03 July 2009

CMC Newsletter June 2009

CMC Newsletter June 2009****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWS 87 Governments meet in Berlin to plan stockpile destructionOn 25 and 26 June Germany hosted the first major international conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions since the treaty opened for signature in Oslo last December. The conference focused on the destruction of cluster munitions. 87 of the 98 signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions attended the event, including all but two signatories that have stockpiled cluster munitions, along with international organisations, civil society representatives from 21 countries and representatives from companies involved in stockpile destruction. The conference included sessions on the technical aspects of stockpile destruction as well as on national planning, reporting and international cooperation. "This meeting in Berlin and the attendance of so many countries show that the treaty is more than words on paper. Signatories are determined to implement it" said Thomas Nash, Coordinator of the CMC.In his opening speech Minister of State Gernot Erler announced that Germany had finished its ratification process and would be depositing its instrument of ratification with the UN in the coming days. CMC held a lunchtime briefing on ratification of the Convention where several countries gave updates on progress regarding their national ratification process and throughout the conference campaigners lobbied delegates to ratify the Convention as soon as possible and to start making plans to destroy stockpiles. CMC also organised briefings for delegates in French and Spanish during which more information was gathered regarding ratification procedures. (see country updates below). http://www.berlin-ccm-conference.org/menu/substantial-information/http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/?id=14733 ratifications and 2 signatures in June show continuing momentum behind the ConventionThree more countries ratified the Convention in June. Niger became the 8th country to ratify the Convention on 2 June, Albania became the 9th country to ratify on 16 June, followed by Spain on 17 June, bringing the total number of ratifications to 10 and one third of the way to entry into force. On 12 June Jamaica and Nigeria signed the treaty, bringing the total number of signatories to 98. Jamaica is the first country in the Caribbean to sign the treaty. Nigeria's signature bears particular significance as it is one of the few countries in Africa to have used the weapon in the past. These signatures and ratifications show the continuing strong momentum behind the treaty banning cluster bombs. Now 20 more countries must ratify the treaty to reach the critical threshold of 30 required for it to enter into force and take effect.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=1628http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=1611http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=1580****2. MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTHBBC, 10 June 2009"People of Laos suffer bomb legacy"http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8089366.stmLa Provincia, 10 June 2009"España denegó por primera vez la venta de 17.200 bombas de racimo" http://www.laprovincia.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2009061000_6_236903__Nacional-denego-primera-venta-17200-bombas-racimoJapan Times, 12 June 2009"A nail in the cluster bomb coffin"http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20090612a2.htmlBusiness Day, 16 June 2009"Nigeria signs UN Convention on Cluster Munitions" http://www.businessdayonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3221:nigeria-signs-un-convention-on-cluster-munitions&catid=85:national&Itemid=340Relief Web, 23 June 2009"No Loopholes in Cluster Munitions Ban"http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/MYAI-7T83HS?OpenDocumentAFP, 25 June 2009"US, Israel, Russia Absent at Cluster Bomb Talks" http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4156447&c=EUR&s=LANDPA, 26 June 2009"German government success of Berlin cluster bomb talks - Summary" http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/274995,german-government-success-of-berlin-cluster-bomb-talks--summary.htmlIRIN Africa, 30 June 2009"Global: Cluster munitions ban expected to come into force in 2010"http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=84776****3. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESAustria. At the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, Austria announced that its stockpile destruction would be completed in 2010 and that it would not retain any cluster munitions for training or research purposes.Canada. On 1 June Handicap International Canada sent a letter to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Lawrence Cannon, urging the government to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions without delay. The letter also calls on Canada to destroy its remaining cluster munitions stockpiles and to do so publicly by inviting representatives from civil society organizations to witness the process.Letter to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1 June 2009 Ndèye-Khoudia Ndiaye, Handicap International Canada, ndeye-khoudia.ndiaye@handicap-international.ca Costa Rica. According to the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations in Geneva, ratification legislation for the Convention on Cluster Munitions has been submitted to the Congress. However, it is unsure if there is enough support for it in the Congress to make it a priority and get it through quickly, as the administration is trying to approve a number of national laws before the elections in February 2010.Croatia. On 5 June Croatia's parliament ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions and they plan to deposit its instrument of ratification with the UN before parliament closes for summer recess on 15 July.Marija Breber, Mine Aid Association, marijabreber@yahoo.com France. On 10 June the Council of Ministers approved the French ratification legislation for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The next step in the ratification process is to get the legislation approved by parliament in the forthcoming weeks. Handicap International (HI) France has been in touch with various members of parliament to speed up the process and ensure the legislation gets approved quickly. HI France also sent letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence calling for a strong implementation law (which will come after ratification) and urging the government to promote the Convention in particular within the European Union. In addition the letters called for increased funds for action against explosive remnants of war. France noted in Berlin that it intends to retain 500 cluster munitions under article 3.Marion Libertucci, Handicap International (HI) France, mlibertucci@handicap-international.org Germany. Germany announced at the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions that it had finished its ratification process and would be depositing its instrument of ratification with the UN in the coming days. Furthermore Germany explained its national plan for the destruction of its approximately 50 million submunitions and stated that the stockpile destruction will be finalized in 2015, depending on industrial and budgetary factors.Italy. Italy stated at the Berlin Conference on 25 and 26 June that it was engaged in steps aiming at early ratification of the Convention, and that in April the Italian Senate approved a motion to engage the government more strictly in supporting the ratification of the treaty and its implementation, including mine action and victim assistance. Italy also said that it had already planned all steps necessary to process its stockpile destruction in a safe and environmentally sensitive manner and was planning to start soon. Italy announced that it had pledged 3 million Euro to the clearance of cluster munitions in Lebanon, carried out by Italian peacekeepers.Iraq. On 10 June Iraqi survivors met with the UN Mission in Iraq at the UNAMI office and discussed Iraq's position towards international treaties, including the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It was agreed to arrange a meeting between survivors and the Human Rights Committee of the Iraqi parliament which would also be attended by UNAMI.Moaffak Al Khafaji, Iraqi Handicapped Survivors Society, moaffak61@yahoo.com Japan. The ratification process in Japan has almost been completed. On 24 June the Economic and Industry Committee approved the ratification legislation and it will now go to the House of Councilors. Japan is expected to ratify by the end of July.Motoko Mekata, Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines, motokomekata@nifty.com Kenya. The Interreligious Council of Kenya has created a new resource guide on cluster munitions for religious communities.Jimmy Obuya, Interreligious Council of Kenya (IRCK), jimmyobuya@gmail.com Montenegro. Montenegro stated at the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions that the Ministry of Defence has prepared a draft law on cluster munitions. The draft law has been passed on to other institutions for agreement before it will be sent forward to the government for acceptance, and then for ratification in Parliament. Montenegro expects that the process will be finalized by fall of this year. The country is already working on planning the destruction of its 535 stockpiled cluster munitions (around the number France intends to retain), in conjunction with a US funded program on the destruction of surplus ammunition, which it hopes will be finalized in 2010.Moldova. Moldova emphasized at the Berlin Conference its wish to be amongst the first countries to report on the full completion of its stockpile destruction but noted its need for appropriate assistance. Moldova stated that it lacked the capacity nationally to safely conduct stockpile destruction and had approached the OSCE mission in Moldova for assistance. While it had destroyed part of its stockpiles of rocket delivered cluster munitions, Moldova said that it would require assistance for the destruction of air delivered cluster munitions, as it had determined destruction outside of the country would be the safest method. The Ministry of Defence and OSCE are currently drafting a project proposal.South Pacific. Ema Tagicakibau from Fiji attended a regional meeting on small arms on 22-23 June in Sydney and approached government officials of Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Niue to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in New York.Ema Tagicakibau, Pacific Concerns Research Centre, etag@pcrc.org.fj UK. The UK Prime Minister has confirmed on parliamentary record that ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions will take place in the 2009/2010 legislative program, which will begin in November. This means that the UK should be able to ratify the Convention in early 2010. In advance of its introduction into Parliament the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will hold a meeting to discuss the legislation with UK NGOs.On 18 June Landmine Action published a note welcoming the UN Secretary-General's call for further action to protect civilians from the effects of explosive weapons. In his report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict the UN Secretary-General expresses growing concern at the indiscriminate and severe humanitarian impact from explosive weapons in general, in particular when used in densely populated areas, and urges all states to sign and ratify both the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Landmine Action Note, 18 June 2009 Portia Stratton, Landmine Action, pstratton@landmineaction.org Zambia. At the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions Zambia stated that reports coming from a general survey had revealed cluster munition contamination in two of its northern provinces. Zambia highlighted that developing countries, particularly in Africa will need technical and financial support and called on states in a position to do so to provide support. Zambia stated it had reached "advanced levels" in its ratification process and would soon be depositing its ratification instrument with the UN Secretary General.****4. TAKE ACTIONUrge Tajikistan to sign the ConventionIn the run up to a regional meeting the government of Tajikistan is hosting to address the issue of landmines, CMC is calling on Tajikistan to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Take part in the action and urge Tajikistan to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions:http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/tajikistan****5. NEW RESOURCESCMC briefing paper on the Convention The new CMC briefing paper is now available in French and Spanish. The document summarises the key obligations on states under the Convention on Cluster Munitions and includes practical guides for campaigners, governments and parliamentarians on how governments can sign and ratify the Convention and why ratification is important to bring the Convention into force.http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/lobbying/New fact sheet on cluster munitions stockpilesLandmine Monitor released a fact sheet on cluster munitions stockpiles in preparation for the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, which was held from 25-26 June. The fact sheet is available in English and German at www.lm.icbl.org/index.php/LM/Our-Research-Products/Factsheets .New selection of maps on cluster munitionsHandicap International has published a new range of maps showing cluster munition producers, users and stockpilers, affected countries and territories, as well as signatories of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and countries that have ratified the treaty. The maps are available at http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/campaigning/****6. UPCOMING EVENTSJuly 20097-8 July - Dushanbe Regional Workshop in advance of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, Tajikistan10-11 July - International Summit of Religious Youth Leaders on Disarmament for Shared Security, Kathmandu, NepalAugust 200912 August - 3 year anniversary of the cluster bombing of Lebanon and 1 year anniversary of the use of cluster bombs in GeorgiaSeptember 20099-11 September - South Africa Regional Workshop in advance of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty14-15 September (TBC) - Regional Workshop on Cluster Munitions, Chile