Landmines Left After Armed Group Withdraws in Libya Victim-Activated Explosive Devices Endanger Human Lives, WVCBL/PSALM Demand Action

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An armed group and affiliates fighting for control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, appear to have used antipersonnel landmines and booby traps there in late May 2020,  according to Human Rights Watch.

“Any use of internationally banned landmines is unconscionable,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Nobel Peace Co-Laureate. “Those fighting in Tripoli should halt using landmines and start clearing them to avoid further harm to life and limb.”

Fighters affiliated with the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) commanded by Khalifa Hiftar, including foreign forces, appear to have laid mines as they withdrew from southern districts of the city. For months, LAAF and affiliated forces have been fighting the internationally recognized Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

During the 2011 revolution against Muammar Gaddafi, General Hiftar pledged that armed forces under his command would never use landmines because the indiscriminate weapons cannot distinguish between fighters and civilians. General Hiftar should publicly renew this pledge and instruct fighters under his command and foreign fighters supporting the LAAF to stop using landmines and destroy any stocks in their possession, Human Rights Watch said.

On May 25, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) expressed concern at reports that residents of Tripoli’s Ain Zara and Salahuddin neighborhoods have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed “in/near” their homes. A relative stated that Zakaria al-Jamal died in an explosion on May 22, while checking his family’s home in Salahuddin. A graphic video posted on Twitter on May 25 shows a man named Muhammad Daleh who was killed and whose brother was lying heavily injured on the ground after reportedly trying to dismantle explosive devices in Tripoli.

GNA-aligned forces shared photographs on Twitter on May 29 showing four types of antipersonnel landmines manufactured in the Soviet Union or Russia and claiming they were “laid by the Wagner mercenaries,” a Kremlin-linked private military company that supports the LAAF in the Ain Zara, Al-Khilla, Salahuddin, Sidra, and Wadi al-Rabi districts of Tripoli. Other photographs shared on social media show mines equipped with tripwires and mines used as triggers to detonate larger improvised explosive devices. Video footage shows various explosive charges used to booby trap homes, including antivehicle mines, paired with various types of fuzes and a mix of electronic timers, circuit boards, and modified cell phones. These devices were assembled and used in a manner intended to be detonated by the presence, proximity, or contact of a person, Human Rights Watch said. They are able to incapacitate, injure, or kill one or more people. Such victim-activated explosive devices are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, regardless of whether the antipersonnel mine was assembled in a factory or improvised from locally available materials.

Libya’s governance has been divided between the two entities engaged in an armed conflict since April 2019: the GNA and the rival Interim Government affiliated with the LAAF in eastern Libya. Despite an arms embargo, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, and Russia have provided the LAAF with military support. Foreign fighters from Chad, Sudan, and Syria as well as fighters from a Russia-supported private company also support the armed group. The GNA’s main military backer is Turkey, with additional support from foreign fighters from Chad, Sudan, and Syria.

Libya is not one of the 164 nations that have committed to a comprehensive prohibition of antipersonnel mines, clearance, and victim assistance. The previous government of Muammar Gaddafi expressed interest in the Mine Ban Treaty but made no effort to join it. After Human Rights Watch documented landmine use by Gaddafi forces in 2011, Hiftar and other commanders of armed groups committed to never use landmines and to provide mine clearance, risk education about the dangers of the mines, and victim assistance.

The Gaddafi government acquired and stockpiled millions of landmines that were subsequently seized by anti-government fighters and civilians after storage facilities were abandoned or left unsecured in 2011. The antipersonnel mines discovered in Tripoli in May are of Soviet and Russian origin and include POM-2, PMN-2, and olive drab-colored MON-50 mines that were not previously recorded in Libya, suggesting these landmines may have transferred into the country in recent years.

Libya is affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war dating back to World War II. Since then, landmines and explosive remnants of war in Libya have caused at least 3,252 casualties, according to Landmine Monitor.

“This latest landmine use is adding to Libya’s already considerable burden of uncleared mines, abandoned ordnance, unexploded ordnance, and danger for Libyans for years to come,” Goose said.

Join Treaty Now! Says CMC Ambassador on the 12th Anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

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May 30th is the twelfth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and activists around the world join 121 States Parties and signatories to the Convention in calling on all countries to join without delay. As we prepare to meet in Switzerland this November for the Convention’s Second Review Conference, we can take a moment to reflect on the Convention and its role in preventing further casualties by this indiscriminate weapon.

 The Convention was adopted because all of us, states and NGOs, knew that cluster munitions overwhelmingly injure and kill civilians at the time of attack and decades after. Ever since, the use of cluster munitions has been met with widespread international condemnation. While multilateralism is being tested in the response to many challenges today, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the community created around it represent the best of international cooperation. The spirit of solidarity we all felt in Dublin twelve years ago still presents the driving force behind the Convention on Cluster Munitions and pushes it forward.

It is too early to celebrate though – only through universal adoption of the treaty we will rid the world of this horrific weapon and ensure support for communities living with its deadly legacy.  We want countries to pick up the pace and join in this humanitarian effort as soon as possible!

That said, we also need to ensure that the progress made under the Convention continues and that communities affected by this horrible weapon are supported, and survivor’s rights guaranteed, leaving no one behind. Multilateral action to ensure the safety and rights of all citizens, including cluster munition survivors and all persons with disabilities, has never been more important than in current context of the COVID 19 global pandemic. We will not accept any delays – we need clearance and victim assistance to happen now.

Our message is clear – join the Convention on Cluster Munitions to save lives, ensure survivor rights and prevent future tragedies!

Stop cluster bombs now!

Cluster Munition Coalition Ambassador,

Mr. Branislav Kapetanović 

PSALM Students Campaign From Home

The Covid pandemic has forced schools to shut down but has not dampened  PSALM students desire to see the end of landmines and cluster bombs in the world. Students joined together to campaign remotely by filming videos, writing letters and contacting embassies.

PSALM student Lucca filmed over 20 videos as part of the CMC UNIVERSALIZATION GLOBAL CAMPAIGN. Students also contacted the embassies of all 29 priority countries.

PSALM also celebrated the graduation of amazing 8th grade members. These students have devoted countless hours to campaigning for a better and safer world for all. CONGRATULATIONS!

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ICBL-CMC Actions on Mine Awareness Day 2020

PSALM CELEBRATES THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As WVCBL/PSALM joins the ICBL-CMC Community to mark the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action this year, the world is shuddering under the terrible weight of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which by its nature is disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations around the world, including landmine and cluster munition survivors and persons with disabilities.

The international COVID-19 response is also galvanizing a spirit of multilaterism and cooperation–it is every day more apparent that individual countries cannot afford to go their own way, be it in fighting the pandemic, climate change, or in pursuing international security.

Governments, international organizations and civil society must commit to advancing international solidarity. Humanitarian disarmament is both a driver and a consequence of this push.

Global action against landmines and cluster munitions, and for the rights of survivors, have made a difference the world over, through the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, pillars of humanitarian disarmament.

On International Mine Awareness Day 2020, ICBL-CMC is calling on all countries to join forces with States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions, to protect civilians and eliminate the threat from these banned weapons, globally.

This year, PSALM students joined ICBL-CMC members from around the world to strengthen these global norms and ensure the rights of survivors and impacted communities, including responding to new developments such as the announcement by the United States reversing its de-facto compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty. In response, members from over 21 countries including the US have taken actions including public demonstrations, letter writing to the US Administration, contacting embassies worldwide, a joint statement signed by more than 60 organizations (including PSALM/WVCBL), and a global petition, calling for a return to the US policy of supporting the goals of the Mine Ban Treaty.

“The world has rejected the use of landmines. The United States should be moving toward joining the Mine Ban Treaty, not away from it and should take immediate measures to block the deployment of landmines and prohibit the development, production, or other acquisition of new antipersonnel landmines,” said Jeff Abramson, senior fellow at the Arms Control Association, a member of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines.

PSALM students agree. Students have devoted countless hours to making others aware of the destruction caused by these weapons.

At least 14 States Parties and other ICBL-CMC partners and mine ban advocates have condemned or otherwise expressed concern over the US landmine policy change including: 

Austria, Belgium, Germany, the European Union, France, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sudan (as Mine Ban Treaty President), Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy, US Senators, the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF USA, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

We have also seen how the  United Nations Secretary Generals’ 23 March call for a global ceasefire can contribute to stopping the use of landmines and cluster munitions and preventing further casualties, at a time when hospitals and medical personnel are overwhelmed responding to the pandemic.

Effective mine awareness and mine action must include eliminating the proliferation of the weapons threatening civilian lives. On Mine Awareness and Mine Action Day, we are calling on all countries to join the 108 States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to save lives, ensure survivors’ rights, prevent future tragedies, and support livelihoods.

This year the Second Review Conference of the Convention will take place in November with Switzerland as President and States Parties have set a goal of bringing on board as many new states as possible. We are working to help achieve that goal by reaching out to 29 priority countries—including those that have signed but not yet ratified the convention—and urging them to join this life-saving treaty.

“The CMC played a crucial role in making the Convention on Cluster Munitions happen and works on ensuring the universalization of the Convention–there is no other way, because we cannot give up on our goal to put an end to the horrific and deadly legacy of cluster bombs,” said Dejan Ivanoviç, Director of CMC member organization Assistance, Advocacy, Access, of Serbia. Serbia is one of 26 states and three other areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants globally, but is not a party to the Convention.  

In the lead up to the Review Conference taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland in November, CMC members worldwide are sending letters to states not party and urging them to join immediately, and where not possible, to take interim steps towards joining the treaty.

The CMC network is sharing messages via social media on how joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions is not only a humanitarian imperative—cluster bombs indiscriminately kill girls, boys, women, and men at the time of attack, and for years thereafter—but also an opportunity for states to clearly demonstrate their international solidarity and commitment to saving civilian lives, protecting the most vulnerable, and leaving no one behind.

“On International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, ICBL-CMC stands with all of the communities around the world impacted by landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, and with the partner organizations and governments working to put an end to the tragedies they cause and ensure support for survivors,” said ICBL-CMC Director, Hector Guerra. “There is one clear and universal message in the terrible suffering we are seeing today from the COVID-19 Pandemic; we are in this together.”

UNITED STATES CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES: Joint Statement on the Trump Administration’s New Landmine Policy

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In response to the January 31st announcement by the White House of the Department of Defense’s new landmine policy, we, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to lift existing United States prohibitions against the use of landmines. We urge the White House and Department of Defense (DOD) to reconsider and take steps to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. We urge Congress to take immediate measures to block the deployment of landmines and prohibit the development, production, or other acquisition of new antipersonnel landmines.

Landmines are inherently indiscriminate weapons that maim and kill long after conflicts end. Over the past twenty years, the world has rejected antipersonnel landmines through the Mine Ban Treaty – to which 164 countries are states parties, including every other member of NATO. While still not a signatory, the U.S. has functionally adhered to several provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty – except those that would prohibit the U.S. from ordering the use of landmines on the Korean peninsula. This new landmine policy starkly sets the U.S. apart from its allies and has drawn international condemnation, including from the European Union.

The United States has not used antipersonnel landmines since 1991, excluding the use of a single munition in 2002; it has not exported them since 1992 and has not produced them since 1997. In the last five years, only the government forces of Syria, Myanmar, and North Korea, as well as non-state actors in conflict areas, have used landmines. Of the more than 50 countries that once produced landmines, 41 have ceased production. Under this new landmine policy, the U.S. will rejoin a small handful of mine-producing countries. This is not company the U.S. should keep.

Decades after combatants have retreated or laid down arms, landmines continue to threaten civilian lives and undermine the development of post-conflict communities. Farmers cannot farm, children cannot attend school, businesses cannot thrive, and whole communities are displaced. After mild flooding or frequent rain, previously mapped mines can be uprooted and moved to new locations, reintroducing danger to unknowing civilians and destroying the progress of previous mapping efforts.

Landmines are capable of inflicting unspeakable destruction and harm on their victims – projecting metal fragments into deep wounds, destroying one or more limbs, causing burns, traumatic brain injuries, blindness and deafness, and of course fatally wounding through decapitation, blood loss or other horrific means.

Landmines violate international humanitarian law and do not follow peace agreements and ceasefires. They continue to kill and maim civilians every day, with children especially vulnerable. In recent years, civilian casualties constituted 71-87% of landmine and other explosive remnants of war casualties - with children constituting 42-54% of civilian casualties where data on age is available, according to Landmine Monitor.

Efforts to enhance the “safety” of landmines, including the development of so-called non-persistent or “self-destruct” mines, ignores the fact that they remain indiscriminate. Regardless of the length of their life-span, they cannot distinguish between a combatant or a civilian while active. If the self-destruct or self-deactivation mechanisms were to fail, they would remain lethal and the potential exists for the components to be repurposed into improvised explosive devices.

The way in which landmines are delivered has changed over time. Rather than being planted and mapped by hand, U.S. mines would be dropped from aircraft or deployed through artillery – indiscriminately scattering them over wide unmarked terrain. This could cause civilian harm, including to humanitarian aid workers and peacekeepers who have no way of knowing if they are in a mined area or where mines might be placed.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and its American coordinator Jody Williams received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty. We are proud to be part of the mine ban movement, which continues to make a massive contribution towards global peace and security. Under the provisions of the Treaty, large swaths of territories have been cleared and put back to productive uses. While there are still too many casualties annually, we have seen a dramatic decline since the Treaty came into being. To roll back the progress the global community has made would not only be a tragedy but an affront to the dignity of landmine survivors around the world.

Signed,

United States Campaign to Ban Landmines member organizations:

American Friends Service Committee

Amnesty International USA

Arms Control Association

Center for Civilians in Conflict

Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

Doctors of the World USA

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ

Human Rights Watch

Humanity & Inclusion

Jesuit Refugee Service

Landmines Blow!

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

National Council of Churches

Physicians for Human Rights

Presbyterian Church (USA)

PSALM: Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs

Roots of Peace

Saferworld, Washington Office

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

Washington Office on Latin America

West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines

Women’s Action for New Directions

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Other U.S. organizations:

Alliance for Peacebuilding

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Central United Church of Christ

Childhood Education International

Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

CORE Group

DC Voters for Animals

Educators’ Institute for Human Rights

The Episcopal Church

Global Campaign for Education-US

Global Communities

Global Health Partners

HealthRight International

Health Volunteers Overseas

Hesperian Health Guides

Human Rights First

InterAction

International Eye Foundation

Latin America Working Group

Medicines for Humanity

Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office

Mercy Corps

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Nonviolence International

Norwegian Refugee Council USA

Peace Direct

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Plan International USA

Rukmini Foundation

SEEP Network

Union for Reform Judaism

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

United Starts Campaign for Burma

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict

Win Without War

Women in International Security (WIIS)

Women’s Refugee Commission

World Renew

Wote Youth Development Projects

Non-U.S. organizations:

AWO International e.V.

Centre for Adolescents and Women’s Health Initiative (CAWHI), Ghana

Conflict and Environment Observatory

Human Security Network in Latin America and the Caribbean Region (SEHLAC)

Medecins du Monde Germany (Aerzte der Welt)

PAX

Public Policy Association (APP), Argentina

War Child

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE: 

HI’s petition  https://www.hi-us.org/landmine_petition

Arms Control Association https://www.armscontrol.org/2020-02/take-action-tell-congress-ban-new-us-landmine-use

Win Without War http://act.winwithoutwar.org/sign/tell-congress-ban-landmine-use/?source=tw

US Policy Reversal At Odds With Global Mine Ban Consensus, PSALM/WVCBL Saddened By the Announcement

 

 USA-Dont-Walk-Awayx599February 2020 – The announcement by the United States reversing its policy stance on antipersonnel landmines, is a step backwards in the steady progress towards achieving a mine-free world. The new United States policy rolls back prohibitions on landmine production and use which it put in place in 2014. The new policy contrasts starkly with the US’ role as the single largest contributor to mine clearance efforts globally.

“This announcement flies in the face of 20 plus years of progress towards eliminating the human suffering caused by landmines and comes just weeks after most of the countries in the world recommitted to achieving a mine-free world by 2025, at the Fourth Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty” said ICBL-CMC Director Hector Guerra. “Regardless of the US position, the international community will continue its work to eliminate these terrible weapons” Guerra added.

PSALM students expressed dismay at the announcement.  One PSALM student stated,This announcement flies in the face of 20 plus years of progress, 20 of those years, PSALM has been working towards eliminating the human suffering caused by landmines. We are saddened by this news and hope our elected officials in Washington will stand as beacons of courage and let their colleagues know the importance of keeping the restrictions in place”. PSALM/WVCBL asks all concerned supporters to please contact national leaders.

In November 2019 States Parties to the Treaty met in Norway where they established the Oslo Action Plan to clear landmine contaminated lands and destroy stockpiles of the weapon by 2025. The only actors using landmines today are the government of Myanmar, and non-state armed groups, according to the 2019 Landmine Monitor report.

“It is extremely sad news to hear the US leadership denounce this life-saving treaty which has been adopted by most of the world” said Bekele Gonfa, Executive Director, Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization (Ethiopia). “As a landmine survivor I stand with mine-affected communities around the world and the international mine ban community in condemning production, use, and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines and working towards the mine-free 2025 goal.”

Under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, landmine production, use and stockpiling were banned due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon which overwhelmingly kills and maims civilians. The Treaty has been immensely successful in reducing landmine casualties and establishing a global norm against production and use of landmines so strong that it is adhered to even by states not party.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Jody Williams in 1997 for its work in advocating for a global mine ban. It has been instrumental in bringing civil society and landmine survivor voices into the diplomatic arena. ICBL campaigners, including PSALM/WVCBL, around the world work in a spirit of cooperation with their governments and other partners to ensure countries fulfill the promise of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Links: 

 

For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact: 

  • Jared Bloch, Communications and Network Administration Manager, (CET), Mobile/WhatsApp +41 (0) 78-683-4407 or email media@icblcmc.org

PSALM EXHIBIT: “BE THE CHANGE”

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BE THE CHANGE

It is likely at some point that you have heard this saying attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

But what does it really mean? How can you be the change that you wish to see in the world? We all know that there are many problems in the world. It is overwhelming to think about how many things are unjust in the world.

It is all too easy as a society to detach from our responsibility to these things that are happening across the globe or in another country, or even just in another town from us. All too often we don’t really think there is anything we can do about it.

But there is. We can all make a difference, every single one of us. We all have the capacity to be the change that we wish to see in the world. To ‘be the change’ one needs to have the courage to speak up against things that are not right. By taking personal responsibility for your impact upon the world you elicit, create and become change.

 What does “be the change that you wish to see in the world” mean to you?

 This exhibit is meant to be a thought provoking experience about how ordinary people can become extraordinary by making a difference to those around them.

Paintings by PSALM students depict how and why students are “the change they wish to see in the world”. The mirrors are added to symbolically reflect the viewer with the question, “How can YOU be the change?”

This exhibit also acknowledges and honors individuals and organizations that have made a substantial change in people’s lives around the globe through their humanitarian efforts to rid the world of landmines, cluster munitions and other remnants of wars and conflicts.

These are people who dared to live their dreams, many against all odds. For survivors of landmines and cluster munitions, when tragedy struck them, they changed their lives and those around them.

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These artworks depict inspirational people from around the world who, despite unlikely backgrounds, have used their skills and energy to change the lives of others. In these troubling times, they demonstrate that one person can make a difference, and by doing so live a more meaningful life of service to others and indeed, “change the world” for the better. What unites the students and people in “Be the Change” is their passion and compassion. They are problem solvers, creative thinkers and all real people, just like you or me. Our exhibit hopes to demonstrate that often ONE person CAN make a difference – often a bigger difference than anyone thinks possible. That in doing good for others, whether for one human being or many, you do yourself a world of good and transform your own life and gain what one campaigner calls “the contentment of giving “.

If we are talking about change, we must begin with ourselves. We must strive to minister to the needs of the most vulnerable of our society. But it is not enough to simply deliver what is needed to ensure that hunger is staved or thirst is quenched or that civilians are protected from the instruments of war and violence. We must look at the systems in place that contribute to these pressing issues of our time and look at ways we can change them for the better.

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 “Be the Change” is also a challenge to be inspired by the real heroes in our society and world who are achieving remarkable things for others, not just in remote corners of the world but on our own doorstep too.

 “You can see the stars and still not see the light”post1 IMG_0537 change guides changers change exhibit1 change art2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PSALM: Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs hosted the exhibit opening on February 7th.  Students acted as guides for this awareness event which focused on the recent news of the US reversal of anti-personnel landmine policy.  Students handed out information about how to contact United States Senators and Representatives to express concern about this announcement and encouraged the visitors to get involved. 

PSALM wishes to thank Perry Baltimore from Marshall Legacy Institute who attended along with retired mine detection dog, “Sammy” from Sri Lanka.  
 
 Artwork exhibit brings awareness to landmines around the world | WBOY.com

https://www.wboy.com/top-stories/artwork-exhibit-brings-awareness-to-landmines-around-the-world/  

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Toward a Landmine-Free World Conference Marks 20 Years of the Mine Ban Treaty


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The Fourth Review Conference of the international Mine Ban Treaty opened in Oslo, Norway on November 25th, 2019. A total of 164 states have joined the treaty, committing to cease production, use, and transfer of antipersonnel mines, to destroy their stockpiles, clear mine-affected areas, and assist mine survivors.

It is worth celebrating the significant steps states have taken over the past 20 years to alleviate the suffering caused by antipersonnel mines through this treaty. Since the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force on March 1, 1999, 27 additional countries have joined, including many that possessed large stockpiles of or were significantly contaminated by landmines. New use of antipersonnel mines has decreased dramatically due to stigma created by the ban treaty. In 2018, only Myanmar, which has not joined the treaty, used antipersonnel mines. More than 50 states previously produced antipersonnel mines, but 41 have ceased production, including the United States and three others that have not joined the treaty. Governments have collectively destroyed more than 55 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines. A total of 31 countries once affected by antipersonnel mines have been declared mine-free. In 2018, funding for mine action totaled approximately $699.5 million, the second-highest yearly total to date.

However, considerable challenges remain. Thirty-three states have yet to join the Mine Ban Treaty, including China, Russia, and the US. In 2018, non-state armed groups used antipersonnel landmines, often improvised versions, in six countries. According to the annual Landmine Monitor report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, over 6,800 people were killed or injured by landmines or explosive remnants of war in 2018. Where the age of victims was recorded, more than half of the casualties were children. Around the world, 55 countries are still mine-affected.

States still outside the treaty should take steps to join. They should participate in the Review Conference and other meetings of the treaty, submit voluntary transparency reports, and vote in favor of the annual United Nations General Assembly resolution promoting universalization and implementation of the treaty.

As a co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate along with Jody Williams, Human Rights Watch challenges all states to step up their efforts to achieve a landmine-free world under the auspices of the Mine Ban Treaty.

 

 

 

Jacqulyn Kantack
Associate, Arms Division

Human Rights Watch

1275 K St. NW Suite 1100

Washington, DC 20005
Phone : +1 202 612 4351

LANDMINE MONITOR 2019- PSALM Students Concerned About Rising Casualties

 

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Mine Ban Success

Only one state not party to the Mine Ban Treaty—Myanmar—and a small number of non-state armed groups used landmines in 2018 according to Landmine Monitor 2019.

The findings point to the resounding success of the treaty since it entered into force 20 years ago and to the global stigma against use of the weapon. Today there are 164 States Party to the Mine Ban Treaty and a de-facto moratorium on the production and use of the weapon among most countries in the world. “The 20-year record of the Treaty is more than impressive. We believe it is the most successful disarmament and humanitarian treaty ever. It has created a strong stigma against the weapon that affects even those who have not joined, and it has made a tremendous difference on the ground in mine-affected communities. It has saved tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives, limbs, and livelihoods,” said Human Rights Watch Arms Division Director and Monitor Ban Policy Contributor, Steve Goose.

Troubling Casualty Trend

As the global mine ban norm progresses, an upswing in casualty rates since 2015 marks a disturbing trend. The Monitor reports that 2018 was the fourth year in a row with exceptionally high numbers of recorded casualties due to landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). This includes improvised types that act as antipersonnel mines (also called improvised mines), cluster munition remnants, and other ERW.

In 2018, Landmine Monitor recorded 6,897 people killed or injured by mines and ERW. Armed conflict and large-scale violence, particularly in Afghanistan, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Syria, and Ukraine, heavily influenced the high level of casualties recorded.

Accurate data gathering for active conflicts, however, remains challenging and casualties almost certainly exceeded those reported. “The continued high casualty rates in 2018 following years of life-saving Treaty success is a call to action as States meet next week for the twenty-year Review Conference in Oslo,” said Monitor Victim Assistance Specialist, Loren Persi.

Startlingly, the 2018 casualty total was nearly double the lowest number of annual casualties recorded by Landmine Monitor—3,457 casualties in 2013. For the third consecutive year, the highest number of annual casualties recorded was caused by improvised mines (3,789), while 2018 also marked the most improvised mine casualties recorded to date. “The Mine Ban Treaty has shown incredible impact in stigmatizing the weapon among states and thus reducing casualties, however the rising casualty trend related to non-state armed group use of improvised mines means we must refocus mine action efforts including mine risk education (MRE),” said ICBL-CMC Director Hector Guerra.

As in previous years, the vast majority of recorded landmine/ERW casualties during the 2018–2019 reporting period were civilians (71%) where their status was known.
Children accounted for 54% of all civilian casualties where their status was known. The child casualty rate represents a 12% increase over the past two reporting years according to the Landmine Monitor 2019 report.
 PSALM students find this information very troubling. One student was quoted as saying, “this is why it is important that all nations, including our own join the ban on these weapons”.

LANDMINE MONITOR 2019

LANDMINE MONITOR 2019

The Monitor has recorded more than 130,000 mine/ERW casualties since its global tracking began in 1999, including some 90,000 survivors.

Support for Mine Action

Donors and affected states contributed nearly US$700 million in combined international and national support for mine action in 2018. This represents a decrease in combined support of some $95 million compared with 2017, while international support decreased by approximately $53 million. This is still the second-highest combined total for international and national mine action funding ever reported by the Monitor. This funding was concentrated in five states—Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Croatia, and Lao PDR—which received 55% of all international support for mine action.

Similarly, while international donor support for victim assistance in 2018 increased by $17 million overall, half of all dedicated victim assistance funding went to just four countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria, the Monitor report found. A continuous decline was recorded for most other recipients, jeopardizing the sustainability of essential programs, despite the life-long needs of victims.

Contamination and Clearance

Fifty-nine states and other areas are contaminated by antipersonnel mines as of October 2019 according to Landmine Monitor 2019 data. Contamination includes new use of antipersonnel mines reported in States Parties Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Yemen in 2018.

Massive antipersonnel mine contamination (defined by ICBL-CMC as more than 100km²) is believed to exist in States Parties Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Croatia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey, and Yemen. One state not party, Azerbaijan, and one other area, Western Sahara, are also believed to have extensive contamination.

In the face of this challenge, mine clearance continued to progress in 2018 with at least 140km² of land reported clear of landmines. Over the past five years (2014–2018), overall clearance of landmines among States Parties is estimated to total some 800km², with at least 661,491 landmines destroyed, according to the 2019 Monitor report.

Non-technical and technical surveys by States Parties have contributed greatly to releasing significant amounts of land, over the last five years.

Mine-Free

Thirty-one States Parties, one state not party, and one other area have completed clearance of all mined areas on their territory since the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force in 1999, saving countless lives. Five of those—Algeria, Burundi, Mauritania, Montenegro, and Mozambique—have achieved mine-free status within the last five years.

As of October 2019, 27 States Parties have deadlines to meet their Article 5 mine clearance obligations, before and no later than 2025. 2025 is the aspirational target set by States Parties at the Maputo Review Conference in 2014, for global completion of mine clearance obligations. Four States Parties have deadlines after 2025: Croatia (2026), Iraq (2028), Palestine (2028), and Sri Lanka (2028).

Victim Assistance

In 2018–2019, despite ongoing efforts, most States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty with significant numbers of mine victims lacked suitable resources and practices to fulfill the commitments made in the 2014–2019 Maputo Action Plan.

In most States Parties, some efforts to improve the quality and quantity of health and physical rehabilitation programs for survivors were undertaken according to Landmine Monitor 2019. Nevertheless, the need for assisting victims remain great. “Significant gaps remain in access to employment, training, and other income-generation support activities in many of the States Parties where opportunities for livelihoods are most needed,” said Victim Assistance Specialist, Loren Persi.

Stockpile Destruction

States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty have destroyed more than 55 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines since the Treaty came into force, including more than 1.4 million destroyed in 2018. One state—Oman—completed the destruction of its landmine stockpile in September 2018.

In 1999, all states collectively (both treaty signatories and non-signatories) stockpiled about 160 million antipersonnel mines. Today, the global total of stockpiled antipersonnel mines could be less than 50 million.

Production and Transfer

Forty-one states have ceased production of antipersonnel mines according to the 2019 Monitor report, including four that are not party to the Mine Ban Treaty—Egypt, Israel, Nepal, and the US—demonstrating the strength of the global mine ban norm. However 11 states have yet to disavow future production and are therefore identified by the Monitor as landmine producers.

Landmine Monitor 2019 identifies NSAGs as producing improvised landmines in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Yemen during the reporting period, including mass production of victim-activated IEDs (improvised mines) by Houthi forces in Yemen during the period 2018–2019. There is no evidence, according to the Monitor, of state-to-state transfers of antipersonnel mines over the past 20 years and at least nine states not party to the ban have formal moratoriums on the export of antipersonnel mines.

As countries continue to work to clear mine-contaminated land, the Monitor identifies much that remains to be done, including support for the rights and needs of landmine survivors and their communities.

Countries both within and without the regime are contributing significant resources toward mine clearance and other mine action activities, affirming the impact that this first humanitarian disarmament treaty continues to have after more than two decades.

About the Monitor:

Landmine Monitor 2019 is released by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in advance of the Fourth Review Conference taking place 25–29 November. Detailed country-specific information is available in online country profiles, while the chapters in the report provide global analysis and findings. The report focuses on calendar year 2018, with information included into November 2019 in some cases. This is the twentyfirst annual Landmine Monitor report.
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor is the research arm of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines – Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). The ICBL was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to eradicate landmines. The Monitor is coordinated by a Monitoring and Research Committee comprised of ICBL-CMC expert staff, research team leaders, and representatives of five non-governmental organizations: DanChurchAid, Danish Demining Group, Human Rights Watch, Humanity & Inclusion, and Mines Action Canada.

Links:

• Landmine Monitor 2019 landing page, including new maps - http://bit.ly/LandMineMonitor19

• ICBL - www.icbl.org

• Mine Ban Treaty - www.apminebanconvention.org

• Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor Twitter – twitter.com/MineMonitor

• ICBL Twitter – twitter.com/minefreeworld

• ICBL Facebook - www.facebook.com/pg/minefreeworld/

For more information, a full copy of the report, related graphics, or to schedule an interview, contact:

• Jared Bloch, Advocacy and Communications Manager, (CET), Mobile/WhatsApp +41 (0) 78-683-4407 or email media@icblcmc.org

 

PSALM Students Make Presentations at West Virginia University Global Health/ Maldives accedes to Convention on Cluster Munitions

PSALM GH WVU 19

 

 

 

PSALM: Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs /West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs made presentations to the visiting public during Global Health Week at West Virginia University, October 14-18th. The program at West Virginia University is designed to promote, support, and encourage awareness of global health. PSALM students joined international experts, WVU faculty, and students to share their experiences and perspectives on global health issues. PSALM students focused on the effects of the remnants of wars and conflicts on civilian populations. Student presentations were designed in hopes of garnering supporters for their new initiative, “Be the Change” which asks visitors to make contact with national and international political leadership for support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition’s endeavors. Students also worked to raise awareness and to advocate for the rights and needs of victims and the importance of support for victim assistance. Older PSALM students mentored younger, newer members on how to interact with the public and how to convey their message.

Students organize Awareness Day at school

Students organize Awareness Day at school

MALDIVES Accedes CCM 

As the Convention on Cluster Munitions Celebrates Nine Years Preventing Unacceptable Harm from Cluster Munitions, PSALM/WVCBL celebrates Maldives acceding to the CCM. Congratulations, Maldives and all campaigners!

Nine years after entering into force, the The Convention on Cluster Munitions is more relevant than ever, and the imperative greater than ever for all countries to cease production and use of this horrible weapon that overwhelmingly kills civilians.