WORLD CUP SOCCER INSPIRES CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD YET CHILDREN IN CONTAMINATED AREAS ARE AT RISK

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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“We call for fair play, on the field of sport, and in the field of disarmament,” said Gabriel Silva, Coordinator of the Brazilian Campaign against Landmines and Cluster Munitions. “While the majority of the world’s governments have banned this weapon and disassociated itself from it, many continue to put profits ahead of civilian lives.”                                                                                                                        A soccer player from Laos, 19-year-old 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

PSALM STUDENTS LEND THEIR LEGS FOR A MINE FREE WORLD

IMG_5478PSALM students  hosted a LEND YOUR LEG SOLIDARITY DAY at school. The school community  was invited to join us and roll up one pant leg, wear some cool socks and symbolically “stand” in solidarity with the victims and survivors of landmines, cluster bombs and other explosive remnants of war and persons with disabilities.  “Lend Your Leg”  encourages people worldwide by a simple but symbolic gesture of rolling up a pant leg to raise awareness about the damage landmines and cluster munitions still cause and showing solidarity with all survivors of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.

APRIL 4th, International Day of Mine Awareness, Lend Your Leg!

APRIL 4th, International Day of Mine Awareness, Lend Your Leg!

What is “Lend Your Leg”?

 Watch the official LEND
YOUR LEG video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGduCYrPlAo.

Long after wars are waged some weapons remain a lurking threat to civilians in the peacetime that follows. Landmines and cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that wait underground for years and sometimes decades maiming and killing children, farmers and everyday citizens who happen upon them. “LEND YOUR LEG” began when people were asked to roll-up their pant leg to draw attention to the landmine problem in Colombia and show solidarity with the victims.

 “Lend Your Leg” turned into a country-wide then international phenomenon.  PSALM joins the international community to  “Lend Your Leg for a Mine Free World”, and show solidarity with all survivors of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.

PSALM students are committed to educating the public about the the indiscriminate nature of anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions leading to the destruction of innocent life, especially children. Students feel it is unacceptable that unarmed civilians become targets of these insidious and indiscriminate weapons long after wartime hostilities cease. PSALM students were outraged that children, the most vulnerable of society, were all too often the victims of these indiscriminate weapons, many left after conflicts long since over, coming upon them in the most innocent of activities like playing or going to school. These weapons instill fear in whole communities, deepening poverty and acting as a lethal barrier to development. Members of the treaties to ban landmines and cluster munitions must complete the task of ensuring that all victims of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war see their needs fulfilled and their rights respected and aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.


BACKGROUND: On March 1st, PSALM recognized their 19 year anniversary as a school social justice club.  PSALM are working members of the 
West VirginiaUnited States, Catholic and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition. PSALM youth leaders are excellent ambassadors, amazing in their understanding of complex issues and their expression of compassion and concern for those who suffer, especially the most vulnerable of our world.

 The Holy See has noted the ‘deplorable humanitarian consequences of anti-personnel mines.’Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity towards victims of anti-personnel mines and praised the global effort to end the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. Pope Francis points out that, “Anti-personnel mines are subtle because they prolong war and nurture fear even when conflict has ended. No child should live in fear of landmines!” “Let us give space to reconciliation, hope, and love that are expressed in the commitment for common good, in international cooperation to help the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters, in the implementation of policies based on our common dignity”.

No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world… I would like to make an appeal to those in possession of greater resources, to public authorities and to all people of good will who are working for social justice: never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity”Pope Francis

 Solidarity “is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all”Saint John Paul II 

 For information/research:

United States Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.banminesusa.org

International Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.icbl.org

Cluster Munition Coalition: www.stopclustermunitions.org

West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs: www.wvcbl.org

 

PSALM STUDENTS PRESENT “THE ROAD TO OTTAWA” EXHIBIT

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PSALM students acted as hosts and guides as their “Road to Ottawa” opened with a reception for the public on February 2nd at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. West Virginia television and print media attended as students welcomed over 150 guests. The exhibit will be on display until February 24th.

PSALM students, inspired by the people that “made it happen” and the continuing work to “finish the job” of a landmine-free world chose countries that signed the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997 painted  artworks to celebrate this amazing achievement in disarmament history.

PSALM’s art installation was designed to remind viewers of the importance of civil society in ensuring a more just and peaceful world for all.

Chair sculptures both small and large are a nod to HI’s “Broken Chair” in Geneva. The sculptures are dedicated to the many campaigners, survivors and advocates who worked tirelessly to travel the “Road to Ottawa” and see through a new humanitarian treaty that, to this day, continues to save countless lives. Our work is not over until all are safe…a MINE FREE WORD IS POSSIBLE. 

Mr. Steve Costner from the U.S. State Department of weapons Abatement and Removal attended the exhibit to distribute “To Walk the Earth in Safety” Report on U.S. funding of landmine removal. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) works with foreign governments and nongovernmental organizations to deliver programs and services aimed at reducing the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war worldwide.

Ms. Elise Becker from Marshall Legacy Institute also attended to help PSALM educate others about MLI.  Marshall legacy Institute the donates highly trained landmine detection dogs to mine-affected countries and trains local handlers to safely use these dogs to find landmines. PSALM students hosted a bake sale to raise funds for MLI in hopes of saving lives.

PAINTINGS 2PSALM WITH COSTNER AND BECKERPSALM AND ELISE

Improvised Mines Wreak Havoc in Raqqa

Landmines kill injure hundreds in Raqqa

Warning about mines written on outside wall of building in Raqqa, Syria, January 21, 2018. © Human Rights Watch

Improvised landmines planted by the non-state armed group Islamic State have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, in Raqqa (Syria) since the armed group was pushed out of the city in October 2017.

In a press release issued on 12 February, Human Rights Watch presented the findings of a visit to the city in late January 2018, and information collected from the Kurdish Red Crescent and international medical organizations working in the area.

Most of the explosive devices appeared to be victim-activated and therefore banned under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which Syria has not joined.

The local sources found that between October 21, 2017 and January 20, 2018, mines injured at least 491 people, including 157 children, many of whom died. The actual number of victims is expected to grow.

The risk of more casualties increases as larger number of residents return to Raqqa following the end of hostilities. According to local authorities, more than 14,500 families have returned to Raqqa.

Victims were injured by explosives that detonated when they moved a large bag of sugar left behind, or simply pushed open a bedroom door. Improvised mines have been found in “building doorways, under stairwells, debris piles, roadside, rubble piles and even buried in open fields.”

THE ROAD TO OTTAWA EXHIBIT BY PSALM STUDENTS

THE ROAD TO OTTAWA ART EXHIBIT BY PSALM

THE ROAD TO OTTAWA ART EXHIBIT BY PSALM

Join PSALM ( Proud Students Against Land Mines) as they present their art installation, “THE ROAD TO OTTAWA: THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MINE BAN TREATY” at the Monongalia Arts Center, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, February 2nd-February 29th, 2018.
Opening Reception will be held February 2nd, 5:30-7:30 pm. PSALM artworks are inspired by the countries that “made it happen” and the continuing work to ”finish the job” of a landmine-free world. Students will  act as hosts and guides for the visitors at the opening reception on February 2nd, 2018. 

In  December 1997, 122 nations met in Ottawa, Canada to sign the Mine Ban Treaty.  PSALM students have dedicated paintings to the countries that “made it happen”. The  Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, is a legally binding international agreement that bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel mines and places obligations on countries to clear affected areas, assist victims and destroy stockpiles.The adoption of the treaty was a milestone start to an end of suffering caused by landmines. To date, the Mine Ban Treaty has been at the heart of many achievements.More than 80 per cent of the world’s countries outlawed landmines by joining the treaty. Landmine trade is virtually eliminated.  Twenty-seven (27) countries finished clearing and destroying landmines. More than fifty-one (51) million stockpiled landmines have been destroyed. New landmine casualties have been dramatically reduced  and the rights of landmine victims have been increasingly recognized

The Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna

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The Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties (16MSP) to the Mine Ban Treaty took place from 18 to 21 December 2017 at the UN Office at Vienna, Austria.

2017 marks 20 years since the Mine Ban Treaty was adopted, when the international community agreed to end the scourge of landmines once and for all. Following the adoption, on 3 December 1997 the treaty was signed by 122 States; it entered into force on 1 March 1999. To date, 162 nations have formally joined the treaty. The 16MSP provided a good opportunity for the international community to take stock of what have been achieved so far and to reaffirm commitments for a mine-free world by 2025.

His Excellency Thomas Hajnoczi, Ambassador of Austria to the United Nations in Geneva wasthe President of the 16MSP. Ambassador Hajnoczi focused on Universalization, Victim Assistance and Mine Clearance of the Mine Ban Treaty. Click here to read Ambassador Hajnoczi’s priorities for the 16MSP.

 

2017 LANDMINE MONITOR

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The 2017 Landmine Monitor report was launched on 14 December 2017.

The 2017 report includes updates on the status of compliance to the Mine Ban Treaty, casualties related to landmines and explosive remnants of war, clearance of contaminated land, assistance to mine victims and financial support to mine action. The launch took place just prior to the Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty which was held in Vienna, Austria, from 18 to 21 December 2017. A briefing on key findings of the report was held for delegates present at the Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties in Vienna.

Journalists interested in receiving advanced copies of the report or in joining the virtual launch of the report can get in touch via email: media@icblcmc.org or telephone: +41 22 920 0320.

Sri Lanka has become the 163rd State Party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty

SL Ambassador Pledgeconf 2 March ISU

Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva H.E. Ravinatha Pandukabhaya Aryasinha, 2 March 2016 @MBT-ISU

Sri Lanka has become the 163rd State Party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, having deposited its instrument of accession at the United Nations’ headquarters on 13 December 2017.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines congratulates Sri Lanka for joining the international community to achieve a mine-free world.

“We thank the government of Sri Lanka and all those who supported this great achievement for our nation. This accession will bring many opportunities for post-war Sri Lanka. It will support reconciliation efforts and help fostering permanent peace,” said Vidya Abhayagunawardena, Coordinator of the Sri Lankan Campaign to Ban Landmines. “It is time for all other countries that have not joined the treaty, especially India, Nepal and Pakistan in South Asia, to join the 163 nations and wipe out landmines once and for all.”

Sri Lanka is heavily affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war. According to the Landmine Monitor over 22,100 people have been killed or injured by landmines or explosive remnants of war over time in the country. The estimated extent of mine/ERW contamination as of February 2017 was just over 26.3km2, a decrease from the nearly 68.4km2 of June 2015. Contamination affects ten districts across three provinces of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has developed a plan for 2016-2020 aiming to make the country ‘mine-threat free’ by 2020. The Mine Ban Treaty requires the clearance of all contaminated areas, including those that do not pose an immediate threat to populations.

With Sri Lanka’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty, India, Nepal and Pakistan are the only countries in South Asia that remain outside of the Mine Ban Treaty. All three are affected by landmine contamination.

The Mine Ban Treaty will enter into force for Sri Lanka on 1 June 2018.

ICAN: THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS, PSALM STUDENTS CONGRATULATE YOU!

congratulations to ICAN from PSALM students

congratulations to ICAN from PSALM students

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Congratulations from PSALM: STUDENTS AGAINST LANDMINES AND CLUSTER BOMBS TO ICAN: THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON their Nobel Peace Prize!The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was honored for its work to foster a global ban on the destructive weapons according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The Geneva-based coalition was modeled on international efforts to ban landmines!

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The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017.

PSALM students folded symbolic origami Peace Cranes with love and prayers for a more peaceful world for all!

THE ROAD TO OTTAWA

On November 18 and 19th, PSALM students presented their artistic installation, “THE ROAD TO OTTAWA: THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MINE BAN TREATY”. PSALM artworks at the exhibit were inspired by the countries that “made it happen” and the continuing work to “finish the job” of a mine-free world. PSALM students acted as hosts and guides to the exhibit which depicts a visual timeline to the Ottawa Treaty.

Road to Ottawa paintings by PSALM students

Road to Ottawa paintings by PSALM students

 

 

 

 

 

 

One large scale artwork included the text of the treaty in various languages.

MINE BAN TREATY PAINTING BY PSALM STUDENTS

MINE BAN TREATY PAINTING BY PSALM STUDENTS

 

September 18, 2017 marked 20 years since the Mine Ban Treaty was adopted, when the international community agreed to end the scourge of landmines once and for all. Following the adoption, on December 3, 1997 the treaty was signed by 122 States; it entered into force on  March 1, 1999. To date, 162 nations have formally joined the treaty.

 

 

 

The exhibit has been requested to be displayed in February 2018 at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, West Virginia.