04 September 2009

CMC Newsletter August 2009

CMC Newsletter August 2009****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSCluster bomb ban hits half-way markThe global Campaign against cluster bombs has received a major boost with the ratification of the treaty banning the weapons by three additional countries. Croatia deposited its instrument of ratification at the UN headquarters on Monday 17 August followed by its neighbour, Slovenia, on Wednesday 19 August. Subsequently, on 24 August, the UN Office for Legal Affairs sent its official notification that Zambia had deposited its instrument on 12 August, making it the 15th country to do so. Seventeen countries have now ratified this crucial treaty in less than nine months. Thirteen more ratifications are needed to reach 30 and trigger entry into force six months later.Never Again: Campaigners remember cluster bomb attacks in Lebanon and GeorgiaThroughout the month of August, Israel, Georgia and Russia were urged to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions as members of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) held events and activities to remember the victims of cluster bomb strikes by those countries. To mark the anniversary of the cluster bombings in Georgia in August 2008 and in Lebanon in August 2006, campaigners around the world held candle light vigils, organised meetings and public events, sent letters to Israel, Georgia and Russia, and activated media on the issue. (see also Campaign and Country Updates)CCW Group of Governmental Experts Informal Consultations, 17-21 August 2009During the informal consultations of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts on cluster munitions, which took place from 17-21 August, positions remained widely divergent between those countries that have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions and those outside the treaty. Signatory countries strongly spoke out against the current draft of a new Protocol which falls far short of the provisions of the Convention and, in the view of the CMC, would not make a humanitarian difference on the ground. Pro-ban States insisted on the Protocol's compatibility with the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Considering the deep divisions between States, it is very unlikely that an agreement can be reached on a new Protocol in November.In advance of the consultations the CMC circulated a memorandum calling on signatories of the Convention on Cluster Munitions not to accept any text that would run counter to the international norm that the treaty is swiftly establishing:http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/cmcmemoccwaug2009.pdf****2. MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTHRTL (Netherlands)Onderzoek in Gori, de dood van Stan Storimans (Documentary on Stan Storimans)http://www.rtl.nl/(/actueel/rtlnieuws/)/components/actueel/rtlnieuws/2009/08_augustus/12/verrijkingsonderdelen/0812_0842_onderzoek_in_gori_de_dood_van_stan_storimans.xmlDPA, 11 August 2009Geneva Conventions at 60: Standing the test of time?http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/280915,geneva-conventions-at-60-standing-the-test-of-time--feature.htmlAFP, 12 August 2009Lebanon brothers wounded by cluster bombhttp://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090812/wl_mideast_afp/lebanonclusterbombsun_20090812150925KUNA, 12 August 2009CMC calls on Israel, Georgia, Russia to join global ban on cluster bombs http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesPublicSite/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2019348&Language=enDaily Star (Lebanon), 13 August 2009Cluster bomb wounds two young siblingshttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=105243Vatican Radio, 18 August 2009Call for Ratification of Cluster Bomb Treaty http://www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=310357Alertnet, 19 August 2009DanChurchAid clears cluster bombs in Lebanonhttp://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/danchaid/1914cbdee67ba41477254bc0d9ea3182.htmLebanon Now, 20 August 2009The women demining the Southhttp://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=109939****3. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESAfghanistan. CMC campaigner Suliman Aminy met Afghan President Karzai to discuss the ratification process for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. President Karzai committed to following through the ratification process and also pledged more financial support for cluster munition victims provided he will be re-elected as President of Afghanistan.Suliman Aminy, CMC Afghanistan, sulimanaminy@gmail.com Argentina. On 20 August, the Senate of Argentina passed unanimously a project urging the executive power to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. CMC campaigner Maria Pia Devoto attended the Senate plenary session and said: "Although this project is not binding for the Executive Power it is encouraging to realize that we are not alone in this fight and parliamentarians are powerful allies in this crusade".Maria Pia Devoto, Asociacion para Politicas Publicas, piadevoto@gmail.com Belgium. To mark the anniversary of the cluster bombings in Georgia one year ago and in Lebanon 3 years ago, Handicap International Belgium and the Ban Advocates issued a press release on 12 August calling on all states to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions and urging those countries that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the treaty: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/228178/125007055370.htmStan Brabant, Handicap International Belgium, stan.brabant@handicap.be Canada. Nancy Ingram and Paul Hannon from Mines Action Canada met with the new Afghan representative to Canada, Ambassador Jawed Ludin, to discuss the Afghan ratification process for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Ludin signed the Convention for Afghanistan in Oslo in December 2008 following a dramatic last-minute decision by President Karzai. Ludin stated that he expects the ratification process to run smoothly in Afghanistan as both the Parliament and the President are supportive of the treaty. He said that he would write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enquire about the status of the ratification process.Nancy Ingram, Mines Action Canada, nancy@minesactioncanada.org Mines Action Canada is holding their 2009 Youth Leaders Forum from 28 November-5 December in Cartagena, Colombia in conjunction with the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty. Delegates will participate in skills building sessions and work together to develop action steps young campaigners can take in the next two years to advance the goals of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition. For further Information contact Sarah Simoneau at sarah@minesactioncanada.org.Georgia. On 4 August campaigners in Georgia organised a media evening in Tbilisi on the use of cluster bombs during the conflict between Georgia and Russia in August 2008, highlighting the need for Georgia to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The event was attended by 32 participants including cluster bomb survivors, military experts, civil society organisations and journalists representing Georgia's most popular TV and radio channels as well as the most reputable newspapers. After a minute of silence to commemorate the victims of cluster bombs, a documentary on the cluster bomb attacks during the August 2008 conflict was screened. In addition photos illustrating the impact of cluster bombs and various background materials on cluster munitions and the Convention were distributed to the audience. In the days after the event the issue was covered by most media channels and newspapers:http://www.1tv.ge/ReadMore.aspx?LanguageID=1&Location=11182Maia Buchukuri, maia.buchukuri@gmail.com India. At the beginning of August the Indian CBL organised a number of "Remembering - Hiroshima & Nagasaki" activities in schools and public places in partnership with the Raman Science Centre, International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and the International Network of Scientists and Engineers for Social Responsibility (INES). Campaigners tied the issues of landmines and cluster bombs into the activities by using the theme of "Nuclear bombs - Weapons of Mass Destruction" and "Landmines, Cluster Munitions - Weapons of Mass Destruction in Slow Motion". More than 200 students from 16 schools participated in a quiz on nuclear weapons, landmines and cluster bombs. A conference on the issue was held in Hyderabad in North India on 6 August with participation from political leaders, high level government officials, religious leaders, civil society organisations and young people. A public rally took place in the city centre of Hyderabad after the conference.The Indian CBL also sent letters to Georgia, Israel and Russia urging them to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Balkrishna Kurvey, Indian CBL, iipdep_ngp@sancharnet.in Iraq. The Iraqi Alliance of Disability Organisations (IADO) held their second national conference in Baghdad from 12-16 August 2009. The event was attended by the Iraqi Prime Minister, members of parliament, representatives of the Ministry of Health, Human Rights, Civil Society and the Environment, National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), UNAMI, ICRC, as well as representatives of disability organisations from all Iraqi provinces and media. Moaffak Al Khafaji, Head of IADO, spoke at the event and urged the Iraqi government to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The recommendations that were sent to the Iraqi Parliament as well as all Ministries following the conference also included a call on Iraq to sign and ratify the Convention.Moaffak Al Khafaji, Iraqi Handicapped Survivors Society, moaffak61@yahoo.com Israel. Tirza Leibowitz of Survivor Corps and Thomas Nash of CMC met with the Israeli delegation to the CCW on 21 August. The CMC delegation noted the anniversary events that had been undertaken related to the use of cluster munitions in 2006 during the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, as well as the anniversary of the weapon's use in Georgia in 2008. CMC also noted that the Association for Civil Rights in Israel had recently joined the CMC as our first member in Israel. CMC stressed the importance of dialogue with the Israeli government on this issue and encouraged Israel to undertake national steps that would be envisaged under the CCW draft Protocol, regardless of whether this Protocol is adopted or not. Israel expressed frustration that certain States were holding other States to a standard - the CCM - that is not widely accepted and that will not be signed by key producer and stockpiler States. Israel expressed hope for a new ‘effective and realistic' Protocol to be adopted in November, while CMC expressed its concern that the language in the draft Protocol runs counter to the new standard set out in the CCM.Thomas Nash, Cluster Munition Coalition, Thomas@stopclustermunitions.org Lebanon. The National Committees for Mine Risk Education (MRE) and Mine Victim Assistance (MVA) in partnership with Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) held a week of solidarity with the victims of mines and cluster bombs from 10 - 16 August 2009. Activities during the week included candle light vigils in 7 regions across Lebanon (Tripoli, Byblos, West Bekaa, Hasbaya, Nabatiyeh, Tyre, and Bint Jbeil) and a scouts' march in the city centre of Beirut which was organised in collaboration with the Lebanese Scouts Federation. In addition awareness raising messages were placed on billboards, and flyers on the issue were distributed in many locations. All activities called on the Lebanese government to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities without delay. The events were covered by various print media.Khaled Yamout, Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) Lebanon, landmines@npalebanon.org Mexico. CMC campaigner Héctor Guerra gave a radio interview on 11 August on the anniversary of the use of cluster bombs in Georgia in August 2008 and in Lebanon in August 2006. He also sent letters to Georgia, Russia and Israel urging them to sign the Convention.Héctor Guerra, CMC Mexico, ettoregv@yahoo.fr Netherlands. On 12 August Dutch television network RTL 4 broadcasted a one-hour special on the cluster bomb strikes in Georgia in August 2008 to mark the death of their cameraman Stan Storimans, who was killed together with six civilians by a Russian cluster bomb attack in the city of Gori on 12 August 2008. The documentary included interviews with Marc Garlasco, of CMC member Human Rights Watch. IKV Pax Christi sent letters to the Russian and Georgian Embassies in The Hague urging the countries to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Roos Boer, IKV Pax Christi, Boer@ikvpaxchristi.nl New Zealand. The Coordinator of the Aotearoa New Zealand CMC (ANZCMC), Mary Wareham, undertook a speaking tour in August to remember the victims of cluster munition use in Georgia and Lebanon and to discuss the proposed implementing legislation for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. She spoke to local secondary students at the Red Cross in Wellington (12 August), to Canterbury University students in Christchurch (13 August), to Auckland University students (26 August) and will complete the outreach with a talk for Victoria University of Wellington students (14 September). The ANZCMC also wrote to representatives of Georgia, Israel, and Russia urging them to renounce cluster bombs and join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. See: http://www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz/2009/08/18/august-actions-against-cluster-bombs/Mary Wareham, ANZCMC, wareham@hrw.org Nicaragua. On 20 August, the Nicaraguan Parliament adopted ratification legislation on the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Nicaragua is expected to deposit its instrument of ratification at the UN headquarters in New York shortly.Yassir Chavarría Gutiérrez, Institute of Strategic Studies and Public Policies, yaschav@hotmail.com Uganda. To mark the anniversary of the cluster bomb strikes by Georgia and Russia in August 2008 the Uganda Landmine Survivors Association sent letters to the governments of Georgia and Russia urging them to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Margaret Arach Orech, Uganda Landmine Survivors Association, margaret@icbl.org United Kingdom. CMC staff, Laura Cheeseman and Thomas Nash, met with the First Counselor and another representative of the Lebanese embassy in London on 12 August to inform them of the CMC activities taking place around the world in commemoration of the cluster bomb victims in Lebanon and elsewhere. Laura and Thomas also enquired about Lebanon's ratification process. The embassy staff said that Lebanon's ratification was delayed due to the elections and was dependent on a new government being formed before the process could begin. They were confident that the ratification would be a priority for the new government. The embassy also noted that there had been a cluster bomb accident that morning injuring 2 young boys.Laura Cheeseman, Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), laura@stopclustermunitions.org Handicap International UK sent letters to Georgia and Russia calling on these governments to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Beatrice Cami, Handicap International UK, beatrice.cami@hi-uk.org United States. Virgil Wiebe, a law professor and advisor of the Mennonite Central Committee, attended a meeting with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on 26 August 2009. Virgil gave a presentation on cluster munitions and focussed specifically on the weapon's devastating humanitarian impact in Southeast Asia. Following the presentation Senator Klobuchar announced that she will co-sponsor the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2009. This bill comes short of a total ban on cluster bombs but would bring U.S. policy closely in line with the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It would limit U.S. use of cluster bombs to those that have a 1 percent or lower dud rate.See: http://minnesotaindependent.com/42996/klobuchar-cluster-bombs-atk-billVirgil Wiebe, Mennonite Central Committee, VOWIEBE@stthomas.edu Religions for Peace sent letters to the New York Missions of Georgia, Russia and Israel urging them to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Allison Pytlak, Religions for Peace, apytlak@religionsforpeace.org Survivor Corps posted a news story on the anniversary of the cluster bombings in Georgia and Lebanon on their website and sent letters to Georgia, Russia and Israel.http://my.survivorcorps.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=377&postId=5055967022464558225Nerina Cevra, Survivor Corps, ncevra@survivorcorps.org ****4. TAKE ACTIONUrge your government to sign and/or ratify the Convention on Cluster MunitionsSo far 98 governments have signed the Convention and 17 countries have ratified it. Which government will be the 100th signatory? Which countries will be in the first 30 to bring the treaty into force?Make sure your government signs and ratifies the Convention on Cluster Munitions!Check out the resources section of the CMC website for template letters, action cards, posters and other campaigning tools: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/****5. UPCOMING EVENTSSeptember 20092-4 September - 2nd Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, New York, US9-11 September - South Africa Regional Workshop in preparation of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty14-15 September - Regional Workshop on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Santiago, ChileOctober 20091 October-3 November - First Committee on Disarmament and International Security (United Nations General Assembly 64th session), New York, US8-9 October - Tirana Regional Workshop in preparation of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, AlbaniaNovember 20099-10 November - Third Conference of the High Contracting Parties to CCW Protocol V, Geneva, Switzerland11 November - Eleventh Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II, Geneva, Switzerland12-13 November - 2009 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), Geneva, Switzerland16-17 November - Regional Conference on the Promotion and Universalisation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Bali, Indonesia30 November - Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, Colombia4 December