09 June 2009

CMC Newsletter May 2009

CMC Newsletter May 2009****1. INTERNATIONAL NEWSGlobal Week of Action Against Cluster Bombs - Campaigners in 58 countries take actionThe Global Week of Action Against Cluster Bombs took place from 29 May-4 June 2009, one year after the historic negotiations and formal adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dublin, Ireland on 30 May 2008. Campaigners in 58 countries participated in the week of action calling on governments to sign and ratify the Convention through letter actions, meetings and workshops, photo exhibitions and film screenings. Campaigners challenged decision-makers and fellow citizens with the question "What are you doing to ban cluster bombs?" CMC launched a targeted global web action asking individuals to send letters to five governments in each world region asking them to sign the treaty. With a single click, letters were sent to decision-makers in Brazil, Cambodia, Iraq, Nigeria and Serbia. http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/tellthemtosign/A full report on all actions that took place during the Global Week of Action will follow shortly."Banning Cluster Munitions" report launched"Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice," a new report prepared by Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action and published by Landmine Monitor, was successfully released on Friday 29 May in Geneva, Switzerland. A press conference at the United Nations resulted in 68 media hits in 25 countries and 9 languages. Over 100 representatives from governments, international organizations and civil society participated in a briefing on report findings later that day on the margins of the Mine Ban Treaty standing committee meetings. The 288-page report contains entries on 150 countries, and documents the creation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, looking at governments' engagement in the Oslo Process. It also considers government practice with respect to the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions. The report is available online at www.lm.icbl.org/cm/2009. Mexico is first country in the Americas to ratify the ConventionOn 6 May Mexico became the seventh country to formally ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions by depositing its legal instrument at the United Nations in New York. "We are thrilled that Mexico is the first country from the continent to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions," said Héctor Guerra, Mexico representative of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). "It is now crucial that Mexico continue to play an active role by promoting further signatures and ratifications of this important Convention, especially in its current capacity as a member of the UN Security Council."http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=1491Support for Lao PDR to host First Meeting of States PartiesOn 26 May Norway in cooperation with Lao PDR and Germany hosted a briefing for all states on the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the margins of the Mine Ban Treaty Inter-sessional Standing Committee Meetings. The key purpose of the briefing was to gather support for the offer by Lao PDR to host the First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Norway and Germany both warmly welcomed the Lao offer from the podium and Australia and Austria endorsed it from the floor. Participants were also updated on the Lao Support Group that has recently been established to provide assistance to Lao PDR for the First Meeting of States Parties. It is an informal group open to all states wishing to provide assistance to Lao PDR. So far Australia, Canada, Germany and Norway have offered specific support as part of this group, which also includes Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, CMC, UNDP and ICRC.Israel hands over cluster bomb maps to LebanonOn 12 May, Israel handed over maps and data to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) which detail where Israel dropped cluster bombs in southern Lebanon during the 2006 war with Hezbollah. Most of the cluster bombs were fired in the last 72 hours of the 34-day conflict and contaminated large areas with hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster munitions, which have killed at least 20 people and maimed nearly 200 others so far. The UN and the Lebanese government had repeatedly called on Israel to provide the technical strike data on the number, type and location of munitions fired in the conflict to help speed up the clearance operations and prevent casualties among civilians and mine-clearance experts.http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=30786&Cr=&Cr1****2. MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTHDefence Professionals, 7 May 2009"Norwegian cluster munitions soon to be history"http://www.defpro.com/news/details/7259/AFP, 7 May 2009"Colombia destruye sus últimas bombas de tipo racimo"http://mx.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/090507/latinoamerica/colombia_armas_militarBBC, 13 May 2009"UN gets Israeli cluster bomb maps"http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8048460.stmCNN, 15 May 2009"Young Lebanon bomb victim faces uncertain future"http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/05/12/icrc.lebanon.red.cross/index.html?iref=mpstoryview#cnnSTCTextSouth Asian Media Net, 15 May 2009"Ratify Cluster Bomb Convention: Peacenik"http://www.southasianmedia.net/cnn.cfm?id=579371&category=Human%20Rights&Country=NEPALThe Phnom Penh Post, 21 May 2009"Campaign mobilises UXO cleanup"http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009052125966/Life-Style/Campaign-mobilises-UXO-cleanup.htmlEP Social¬, 29 May 2009"Fundación por la Paz se suma a la Semana Mundial de Acción Contra las Bombas Racimo"http://www.europapress.es/epsocial/fundaciones/noticia-fundacion-paz-suma-semana-mundial-accion-contra-bombas-racimo-20090529144850.htmlWashington Post, 29 May 2009"Countries Destroying Cluster Bomb Stocks: Report"http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/29/AR2009052900971.htmlHurriyet Daily News, 2 June 2009"Turkey, US refuse to OK Cluster Bomb Ban"http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/10501813.asp****3. CAMPAIGN AND COUNTRY UPDATESArgentina. A Latin American inter-parliamentarian conference entitled "Constructing Public Policies on Security" took place in Buenos Aires from 14-15 May 2009. The Oslo Process and the Convention on Cluster Munitions were discussed during a session on "Arms in the International Agenda". Norway's Ambassador to Argentina, Amb. Nils Haugstveit, highlighted that the work on cluster munitions did not finish after the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008, since still 23 ratifications are needed for the Convention to enter into force. He urged parliamentarians from the region and beyond to sign and ratify the Convention. A representative from the Argentinean Ministry for Foreign Affairs presented on Argentina's position on cluster munitions, including its role as chair of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Maria Pia Devoto talked about the role of civil society and explained how the work of the CMC is crucial to the success of the Oslo Process.Maria Pia Devoto, Asociacion para Politicas Publicas, piadevoto@app.org.ar Colombia. On 7 May Colombia started to destroy its cluster munitions stockpiles by destroying all of its CB-250K cluster bombs at the Marandua military base in eastern Columbia. The stockpile destruction took place in front of delegates from 14 countries. CMC campaigner Camilo witnessed the event and shot a short film which is available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnGlFuTSSc0Camilo Serna Villegas, Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas, camilo@colombiasinminas.org Germany. On 15 May the German Bundesrat (lower chamber) adopted a cluster munitions bill in the final parliamentary step of the German national ratification process. The next step is for President Köhler to sign the law before it can be deposited in New York.Thomas Küchenmeister, Actiongroup Landmine.de, thomas.kuechenmeister@googlemail.com India. Bina Nepram has written an article entitled "India and the Convention on Cluster Munitions" which will be published in July 2009 in Strategic Analysis, a journal published by the Indian Defence Ministry's think tank.Binalakshmi Nepram, Control Arms Foundation of India, binalakshmi@gmail.com Iraq. On 25 May the Iraqi Handicapped Survivors Society held a symposium on survivors' rights which was attended by representatives of the Iraqi government, survivor organizations and media. Earlier in the month Iraqi survivors met with Mr. Mahmood Shekh Radi, Minster of Labor and Social Affairs and discussed the need for Iraq to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Iraqi Handicapped Survivors Society also urged their government to sign the Convention in an interview with a national TV station an 2 May. Moaffak Al Khafaji, Iraqi Handicapped Survivors Society, moaffak61@yahoo.com Japan. The Japanese ratification bill has passed the Foreign Policy Committee and the House of Representatives. The legislation still needs to go through the House of Lords and the hearing procedures at the Committee of Economy, Trade, and Industry. Japan is expected to complete the ratification process in June.Motoko Mekata, Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines, motokomekata@nifty.com Luxembourg. On 7 May the Luxembourg parliament unanimously approved the ratification bill for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The legislation also bans knowingly financing cluster munitions or submunitions.Jérôme Bobin, Handicap International Luxembourg, jbobin@handicap-international.lu Nepal. The Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines (NCBL) and the World Council of Religions for Peace (WCRP) organised a seminar on "The Responsibility of Religious Institutions to Stem Human Loss from Landmines and Cluster Bombs" on 14 May 2009 in Kathmandu. Purna Shova Chitrakar, coordinator of the NCBL, gave a presentation on the devastating effects of cluster bombs. The event was attended by various religious leaders including from the World Hindu Federation, the Islamic Organisation Nepal, the Jain community and the Christian Society. The participants concluded that religious institutions should have a bigger role in urging the government to commit to a ban on landmines and cluster bombs and offered their support for the campaigns to ban both weapons.Press release, 15 May 2009 Purna Shova Chitrakar, Nepal Campaign to Ban Landmines (NCBL), ncbl@mail.com.np New Zealand. The Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition (ANZCMC) has written to New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Murray McCully following a request from the United States that New Zealand recommit Special Air Services (SAS) troops to the US-led NATO operation in Afghanistan. The coalition is seeking assurances from their government that the New Zealand troops will not be expected to assist with the use, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions during the operation since the US has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions and has been one of the biggest producers and users of cluster munitions.Mary Wareham, Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition (ANZCMC), wareham@hrw.org Norway. Norway started the destruction of its cluster munitions stockpiles through an event on 7 May, which was attended by representatives from government including Norway's Deputy Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide and CMC member Per Nergaard from Norwegian People's Aid (NPA):http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/fd/Whats-new/News/2009/norwegian-cluster-munitions-soon-to-be-h.html?id=560048Per Nergaard, Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), per.nergaard@npaid.org Philippines. The Philippine Campaign against Cluster Munitions gave a presentation on cluster munitions and the Convention at the 1st World Creative Youth Forum which took place in Quezon City on 8 May. The event was attended by 150 participants from across the world.Jaymelyn Nikkie T. Uy, Philippine Campaign against Cluster Munitions, jnuy@mc.edu.ph Spain. The youth section of Moviment per la Pau organized three film screenings on the issues of cluster bombs, antipersonnel landmines and the consequences of war. Each screening was followed by a debate on the respective issue. On 13 May the group showed "Bombies", a film by Jack Silberman that describes the devastating impact of cluster munitions in Lao PDR, where cluster bombs were used by US forces 40 years ago.Lucia Oltra, Joves de Moviment per la Pau, cooperacio@movimentperlapau.org Sweden. Sweden has appointed a ‘special investigator' who will coordinate the ratification process for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Campaigners and other stakeholders will be invited to take part in a consultation process on the implementing legislation this summer. The responses will be collected in early autumn and ratification legislation will be drafted with the aim of presenting the bill to parliament in spring 2010.Anna Ek, Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS), anna.ek@svenska-freds.se Vietnam. Chuck Searcy from the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund and Project RENEW, published an article "Cluster munitions treaty will help rid Vietnam of explosive legacy of war" in the influential People's Army daily newspaper. http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/news/?id=1503Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia. Robert Kinnear undertook a two-month 7,000 km motorbike journey on the Ho Chi Minh trail with a pineapple in his hand to mobilise support for UXO cleanup efforts in the region. The undertaking was named "Project Pineapple" since the brightly coloured BLU 26 submunitions were nicknamed "pineapples" by the American troops who used them in the Vietnam War. Robert Kinnear set off with his Minsk motorcycle from Luang Prabang, stopped in Hanoi on 19 March to commemorate the invasion of Iraq, called at Ho Chin Minh on 30 April for the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, and concluded his journey in Phnom Penh in mid May. To find out more check out the Project Pineapple Blog: http://projectpineapple.blogspot.com/ Robert Kinnear, project.pineapple@yahoo.com Yemen. Campaigners in Yemen published a newspaper article and had an interview broadcasted in the Youth Radio Net urging Yemen to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.Saleh Al-Dahyani, Yemen Mine Awareness Association, saleh0096@hotmail.com Zambia. The Zambian Coalition against Cluster Munitions in collaboration with the Scripture Union of Zambia held a seminar on cluster munitions for religious leaders on 21 May. The event aimed to educate the religious community on cluster munitions and the Convention, and to discuss opportunities of involving religious leaders in the ratification and implementation campaign in Zambia.Bob Mtonga, IPPNW Zambia, Zambia@icbl.org ****4. TAKE ACTIONTell Brazil, Cambodia, Iraq, Nigeria and Serbia to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions by taking the CMC online action: http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/tellthemtosign/****5. NEW RESOURCESThe new CMC Leaflet and Action Card are now available to download on the CMC website:http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/campaigning/Handicap 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 EVENTSJune 200925-26 June - Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions, Germanyhttp://www.berlin-ccm-conference.org/July 20097-8 July - Dushanbe Regional Workshop in advance of the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, TajikistanAugust 200912 August - 3 year anniversary of the cluster bombing of Lebanon, and 1 year anniversary of the use of cluster bombs in GeorgiaFor a full list of upcoming events this year check out http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/calendar/