel mines and cluster bombs. "I would like to encourage the countries who have still not yet done so," he said, "to sign without delay these important instruments of international humanitarian law, which the Holy See has always supported".Iraq. On 4 April, the International Day for Mine Awareness, Moaffak Al Khafaji from the Iraqi Handicapped Survivors Society organized an event in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment and the National Mine Action Authority. The event was attended by the Minster of the Environment, Dr. Nareen Othmaan, representatives of several other ministries, parliamentarians, international organizations, NGOs, survivor groups and media. Moaffak Al Khafaji, Iraqi Handicapped Survivors Society, moaffak61@yahoo.com Italy. In March 2009 the Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines invited Song Kosal from the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines to participate in the "Youth in Action" and "Youth in Defence of Human Rights" events. During her stay in Italy Song Kosal had the opportunity to visit Pope Benedict XVI at Vatican City. She also spoke at an official meeting with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and highlighted that her country needs more funding for clearance operations and to provide support for survivors of landmines and cluster munitions.Song Kosal, Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines, songkosal_pov@yahoo.com Nepal. The Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines (NCBL) held meetings and workshops on cluster munitions with leaders of a variety of religious organisations including the National Council of Churches of Nepal, Islamic Federation, World Hindu Association, Catholic Church and others. At the events the NCBL distributed information materials on the issue and encouraged participants to urge the Nepalese government to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Purna Shova Chitrakar, Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines (NCBL), ncbl@mail.com.np Switzerland. Handicap International and a selection of internationally renowned press cartoonists have produced 11 campaign video clips on antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. The MineToons were broadcasted by several TV stations including TV5 Monde and TSR and are now available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/hisuisse. The cartoon clips were produced in collaboration with Chappatte and "Cartooning for Peace", with the support of the Confederation.Paul Vermeulen, Handicap International, pvermeulen@handicap-international.ch As part of the ICRC "Our world. Your move." campaign, press cartoonist Chappatte went to Lebanon and produced a comic-book report which documents how the people of southern Lebanon still live with the daily threat of cluster-munition bomblets that contaminate the region.The comic-book report entitled "Death in the fields" is available on the ICRC website: http://www.cicr.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/chapatte-bd-080509?opendocumentTajikistan. On April 27, two children were seriously wounded by the explosion of a cluster bomb in eastern Tajikistan where unexploded weapons dating from the civil war in the 1990s still threaten civilians. The two children aged 11 and 18 were tending cattle when the bomblet exploded. While officials in Dushanbe note they are working on the necessary domestic procedures, Tajikistan has not yet signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. "Joining the treaty would open the door to increased international funding to help clear contaminated land and therefore prevent more injuries and deaths" said Bakhtiyor Begmuradov, CMC campaigner from Tajikistan. "How many children will have to get injured or die before more action is taken?"http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=1486Bakhtiyor Begmuradov, Harmony of the World, tajikistan@icbl.org Trinidad and Tobago. On 12 April, the CMC wrote to Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs as hosts of both the Summit of the Americas (held in April 2009) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (to be held in November 2009), urging the country to be the first Caribbean state to sign the Convention.****4. TAKE ACTIONTake part in the Global Week of Action against Cluster Bombs, 29 May - 4 June 2009The Global Week of Action against Cluster Bombs is an opportunity for campaigners across the world to call on all governments to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions by signing and ratifying it as soon as possible.The Week of Action takes place exactly one year after the historic negotiations and formal adoption of the Convention in Dublin, Ireland on 30 May 2008.Please tell Laura Cheeseman at the CMC (laura@stopclustermunitions.org) if you are taking part in the Week of Action. We want to make sure that every campaigner that is taking part is counted in the number of participating countries and that your action is listed on the CMC website and in our bulletins.Read the full action alert here: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/gwoa2009/****5. RESOURCESThe CMC has updated and produced a new range of campaign materials to support the ratification and universalisation campaign. All CMC campaign resources are available at:http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/****6. UPCOMING EVENTSMay 200925-29 May - Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Standing Committees Meetings, Geneva, Switzerland29 May - Release of the new global report by Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action: "Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice"29 May- 4 June - Global Week of Action against Cluster Bombshttp://www.stopclustermunitions.org/gwoa2009June 200925-26 June - Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions Stockpiles, GermanyJuly 20097-8 July - Dushanbe Regional Workshop in advance of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, TajikistanFor a full list of upcoming events this year check out http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/