11 August 2009

CMC Newsletter July 2009

CMC Newsletter July 2009****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSFour countries ratify the Convention in July as momentum continues to growOn 14 July, Japan became the 14th country to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Japan was initially unsupportive of the Oslo Process to ban cluster bombs, contending that the weapons were "indispensable" for the nation's defence. Despite its reservations, Japan decided to adopt the Convention at the end of the negotiations in Dublin on 30 May 2008, and Japan's Foreign Minister signed it in Oslo on 3 December, calling it "an epoch-making treaty."Japan has been a big stockpiler and producer of cluster munitions and its swift ratification of the Convention is a real boost to the movement to eradicate this weapon.On 10 July San Marino and Luxembourg became the 12th and 13th countries respectively to ratify the Convention. Luxembourg's national implementation law is notable for containing a prohibition on investments in cluster bombs following the lead from the Irish government which decided to include such a ban in its national law on cluster munitions.Germany deposited its instrument of ratification at the United Nations in New York on 8 July, just a couple of weeks after hosting a major international conference in Berlin on the destruction of cluster munition stockpiles, which was attended by 87 out of the 98 countries that have signed the Convention. Germany's commitment to the ban on cluster bombs is particularly significant as it has been a major producer, exporter and stockpiler of the weapon. Photos: UN Treaty Section****2. MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTHRTL Info, 1 July 2009L'armée belge ne dispose plus de bombes à sous-munitionshttp://www.rtlinfo.be/rtl/news/article/254062/--Larmée+belge+ne+dispose+plus+de+bombes+à+sous-munitionsAntara News, 2 July 2009Indonesia encourages disarmament efforts in Asiahttp://www.antara.co.id/en/view/?i=1246488475&c=NAT&s=The Phnom Penh Post, 9 July 2009Officials announce further delay on cluster bomb banhttp://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009070927044/National-news/officials-announce-further-delay-on-cluster-bomb-ban.htmlYahoo News, 11 July 2009Banning Cluster Munitions - Baroness Howe of Idlicote statement http://uk.news.yahoo.com/11/20090710/tpl-banning-cluster-munitions-0a1c1a1.htmlStreff, 14 July 2009Luxembourg ratifies CCMhttp://station.lu/newsDetails.cfm?id=24222Mainichi Daily News, 15 July 2009Japan completes ratification of Cluster Munitions Conventionhttp://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090715p2a00m0na001000c.htmlOtago Daily Times (New Zealand), 28 July 2009Cluster bomb Bill passes first readinghttp://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/67284/cluster-bomb-bill-passes-first-readingReuters, 31 July 2009Ordnance "may take centuries to clear" in Vietnamhttp://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-41451320090731Thanh Nien, 1 August 2009A third of central Vietnam still tainted by unexploded ordnancehttp://www.thanhniennews.com/features/?catid=10&newsid=51318****3. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Francky Miantuala from the Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCIM) held a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affaires to discuss the ratification process for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The meeting was attended by Nzuzi Manzembi, member of the DRC delegation to the Oslo Signing Conference, and M. Simabatu, member of the DRC delegation to the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions. The meeting revealed that the next step in the ratification process is for the Permanent Representative of the DRC in New York to send an official letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to let him know that he signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 18 March. Once the Minister receives this letter he will initiate the ratification process.Francky Miantuala, Congolese Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCIM), francky_tos@yahoo.frMexico. CMC campaigner Héctor Guerra gave a presentation on the Oslo Process in Latin America and the Caribbean during a seminar entitled "Disarming Violence through Knowledge" which took place at the United Nations Information Center in Mexico City. In addition Héctor gave a presentation on the use of cluster munitions in Kosovo at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco in Mexico City. Héctor Guerra, ettoregv@yahoo.frNepal. Religions for Peace held an "International Summit of Religious Youth Leaders on Disarmament for Shared Security" in Kathmandu from 10-11 July 2009. Allison Pytlak from Religions for Peace spoke about cluster munitions and the Convention in a session entitled "Discerning Major Challenges to Disarmament in Asia and Beyond". Purna Shova Chitrakar from the Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines (NCBL) gave a presentation on her work on cluster munitions and the landmine issue with a special focus on how she engages youth in her work. As one of the outcomes of the summit the Religions for Peace global youth network will be launching a one-year disarmament campaign which will also include some work on cluster munitions.Allison Pytlak, Religions for Peace, apytlak@religionsforpeace.orgPurna Shova Chitrakar, Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines (NCBL), ncbl@mail.com.npNetherlands. IKV Pax Christi contributed a section on investments in cluster munitions to a report on Dutch investments in controversial arms and controversial arms transfers that was published by De Eerlijke Bankwijzer ("Fair Bank Guide") in July 2009. The report received a lot of media attention including radio, TV, newspapers and online media. The following article was published in English: http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssInvestmentServices/idUSL19526820090701Roos Boer, IKV Pax Christi, Boer@ikvpaxchristi.nlPhilippines. The Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Philippine Campaign against Cluster Munitions attended a meeting of the Oversight Committee for all International Treaties Pertaining to the Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons as observers. The Oversight Committee was convened recently by the Philippine Department of National Defense and is tasked to monitor the country's compliance to the various disarmament treaties that it signs, particularly the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Campaigners regard this effort of the Department of National Defense as a step towards the passing of the Comprehensive Landmines Bill and an effort to jumpstart the ratification process of the CCM.Atty. Sol Santos, Philippine Campaign to ban Landmines, philcbl@gmail.comJaymelyn Nikkie Uy, Philippine Campaign against Cluster Munitions, jayme.uy@gmail.comSlovakia. Amnesty International Slovakia launched its national campaign against cluster munitions urging the Slovakian government to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. A great and innovative new website has been launched specifically for this campaign: www.stopkazetovymbombam.sk. The website includes a web action where users can send electronic postcards to the Slovakian Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Martina Mazurova, Amnesty International Slovakia, kampane@amnesty.skTajikistan. On 7-8 July the government of Tajikistan hosted a regional meeting on the Mine Ban Treaty to prepare for the Review Conference in December. Throughout the workshop civil society representatives engaged with governments to also promote signature and ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.On 9 July campaigners Umarbek Pulodov and Bakhtiyor Begmuradov from Tajikistan and Suliman Aminy from Afghanistan held a meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan on behalf of the CMC to discuss the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Mr. Iskandarov, Head of the UN Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had received a letter from the Ambassador of Tajikistan in Germany whom Umarbek and Suliman had met in Berlin during the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions. He stated that his government is not opposed to the Convention, that they are currently working on the issue and that they would soon organize a governmental workshop on cluster munitions and the Convention. Tajikistan is affected by cluster munitions following use in the civil war in the 1990s.Bakhtiyor Begmuradov, ICBL Tajikistan, tajikistan@icbl.orgUmarbek Pulodov, Ban Advocate, Pulodov_umarbek@yahoo.comSuliman Aminy, Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO), sulimanaminy@gmail.comUruguay. Following lobbying from CMC member ALUDEC, on 20 July the parliament in Uruguay approved ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in both houses. The government is expected to deposit its instrument of ratification shortly at the UN headquarters in New York.Gustavo Guidobono, ALUDEC, director@aludec.org.uyUnited States. At its 76th Triennial General Convention which took place from 8-17 July 2009 in Anaheim, California, the Episcopal Church passed a resolution urging "President Obama and the United States Congress to ban the use, export, stockpiling and production of cluster munitions." The Episcopal Church has approximately 2.3 million members. 150 bishops and over 1,100 deputies and alternates were present at the event and voted on the resolution.Vietnam. Following the launch of a new report on unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Vietnam, Chuck Searcy from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) stated in an interview with the Thanh Nien Daily that the government of Vietnam needs to make UXO clearance a national priority, but also highlighted the need for funding and technical support from other governments and donors. Besides he urged Vietnam to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions and pointed out that the country should benefit from the Convention's provisions on international cooperation and assistance.Chuck Searcy, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), chucksearcy@yahoo.comThe Landmine Survivors Network in Vietnam (LSNV) in cooperation with the Committee for Foreign Non-Governmental Organisation Affairs (COMINGO) and Quang Binh People's Committee (PPC) held a national workshop on 9 July to promote international cooperation for socio-economic development and the implementation of victim assistance in Vietnam. The event was attended by approximately 150 participants including representatives from government ministries and agencies, embassies, over 50 NGOs, media as well as landmine and cluster munitions survivors. It was the first national workshop in which victim assistance in Vietnam was discussed by such a wide variety of stakeholders and the event also provided a platform to encourage the Vietnamese government to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Report Vietnam National Workshop, 9 July 09 Ms. Kim Hoa Nguygen, Landmine Survivors Network, nguyenthikimhoa@landminesurvivors.orgZambia. At a meeting of Zambia's National Committee against Landmines and Cluster Munitions on 29 July the chair announced that the Zambian Cabinet approved ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The ratification instrument should be on its way to be deposited shortly at the UN headquarters in New York.Dr. Robert Mtonga, IPPNW Zambia, Zambia@icbl.org****4. TAKE ACTIONRemember the victims of the cluster bomb attacks in Georgia and LebanonMid-August is a time to remember of the victims of cluster bomb strikes by Georgia and Russia one year ago and by Israel and Hezbollah in South Lebanon three years ago.Take action on or around the 12 August to remember the victims of the cluster bomb attacks in Georgia and Lebanon and to urge all governments to prevent future casualties by signing and ratifying the Convention on Cluster Munitions:1. Write letters to Georgia, Israel, and Russia urging signature of the Convention;2. Issue a press release urging action by these states and/or your own government;3. Take a creative action to remember the victims. For example, light a candle, plant a tree, hold a minute's silence, sign the People's Treaty - http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/peoplestreaty/For further information check out the CMC Action Alert.****5. UPCOMING EVENTSAugust 200912 August - 3 year anniversary of the cluster bombing of Lebanon and 1 year anniversary of the use of cluster bombs in Georgia17-21 August - Informal Consultations of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, SwitzerlandSeptember 20092-4 September - 2nd Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities9-11 September - South Africa Regional Workshop in advance of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty14-15 September - Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, ChileOctober 20091 October-3 November - First Committee on Disarmament and International Security (United Nations General Assembly 64th session)8-9 October - Tirana Regional Workshop in advance of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, Albania