Maldives accedes to Convention on Cluster Munitions

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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

ICBL DIRECTOR JOINS YOUTH CAMPAIGNER EXCHANGE IN WEST VIRGINIA

 

The West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions facilitated a series of exchanges on Mine Ban advocacy and youth, with ICBL-CMC Director Hector Guerra.

On Tuesday, May 7, the Director joined WVCBL member, Dr. Larry Schwab for a discussion with Proud Students Against Land Mines and Cluster Munitions (PSALM). The group presented their longstanding work advocating for the elimination of landmines and cluster munitions in the U.S. after which they asked about campaigning at an international level.

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ICBL-CMC Director with PSALM students and WVCBL member, Dr. Larry Schwab (right).

For the past 20 years, the student organization from St. Francis de Sales School in Morgantown, West Virginia, has generated public awareness on the life saving impact of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) and since 2008, the Convention on Cluster Munitions. PSALM comprises students from grades 3-8, meaning many of the 8th grade students will have spent 5 years advocating for an end to landmines and cluster munitions.

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PSALM students sharing advocacy work.

PSALM forms an integral part of the West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines (WVCBL).

This year, PSALM students are celebrating their 20th anniversary as a student-led organization. As part of the celebrations, the group hosted an exhibit of art and photosdedicated to 20 years of advocacy around the treaties.

PSALM, HECTOR AND WVU PRESIDENT, GORDON GEE

On Wednesday 8 May, West Virginia University hosted ICBL and the PSALM students for a discussion on advocating for a world free of landmines and cluster munitions. Specific topics included the international push for disinvestment from production of the weapons to providing assistance to victims. The panel discussion was joined by West Virginia University president, Dr. Gordon Gee, who commended the ICBL-CMC on its work.

Global Action for Mine Awareness Day

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On Mine Awareness Day 2019, PSALM (PROUD STUDENTS AGAINST LANDMINES AND CLUSTER BOMBS) joined the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in celebrating twenty years of Mine Ban Treaty success and the role of civil society and mine action partners in Taking Action for a Safer World.

The Treaty remains one of the most successful disarmament instruments ever. With 80% of the world’s countries on board, and many other countries in de facto compliance, the Treaty has nearly eliminated the production and use of antipersonnel landmines by states, while contributing to saving people’s lives and limbs every day.

Global Action

This year, in preparation for the Fourth Review Conference on a Mine Free-World, we are taking action and calling on all States Not Party to join the Treaty without delay and help end the suffering caused by landmines, within a few short years.

During the past month over 40 ICBL campaigns in some 32 countries around the world, including PSALM, have sent letters calling for five targeted countries: Cuba, Lebanon, Singapore, Georgia and Marshall Islands to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. These countries have already shown support for and worked on behalf of Treaty aims and should take immediate steps to accede to the Treaty and to announce this to the global mine ban community at the conference taking place November 25-29 in Oslo, Norway.

  • Cuba is the last country in Latin America and the Caribbean still remaining outside of the Mine Ban Treaty, it has expressed support for the humanitarian aim of the Treaty, and has participated in a number of Treaty meetings. In addition Cuba is a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which is guided by the same humanitarian principles as the Mine Ban Treaty. Cuba’s accession to the Treaty would be of great significance – bringing all of Latin America and the Caribbean onboard of the Treaty.
  • Georgia is one of only 32 states that still remain outside of the Treaty. Contaminated by landmines, Georgia has taken a number of important steps in the spirit of the Treaty, including clearing its land, providing assistance to victims, voting in favor of the annual UNGA resolution calling for universalization of the Treaty, as well as attending some treaty meetings. Since landmines still continue to take a toll on Georgia’s land and people.
  • Lebanon is among the 32 states that still remain outside of the Treaty. Heavily contaminated by landmines, Lebanon has taken a number of important steps in the spirit of the Treaty, including clearing contaminated land, providing assistance to victims, attending treaty meetings and speaking in favor of accession.  In addition Lebanon is a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which is guided by the same humanitarian principles as the Mine Ban Treaty. Since landmines still continue to take a heavy toll on Lebanon’s land and people.
  • Singapore is also among the small number of states that still remain outside of the Mine Ban Treaty. Singapore has voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution calling for the universalization of the Treaty and has participated in a number of Treaty meetings. In addition, we understand that Singapore has ceased to produce antipersonnel mines and has a moratorium on their export. As a modern state and nation, actively supporting disarmament initiatives, Singapore’s accession would greatly contribute to regional peace and human security.
  • The Republic of the Marshall Islands signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 when it first opened for signature. As of today the Marshall Islands is the last and only remaining signatory that has not ratified the Treaty. The Marshall Islands does not stockpile antipersonnel landmines and has repeatedly voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution calling for universalization of the Treaty. Marshall Islands should take the final step to join the Treaty and its 164 States Parties.

In addition to these efforts to bring countries onboard the Mine Ban Treaty in 2019, ICBL and PSALM looks forward to working with states and mine ban partners to amplify the following messages and ensure a strong plan of action for the Fourth Review Conference for a Mine-Free World:

  • We sound an alarm and reiterate the urgency to address continued casualties from antipersonnel mines;
  • We stress that use of antipersonnel mines, including improvised mines, is absolutely unacceptable by anyone, anywhere, constitutes an international humanitarian law crime, and should be strongly condemned and stopped;
  • We continue to focus on the aspirational goal of a mine-free 2025;
  • We emphasize the crucial role of state ownership in Finishing the Job

Mine Ban Treaty 20th Anniversary of Entry into Force

 

March 1 2019 marked 20 years since the life saving Mine Ban Treaty entered into force following much hard work and the cooperative efforts of civil society, the ICRC, States and the United Nations.

We celebrate the progress made, lives saved and rights ensured for landmine survivors since the treaty became international law. We also welcome renewed commitment by States and the mine ban community at large, towards a Mine Free 2025.

To mark the occasion, ICBL and network partners such as PSALM/WVCBL participated in Mine Ban Treaty 20th anniversary events undertaken in Geneva and in affected countries worldwide.

On 1 March, ICBL joined Treaty champions including States, #UNHumanRightsUNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF in an event highlighting the impact of the lifesaving treaty and what remains to Finish the Job for a Mine Free World.

UN High Commissionner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet addressed the meeting emphasizing links between the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the need to ensure all landmine survivors are able to enjoy their human rights. “We still have much to do to ensure the rights of survivors on 20th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty”.

ICBL Ambassador Margaret Arach Orech also spoke to the gathering hosted by the Norwegian Mine Ban Presidency, via a video address highlighting 20 Years of Mine Ban Treaty success and the importance of ensuring survivors’ rights now and into the future. The gathering also heard from a Colombian mine survivor who stressed the positive impact of the treaty for the country’s more than 11,000 landmine survivors.

Speaking at the event, ICBL Director Hector Guerra noted “The participation of landmine survivors and members of affected communities has always been essential to the mine ban movement, from the onset in the 1990s. It still is today, and it is a central component of our advocacy work”. 

“We trust that the Review Conference to be held this year in Oslo will be a success, helping to guide the efforts of this community from now until 2025″, he added. 

At the 2014 Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique, States committed to achieving a mine free world, to the fullest extent possible, by 2025.

Since its launch in 1992, the ICBL has been the voice of civil society in the diplomatic arena, pushing for changes in government policies and practices on addressing the suffering caused by landmines. The campaign includes national and international NGOs, as well as dedicated individuals, across many disciplines including human rights, development, refugee issues, and medical and humanitarian relief.

“THE ROAD TRAVELED” A COLLECTION OF PAINTINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PSALM: PROUD STUDENTS AGAINST LANDMINES AND CLUSTER BOMBS.

You have probably heard expression “the road less traveled”. It implies a choice in life but in many places around the world the real paths and roads of life are strewn with the remnants of war and there are no choices of which paths and roads to take. People of all walks of life must travel these paths and roads to home, school, and work, to retrieve water or farm and forage for food. These paths pose dangers to all who encounter them.

ROAD TRAVELED

 Contamination from landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war terrorizes civilians in more than half of the world’s countries and are a significant cause of disability. These weapons instill fear in whole communities, deepening poverty and acting as a lethal barrier to development.

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The Road Traveled

 Our exhibit features painted landscapes from around the world as well as some of the stories of survivors whose life paths were forever altered by their encounters with these remnants of wars and conflicts, in many cases, decades old. “The Road Traveled” hopes to educate all about the life threatening decisions people make around the world each day and the importance of banning these weapons and removing them so that all may travel without fear.

Monongalia Arts Center (MAC) in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA is hosting the annual PSALM (Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs) exhibition, “The Road Traveled,” which features paintings of landscapes from across the world. There will be an opening reception on Friday, February 8 from 5:30-7:30 PM. 

The landscapes featured in “The Road Traveled” will be accompanied by the stories of survivors whose life paths were forever altered by their encounters with remnants of wars and conflicts.

For the past 20 years, St. Francis de Sales School’s PSALM (Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs) chapter has generated public awareness and worked towards the elimination of landmines and cluster bombs. 

“The Road Traveled” will be on display in the Benedum Galley of MAC from Friday, February 8 until Saturday, February 23, 2019. MAC is located at 107 High Street, Morgantown, WV

The Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties

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The Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties (17MSP) to the Mine Ban Treaty took place at the UN office in Geneva from 26 to 30 November 2018 and was presided over by Afghanistan.

Highlights include:

  • Mauritania announced completion of mine clearance
  • Oman announced completion of stockpile destruction
  • Ukraine submitted its clearance deadline extension request, putting it back in compliance with the Mine Ban Treaty
  • Sri Lanka submitted its first Article 7 report
  • Several states took the floor to address the issue of improvised mines
  • Victim assistance and mine action funding were also discussed during parallel meetings
  • 10 states not party attended the 17MSP

Landmine Monitor

  • The Landmine Monitor 2018 report was launched on 20 November 2018.
  •  Find the report online, at

http://the-monitor.org/en-gb/reports/2018/landmine-monitor-2018.aspx

PSALM STUDENTS BEGIN WORK ON “THE ROAD TRAVELED” ART AND PHOTO EXHIBIT

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PSALM students have begun work on their planned exhibit of art and photographs titled, “THE ROAD TRAVELED”. Students are painting landscapes of countries the world over contaminated with landmines, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance. 

Our exhibit hopes to educate all about the life threatening decisions people make each day on their way to work, school, retrieve water, forage and farm for food in places the world over and the importance of removing these weapons so that all may travel these paths and roads without fear. Students will exhibit paintings in December in connection with the recognition of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The exhibit will host an exhibit at the Monongalia Arts Center in February 2019.