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

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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.

PSALM Students Celebrate the International Day of Peace

psalm peace 19PSALM students celebrated the International Day of Peace by sponsoring a school-wide awareness event. Recognizing that disarmament is important in the process of peace-building, students met to discuss ways to raise awareness about landmines and cluster munitions, survivors issues and how to bring the United States aboard the treaties. Students sent press releases to publicize the events.

Students also initiated a membership drive which has resulted in 24 new members. Students are preparing for West Virginia University Health Science Center’s “Global Health Week” centered on global health issues. Students will be making presentations at the university in hopes of garnering supporters for their new initiative, “Be The Change” which asks visitors to make contact with national political leadership for support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition’s endeavors.

The Ninth Meeting of States Parties (9MSP) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

The Ninth Meeting of States Parties (9MSP) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions was held place from 2 to 4 September 2019 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. PSALM/WVCBL has urged United States to send representation to this Meeting of States Parties.

During the three-day meeting States noted the Convention’s success in globally stigmatizing cluster munitions and preventing further civilian harm by these nefarious weapons, and the need to bring more countries on board immediately to achieve 130 States Parties by 2020 – a target set by States at the First Review Conference in 2015. States loudly condemned any use of cluster munitions, anywhere, by anyone. PSALM/WVCBL join in this condemnation of cluster munition use.

During the meeting, the 9MSP President, Aliyar Lebbe Abdul Azeez, officially handed over Presidency of the Convention to Swiss Ambassador, Félix Baumann. Switzerland will preside over the Convention’s Second Review Conference taking place in 2020.  

The Cluster Munition Coalition thanks the outgoing Presidency for their stewardship, and welcomes working with the Swiss Presidency in preparation for the Review Conference. 

To see the meeting agenda and States’ documents, visit the Convention on Cluster Munitions website.

Opening Statement By CMC 9th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions 2-4 September 2019

Thank you, Mr. President. Dear friends–diplomats, representatives of civil society and intergovernmental organizations—with close to a decade of implementation and with its Second Review Conference rapidly approaching, I think we can agree the Convention on Cluster Munitions has come of age. Indeed, the Convention has established itself as an important international instrument that has helped to save lives, limbs and livelihoods. The CCM is also at a crucial juncture where new energy and commitment are needed to continue the successes of its first decade. At this moment, as Convention stakeholders, we need to ask ourselves some critical questions if we are serious about achieving a cluster-munition free 2030. • How do we feel about the slow rate of universalization? • Are our stigmatization efforts sufficient? • How do we feel about the shrinking resources available for Meetings of States Parties? Are the Convention and its community living up to the hopes and aspirations expressed on 23 February 2007 when the Oslo Process was launched and later captured in the text of the Convention? Mr. President, as time is of the essence in these two days of official work in the 9MSP, I will ask a final question: How does the commitment to Convention implementation and universalization reflect a larger commitment by the international community to the advancement of humanitarian disarmament and multilateralism in general? At the Cluster Munition Coalition, we are convinced that with strengthened political will and increased financial resources, the Convention on Cluster Munitions has great potential to deliver on its promises and to remain an important example of International Humanitarian Law that works. We look forward to working with you all to this end, here and in the lead up to the Second Review Conference. Thank you

cluster bomb detonation near school in Laos

cluster bomb detonation near school in Laos

August 1st Marks the 9th Anniversary of Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

We-Can-Stop-Cluster-Bombs180x_432x432The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force on 1 August 2010 and bans all use of cluster munitions as well as requiring clearance of cluster munitions remnants, destruction of stockpiles, and the provision of assistance for victims. Members of PSALM/WVCBL urge all countries, including the United States, to join the treaty, work towards clearance and assist survivors.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions is a humanitarian imperative-driven legal instrument which prohibits all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions. In addition, it establishes a framework for cooperation and assistance to ensure adequate assistance to survivors and their communities, clearance of contaminated areas, risk reduction education and destruction of stockpiles.

By ratifying or acceding to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties commit to never use, produce, stockpile or transfer cluster munitions. Furthermore States Parties commit to destroy existing stockpiles in eight years; clear contaminated land in ten years; assist victims; provide technical, material and financial assistance to other States Parties; undertake transparency measures; adopt national implementation measures; and promote universal adherence to the Convention.

Cluster munitions are unacceptable for two reasons. Firstly, they have wide area effects and are unable to distinguish between civilians and combatants. Secondly, the use of cluster munitions leave behind large numbers of dangerous unexploded ordnance. Such remnants kill and injure civilians, obstruct economic and social development, and have other severe consequences that persist for years and decades after use.

Adopted on 30 May 2008 in Dublin, Ireland and signed on 3-4 December 2008 in Oslo, Norway, the Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force on 1 August 2010. To date 120 states have committed to the goals of the Convention, of which 106 have become States Parties and 14 are Signatories.

Five-year road map (2015-2020)

To guide States Parties effectively implement the provisions of the Convention on Cluster Munitions from the First to the Second Review Conference, States Parties adopted a five-year roadmap called the Dubrovnik Action Plan (DAP).

World Cup Soccer Inspires Children to Work for World Free of Landmines and Cluster Bombs

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Every World Cup tournament inspires young people worldwide to be the soccer players/ footballers of tomorrow. Yet for those living in cluster munition, landmine and UXO contaminated countries, this dream remains a difficult reality. 

Displaying IMG_0873.JPGA cluster munition, also known as a cluster bomb, is a weapon containing multiple explosive submunitions. Like landmines, these submunitions can remain a fatal threat to anyone in the area long after a conflict ends.

Cluster munitions are dropped from aircraft or fired from the ground or sea, opening up in mid-air to release tens or hundreds of submunitions, which can saturate an area up to the size of several football fields. Anybody within the strike area of the cluster munition, be they military or civilian, is very likely to be killed or seriously injured. The fuze of each submunition is generally activated as it falls so that it will explode above or on the ground. But often large numbers of the submunitions fail to work as designed, and instead land on the ground without exploding, where they remain as very dangerous.

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Indiscriminate Weapons

  • Cluster bombs are designed as anti‐personnel, anti‐armor weapons, but the primary victims have been innocent civilians. More than 95% of known cluster bomb victims are civilians and 40 percent are children, who are drawn to the small, toy‐like metal objects. 
  • Cluster bomb casings release hundreds of bomblets—the size of a soup can or orange—over wide areas, frequently missing intended military targets and killing nearby civilians.
  • Commonly used cluster bombs are designed to explode into hundreds of pieces of razor‐sharp shrapnel that rip through bodies. Displaying IMG_0350.JPG                                                                  A soccer player from Laos, Mini Phanthavong, lives in an area that is heavily contaminated with cluster munition remnants. For Mini and his football friends, kicking the ball off the football pitch could be lethal. “When we kick the ball into a bush or the forest lawn, we have to go out of the playing field to collect the ball,” says Mini, “with every step that I walk outside of the marked pathway, I am always concerned and scared.”     Displaying IMG_0872.JPG           Every country in the world, including the United States, can and should join the CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS and THE MINE BAN TREATY. To accomplish that, we need you! Your voice is needed… JOIN WVCBL/PSALM AND CONTACT your elected officials (https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials) and let them know we aren’t going to win a war or defend our country with a weapon that kills civilians, especially children. It is a question of political will and of prioritizing the protection of civilians over using outdated and indiscriminate weapons.Displaying IMG_0222.JPG