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WEST VIRGINIA CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES AND CLUSTER BOMBS

 

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DISABLE CLUSTER BOMBS NOT PEOPLE

 WVCBL (WEST VIRGINIA CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES AND CLUSTER BOMBS) URGES THE UNITED STATES TO JOIN THE GLOBAL BAN ON CLUSTER BOMBS

Thursday, August 1st, 2013 marked the third anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). This year also marks the Cluster Munition Coalition’s 10th anniversary.

WVCBL Campaigners are raising awareness of the devastation caused by cluster bombs and urges the United States to join the global cluster bomb ban and do more to help survivors of cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.

WE CAN STOP CLUSTER BOMBS

WE CAN STOP CLUSTER BOMBS

 

Cluster bombs have killed and injured thousands of civilians during the last 70 years and continue to do so today. They cause widespread harm on impact and yet remain dangerous, killing and injuring civilians long after a conflict has ended. One third of all recorded cluster munitions casualties are children. 60% of cluster bomb casualties are injured while undertaking their normal activities. Air-dropped or ground-launched, they cause two major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians. First, their widespread dispersal via air means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme, especially when the weapon is used in or near populated areas. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended. These duds are more lethal than antipersonnel mines; incidents involving submunition duds are much more likely to cause death than injury.

 The Convention on Cluster Munitions was negotiated to end for all time the unacceptable harm caused by cluster bombs. The Convention bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and places obligations on countries to clear affected areas, assist victims, destroy stockpiles and provide international assistance.

“WVCBL are committed to educating the public about the devastation caused by landmines and cluster munitions and the indiscriminate nature of these weapons leading to the destruction of innocent life, especially children, after wartime hostilities have ceased. We work to raise awareness about survivor issues, prevent future casualties through our service projects and contribute to the universal signature of the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions by ALL countries, especially the United States. 112 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The stigma against cluster munitions is strong, and growing stronger with every country that joins the convention. It is time to ban these weapons recognizing that any conceivable use is outweighed by the moral consequences” says Nora Sheets, WVCBL coordinator. “We urge concerned citizens to join us in contacting our national leaders and encourage them to support the ban on cluster munitions”.

WEST VIRGINIA CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES AND CLUSTER BOMBS

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WVCBL/PSALM joins the Cluster Munition Coalition and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines

in marking five years since the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) was adopted at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions. The 107 countries that adopted the Convention set aside long-held arguments on the military utility of cluster munitions and recognized that humanitarian concerns and the protection of civilians must come first.

 

The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) played a crucial role at every step of the process, helping to shape the outcome. In 2007, WVCBL/PSALM expanded our mission to include advocacy toward a prohibition on the use, production, and transfer of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians. Also recognized on this day were graduating PSALM students for their outstanding dedication to PSALM service and awareness projects with the 2013 “Seek Peace and Pursue It” awards. 

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires countries to clear affected areas within 10 years and to destroy stockpiles of the weapon within eight years. The Convention includes groundbreaking provisions requiring assistance to survivors and affected communities. Signed in Oslo in December 2008, the Convention entered into force as binding international law on 1 August 2010.

Oslo peace prize hallFive years on from the Dublin Conference, amazing progress has been made in cementing the global norm supporting the ban and the Convention is going strong with 112 States that have joined, of which 83 are States Parties. Significant progress has also been made in the destruction of stockpiles, clearance of affected areas and support for cluster munition victims. Globally, the number of new cluster munition casualties has reduced annually. This coming December marks the 5th anniversary of the signing of the Convention.

Work to be done…
Work remains to be done and more countries, including the United States must accede to the Convention to prevent this indiscriminate weapon from causing further harm. On this significant anniversary, WVCBL says, “it’s time to make it happen”…the U.S. should join the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

MESSAGE TO CAMPAIGNERS WORLDWIDE…

Dear Campaigners,

 On May 30th, we marked the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions at the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions by remembering and recognizing all of YOU who have served as role models and mentors for us over the years. From the inspirational stories of the Ban Advocates, so very willing to share your painful past to ensure a more peaceful future, to the many courageous campaigners from all corners of the world. YOU provided an education that no school or college could provide…lessons in life, love and hope. Please know that your work and passion as campaigners transcends miles, inspires us and lives on in the hearts and minds of our students and all they meet! We are honored to call all of you “family”.

                                     WVCBL/PSALM Coordinator, Nora Sheets

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Ban Cluster Bombs

Youth Campaigning on Canadian CCM Legislation

“We don’t want our country to use cluster bombs, please don’t help them. Changez le projet de loi et donnez-nous un avenir plus sécuritaire”.

“We don’t want our country to use cluster bombs, please don’t help them. Changez le projet de loi et donnez-nous un avenir plus sécuritaire”.

Working with “Youth Campaigning on Canadian CCM Legislation” and Mines Action Canada, PSALM students completed a 20 foot artwork made especially for members of the Canadian Parliament working on the Convention on Cluster Munitions legislation. Students sent self-portraits with the message, “We don’t want our country to use cluster bombs, please don’t help them. Changez le projet de loi et donnez-nous un avenir plus sécuritaire”.

 PSALM  artwork to Canadian Parliament

WVCBL/PSALM joins Mines Action Canada in their disappointment that the Senate of Canada has passed the severely flawed draft implementation legislation on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Bill S-10, without amendment. It is now up to the House of Commons to review the legislation and amend it to protect not only the spirit and the intent of the Convention, but also to protect innocent lives.The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade heard from numerous expert witnesses from Canada and around the world who pointed out many significant flaws in the legislation and suggested a variety of ways to strengthen the Bill. Despite amendments being proposed in both the Committee and during Third Reading, the Senate voted to maintain the flaws in the legislation and send it to the House of Commons unchanged. “The vote in the Senate means that Canada could have the weakest legislation in the world unless MPs are willing to make some much needed amendments. As a country that has never used or produced cluster munitions, Canada can and should have the best legislation in the world. Mines Action Canada and its colleagues in the Cluster Munition Coalition hope that all Members of the House will work to ensure that Canada is a leader in protecting civilians, as well as ,ensuring that no Canadian will ever use this banned weapon for any reason, anywhere, at any time, for anyone” said Paul Hannon, Executive Director.

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Pictures show Paul Dewar, Hélène Laverdière and Ève
Péclet, members on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the
Canadian Parliament, standing in front of the Parliament building.

As the legislation moves into the House of Commons, citizens across Canada, WVCBL/PSALM and cluster munition victims around the world call on Members of the Canadian Parliament to ensure that the legislation lives up to the spirit and purpose of the Convention on Cluster Munitions which is to end for all time the suffering caused by cluster munitions. TO LEARN MORE, GO TO: http://www.minesactioncanada.org

Erin Hunt, Program Officer, Mines Action Canada

LEND YOUR LEG for a Mine Free World!

LEND YOUR LEG FOR A MINE FREE WORLD

PSALM/WVCBL, as well a campaigners worldwide, joined together for a global month of action that  kicked off on March 1st, the anniversary of entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty and built up to April 4th, the International Day for Mine Awareness. March 1st also marked the anniversary of the founding of PSALM/WVCBL by a group of concerned students in 1999. Many thanks to ALL who joined us and the world and rolled up one pant leg to show solidarity with the victims and survivors of landmines and let the world know…NO MORE LANDMINES!

USCBL campaigners join the LEND YOUR LEG CAMPAIGN

   WHY LEND A LEG??? We don’t have to worry about our next step being fatal, but hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens around the world are not so lucky. Landmines are a humanitarian issue. It is not about politics or parties, it is about making sure kids can play, farmers can grow their crops safely and all can walk without fear that their next step may be their last. PLEASE JOIN US!!!! Visit LEND YOUR LEG USA facebook page and post your “lend your leg” photo here:http://facebook.com/LendYourLegUSA

As part of the 2013 Lend Your Leg (LYL) global month of action, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL), in conjunction with Handicap International’s U.S. office, is promoting an online petition urging the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty. Please help us get the U.S. on board with the MBT – sign the petition and share it with your friends and networks and ask them to do the same.

 You can find the petition here -http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/760/465/580/

Two years ago in Colombia, the country with the third highest annual landmine casualty rate, civil society came up with a simple yet brilliant idea: on April 4th, the International Day for Mine Awareness, they went about their normal routines with one of their pant legs rolled up as a symbolic act to say, “No more landmines!” They did it massively: kids and students joined, private companies joined by rolling up their logos, the military, local celebrities joined, even the President ended up working with his pant leg rolled up! In 2012, the United Nations, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and 74 countries around the world “lent their legs”. Important leaders, such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Prince Mired of Jordan, the British Minister of State Jeremy Browne, and celebrities, such as soccer player Iker Casillas, singer Juanes and many others, “lent their legs” to ban landmines. Positive Mine Ban Treaty developments in 2012 included the announcement by five countries—Denmark,Guinea-Bissau,Jordan, theRepublicofCongo, andUganda—of their completion of mine clearance. Since the beginning of 2012, three countries have joined the treaty:Finland,Somalia, and most recently, in December 2012,Poland. All European Union countries and all countries in sub-SaharanAfricaare now on board. However, significant challenges remain, including landmine contamination in 59 countries, slow progress on clearance goals, and 36 countries still remaining outside the Treaty. The 2013 ICBL Lend Your Leg actions are focused on addressing these at the national level in nearly 50 countries around the world. In the US there will be “Lend Your Leg” flash mobs, seminars, demonstrations and lobbying efforts. “ICBL’s 2013 Lend Your Leg action is a clear call to states and the international community to finish the work of eradicating landmines and the destruction they wreak, and to do it quickly, “ said ICBL Director Kasia Derlicka. Specifically, the ICBL is using the Lend Your Leg action to urgently call for:

*An immediate halt to the use of any new antipersonnel mines, anywhere.                                                                                                               *Remaining countries, including theU.S.to join the Mine Ban Treaty without delay.*Full compliance by State Parties to the Treaty regarding their obligations to destroy all stockpiles, clear mine-affected land, and assist victims. *All countries to provide the necessary resources to achieve a world free of antipersonnel landmines.

PSALM/WVCBL “LEND THEIR LEGS” FOR A MINE FREE WORLD

LEND YOUR LEG FOR A MINE FREE WORLD PSALM COLOMBIAN BALLOON RELEASE… LEND YOUR LEG for a mine free world

 

                                             

 

 

LEND YOUR LEG VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdJtGWbNT4s

Lend Your Leg to Ban Landmines:

Website: http://www.lendyourleg.org

Facebook: http://facebook.com/LendYourLegUSA

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LendYourLegUSA

YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/lendyourlegcampaign

PSALM video: http://animoto.com:80/play/Fma9yMdHazO1VH4y5PPyyA

 PSALM/WVCBL  students released red, yellow and blue balloons inspired by Colombian NGO Fundacion Arcangeles. The symbolic colors of the Colombian flag were chosen to call attention to the issue of landmines and their devastating effect on communities in Colombia and throughout the world. On April 4th, the International Day for Mine Awareness, community and state members as well as national leaders wanting to “make a stand”  joined us and wore jeans/pants that day with one pant leg rolled up to show solidarity with those that suffer and urge the United States to join the Mine Ban Treaty immediately.

 

 

A “NOBEL” CAUSE: Portraits of Peace

A “NOBEL” CAUSE: PORTRAIT OF SONG KOSAL

  

Members of PSALM: Proud Students Against Land Mines/West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs met last fall to discuss how to join the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in celebrating 20 years of campaigning for a world free of landmines. It seemed fitting that a youth campaign born from an art project would commemorate the event with painted portraits of International Campaign to Ban Landmines campaigners and photographs depicting a timeline celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize winning ICBL and 13 years of  WVCBL/PSALM work with the campaign.  Titled, A “NOBEL” CAUSE: Portraits of Peace,  PSALM students spent countless hours preparing and painting large scale portraits of International Campaign to Ban Landmines campaigners, mentors and role models in the efforts to ban landmines and cluster munitions. These portraits represent a mere fraction of the many amazing people we have had the privilege of working with over the years.  The ICBL, a global civil society movement, was born to put an urgent stop to a humanitarian crisis. ICBL’s efforts were crucial to the development, negotiation, adoption and signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the first treaty to ban a weapon in widespread use. In 1997, the ICBL was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, after two decades of ICBL campaigning worldwide, and 16 years since the Mine Ban Treaty was signed, more than 80 per cent of the world has banned the weapon by becoming party to the treaty. Most importantly, the number of new casualties caused by antipersonnel mines each year has dropped dramatically.  As a teacher who has been “at it” for quite awhile, I can attest to the fact that many times the student becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the student. In 1999, I assigned a project to my 8th grade art students; design an artwork that would educate the public about a global social justice issue. Little did I know that such a small idea could have such life-changing consequences. The students choose “landmines”.  Local veteran and ophthalmologist, Dr. Larry Schwab encouraged students to join the work to rid the world of landmines when he was invited to speak to the students.

PORTRAIT OF JODY WILLIAMS BY PSALM STUDENTS

PORTRAIT OF JODY WILLIAMS BY PSALM STUDENTS

In 2000, PSALM students met with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Jody Williams, Landmine Survivors Network founders Ken Rutherford and Jerry White and Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines members including Tun Channareth, ICBL Youth Ambassador, Song Kosal and Sister Denise Coghlan all of whom went out of their way to educate the students about the issues. Dr. Rutherford and Jody Williams visited our school in 2001 to make presentations about the campaign and to encourage the students on their efforts.

 

A "NOBEL" CAUSE: PORTRAITS OF PEACE BY PSALM STUDENTS

A “NOBEL” CAUSE: Portrait of Princess Diana

This is what makes it such an honor for us to work for a landmine/cluster bomb free world. It is the amazing people from many walks of life and all corners of the world coming together for the common good. It is the survivors, the doctors, the world leaders, the politicians, the teachers and the students, the religious and civil organizations and even an occasional prince and princess, all working in concert to ban these indiscriminate weapons.  Banning landmines makes a difference. There has been a great deal of headway since the Mine Ban Treaty came into force in March 1999. The global stigma attached to these weapons has led to a virtual halt in the global trade in antipersonnel mines, a sharp drop in the number of producers and a startling reduction in the number of governments laying mines, even among states that still refuse to officially join the treaty. Vast tracts of land have been cleared and put back into productive use; there has been widespread and extensive destruction of stockpiled mines; and most importantly, there are now fewer new mine victims each year. PSALM students and the WVCBL are committed to educating the public about the devastation caused by landmines and cluster munitions and the indiscriminate nature of these weapons leading to the destruction of innocent life, especially children, after wartime hostilities have ceased. We work to raise awareness about survivor issues, prevent future casualties through our service projects, and contribute to the universal signature of the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions by ALL countries, especially the United States. JOIN US!

Nora D. Sheets: Coordinator WVCBL/PSALM

 A “NOBEL” CAUSE: Portraits of Peace”  at the BENEDUM GALLERY, Monongalia Arts Center, 144 High Street, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, JANUARY 11th- FEBRUARY 28th, 2013.

 “We want a world where ALL children can walk to school, gather food or water, and play without the fear that each step may be their last” said a PSALM student during the exhibit.  

 

Read more about “A Nobel Cause” in the blog of The Journal of ERW and Mine Action
http://cisrjmu.tumblr.com/

To Learn more:

International Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.icbl.org

Cluster Munition Coalition: www.stopclustermunitions.org

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

OUR WISH FOR THE NEW YEAR...A MINE FREE WORLD IN 2013!

Nobel Peace Prize winning campaign celebrates 20 years of fight against landmines

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) celebrates 20 years of campaigning for a world free of landmines.  In 1992, the ICBL, a global civil society movement, was born to put an urgent stop to a humanitarian crisis, which was leaving more than 20,000 people killed or maimed by antipersonnel mines every year.

ICBL’s efforts were crucial to the development, negotiation, adoption and signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the first treaty to ban a weapon in widespread use. Since then the campaign has continued working around the world to turn the words of the treaty into real change on the ground.

USA..ACT TODAY FOR A MINE FREE WORLD

    Today, after two decades of ICBL        campaigning worldwide, and 15 years since the Mine Ban Treaty was signed, more than 80 per cent of the world – 160 countries – have banned the weapon by becoming party to the treaty, and most of those remaining outside abide by the ban norm. Many hundreds of square kilometres of previously mine infested land have been cleared of mines, and more than 45 million stockpiled landmines in 87 countries have been destroyed. Most importantly, the number of new casualties caused by antipersonnel mines each year has dropped dramatically to fewer than 5,000 recorded cases.

But despite this remarkable progress, still every day on average 12 people are killed or maimed by landmines or explosive remnants of war. Thirty-five countries have yet to renounce landmines and sign on to the Mine Ban Treaty. Countries’ efforts to clear all affected land as soon as possible, and to assist all landmine survivors and their affected communities have not been enough and more work is needed to achieve these obligations. Most alarmingly, a small number of governments outside of the treaty are still using antipersonnel landmines, including Myanmar and Syria in 2012.

“In today’s world, any use of antipersonnel mines is unacceptable,” said Kasia Derlicka, Director of the ICBL.

“In our 20th year, and for as long as it takes, we will continue to challenge the international community to finish the job we started twenty years ago to put a final end to these weapons, and to do that rapidly, within years, not decades,” Derlicka added.

The ICBL is taking the opportunity of its 20th anniversary to call on the global community to do more and finish the job of eradicating antipersonnel landmines once and for all.
Specifically, the ICBL today urgently calls for:

  • an immediate halt to the use of any new antipersonnel landmines, anywhere;
  • remaining countries, including the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty without delay;
  • States Parties to the Treaty to fully comply with their obligations to destroy all stocks, clear land, and assist victims;
  • all countries to provide the necessary resources to achieve a world free of antipersonnel landmines.

 WVCBL/PSALM adds, ” the time is now for the United States to join the Mine Ban Treaty”. Through the continuous and effective partnership of governments and civil society, a landmine-free world can be rapidly achieved to ensure no person, family or community anywhere need ever again suffer the devastating and lifelong effects of antipersonnel landmines. Visit the new video outlining the amazing journey of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUkDYneqeuE

 

 As the West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and PSALM: Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs celebrate the 20th birthday of the ICBL, we want to take a moment to extend our sincere appreciation to all campaigners and supporters for all of your hard work and efforts. We also want to thank all of our mentors and role models in the efforts to ban landmines and cluster munitions.

PSALM  students have attended conferences in Washington, D.C., met with national leaders and even Queen Noor of Jordan. The students are the reason I periodically find myself in mine fields in distant lands! And when it came time to ban cluster munitions, the students were “all in”. The students not only educated their own families, classmates and school, but reached out to others nationally and internationally. It is a true testament to the perseverance of children who only want to see a world that is more just and peaceful for ALL! There is a lot of work ahead of us (especially U.S.!) but we see our goals as attainable and will continue to devote ourselves to these goals…a world free of landmines and cluster bombs. A world where ALL can “walk without fear”. Our gratitude and thanks to all of you that “Push for Progress” each and every day and make this “Mission Possible”! Nora Sheets, Coordinator, WVCBL/PSALM

 

 

 

Cluster bombs have killed and injured thousands of civilians during the last 40 years and continue to do so today!

Cluster Bombs: A History of Harm

A cluster bomb is a weapon that can contain up to several hundred small explosive bomblets. Dropped from the air or fired from the ground, cluster bombs break open in mid-air and scatter these bomblets over a wide area. Anyone within the strike zone is likely to be torn apart, no matter if they are military or civilian. Many bomblets fail to explode as intended, leaving behind huge quantities of de facto landmines which continue to kill for years or even decades after their use. Used in more than 30 countries, cluster bombs have killed and injured tens of thousands of civilians and devastated the livelihoods of countless more. Over 380 million bomblets were used in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam in the 1970s and many of these are still killing people today. In the past decade cluster bombs have been used in Albania, the former Yugoslavia, the DR Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel and Georgia.

Join the Team...Ban Cluster Bombs!

JOIN THE TEAM!

Second Anniversary of Entry Into Force CCM

In 2008 governments negotiated an international treaty, formally known as the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster bombs. It also prohibits all countries that have joined the Convention to assist anyone in any activity banned under the Convention, such as the production of cluster bombs. So far, more than 110 countries have joined the Convention.

On 1 August 2012, WVCBL/PSALM joined  Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) members worldwide to take part in coordinated campaign actions to celebrate the second anniversary of entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The theme to mark 2 years since the Convention entered into force was sports and the CMC called on governments to “Join the Team” by acceding to and ratifying the Convention and starting to implement the treaty as soon as possible.

  • · ALL countries, including the U.S. should ‘join the team’ of nations committed to a global ban cluster bombs by acceding to or ratifying the Convention as soon as possible.

 · Key decision makers and government representatives should ‘join the team’ of delegates registered for future Meeting of States Parties.

WVCBL/PSALM wants YOU to ‘join the team’ of civil society, governments and individuals globally working together for a world free of cluster munitions. The world has agreed that biological and chemical weapons may not be used. It is time to ban these weapons recognizing that any conceivable use is outweighed by the moral consequences. We encourage YOU to learn more about cluster munitions and landmines (www.stopclustermunitions.org and www.icbl.org) and JOIN THE TEAM!

JOIN the TEAM to ban cluster muntions!

United States Secretary of State Clinton Visit to Laos

Laotian school children near cluster bombed area (CMC/ICBL)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touched down in Vientiane, Laos on July 11th, marking the first time that a U.S. Secretary of State has visited the country since 1955. While there, Secretary Clinton made a visit to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) Center to observe medical and rehabilitation services for amputees, many of whom are victims of explosions from bombs left over from the Vietnam War era.

 

 

Laos has a horrific distinction as the world’s most heavily bombed nation with about a ton of ordnance for each man, woman and child. Years later, only 1 percent of contaminated lands have been cleared.

Cluster bomb detonation near school/Photo: Sheets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2010, members of the West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines/Cluster Munitions visited Laos to document the issue. The scale of devastation caused by cluster bombs is immense and shocking. I cannot understate the impact of a field trip to Xieng Khouang province which is one of the most heavily bombed areas in the Laos. While there we witnessed clearance operations and the destruction of cluster munitions. It was powerful and truly life changing to witness the extent of the contamination first hand. As a teacher, what was particularly distressing was the close proximity of a school near this area. As I watched the children play, I could only wonder how often they came into contact with these remnants of war. I could easily imagine how the curiosity of a child would lead them to investigate these “bombies”. While visiting the COPE Center, we witnessed the crafting of small hands, feet, legs and arms made especially for children.  

children's prosthetics Cope Rehabiltation Center/photo: Sheets

Many of these victims happen upon cluster munitions while partaking of their daily activities like farming and retrieval of water.

 

 

 

 

We were permitted to view the clearance team as they used metal detectors for surface clearance to detect weapons underground. When bombs are found, they were detonated either with a fuse or by an electrical charge.

Cluster bomb field detonation set-up/photo: Sheets

Seeing first-hand the painstaking work of deminers, looking at the pock-marked earth and feeling the shock of a blast even from a safe distance gave us a better sense of the reality of the cluster bomb problem that people face every day. While in Vientiane, we were reminded of the long-term devastation cluster munitions cause when a cluster submunition explosion killed a 10-year-old girl and injured her 15-year-old sister. 

 For more than 40 years, cluster bombs have killed and wounded innocent people, causing inhumane suffering, loss and hardship for thousands in countries across the planet. Cluster bombs are indiscriminate killers that spew deadly shrapnel over large swathes of land. Air-dropped or ground-launched, they cause two major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians. First, their widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme, especially when the weapon is used in or near populated areas. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended. These duds are more lethal than antipersonnel mines; incidents involving submunition duds are much more likely to cause death than injury.

As a result, the vast majority of cluster bomb casualties have been civilians. One third of all recorded cluster munitions casualties are children. 60% of cluster bomb casualties are injured while undertaking their normal activities. They have indiscriminate wide-area effects and leave severe and lasting humanitarian and development consequences. They hamper post-conflict rebuilding and rehabilitation and the dangerous work of cluster bomb clearance absorbs funds that could be spent on other urgent humanitarian needs. They can deny access to food, water, and other basic needs, and inhibit freedom of movement, limiting people’s ability to participate in education or access medical care. Without determined action, the civilian harm caused by these weapons both during and after conflict will continue to grow.

“Legacies of War”  pushed for Clinton’s groundbreaking trip to Laos since July 2011, when it joined with six former U.S. Ambassadors/Chiefs of Mission to Laos in encouraging the Secretary to visit the country and to make a long-term commitment to clearing Laos of UXO. “Legacies of War ” was founded in 2004 to raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombings of Laos and advocate for greater U.S. funding to clear UXO. Legacies seeks to provide space for healing the wounds of war using art, culture, education, community organizing, and dialogue among the Laotian-American community and the broader U.S. public. The organization is based in Washington, D.C. VISIT: legaciesofwar.org  for more information on how YOU can help!

WVCBL/PSALM say, USA…Don’t Walk Away! Lend Your Leg and join the Mine Ban Treaty!

Seventy-Six Civil Society Leaders Deliver Letter to President Obama Calling on U.S. to Announce Intent to Join Mine Ban Treaty… Leaders from 76 nongovernmental organizations, including WVCBL/PSALM, delivered a letter to President Obama urging the U.S. to relinquish antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without further delay. The letter follows a request made in 2010 by many of these same leaders asking the President to ensure that the landmine policy review announced by the White House in late 2009 would be timely, inclusive, and aimed at speedy accession to the treaty. In the letter, leaders said, “A decision to join the Mine Ban Treaty would vividly demonstrate your commitment to multilateralism, to global humanitarian endeavors, and to the protection of civilians from the ravages of war. It is a decision that would be lauded by the vast majority of the U.S. public and U.S. allies around the world.” The world has waited long enough. We need your help to ensure that the outcome of the review process is announced and that the treaty is submitted by the administration to the Senate for consent now. Please use the USCBL/CapWiz tool to let the administration know that it’s time for the U.S.  to join the Mine Ban Treaty and to ban the use of this barbaric weapon once and for all!

www.uscbl.org/get-involved/

Washington, DC LEND THEIR LEGS“LEND YOUR LEG”

 Remangate “Roll-up” Campaign asked people 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 phenomenon. The campaign was hugely successful. Watch the official LEND YOUR LEG video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGduCYrPlAo and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdJtGWbNT4s

. We join the International community to show solidarity with the victims of landmines and cluster bombs.

ON THE International Day of Mine Awareness AND EVERYDAY, Lend Your Leg!
ICBL celebrates 20 years

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, founded in 1992, is a global humanitarian campaign entirely unique in its scope, authority, diversity and effectiveness. The adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997 was the first time a civil society grass roots campaign – the ICBL – had ever succeeded in lobbying for a global ban on a weapon that had been in widespread use. For this achievement the ICBL was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Although a huge amount has been achieved we still have a long way to go before landmines are no longer a threat, and during our 20th anniversary we will challenge the international community to help us reach this goal in our lifetime. This 20th year the ICBL will be celebrating the power of civil society and the partnership between NGOs and governments that this campaign represents. The Lend Your Leg action, sponsored by the ICBL’s global civil society network and the United Nations is an example of this influential worldwide partnership and how it still has the capacity to affect change.

PSALM students LEND THEIR LEGS FOR A MINE FREE WORLD

WVCBL/PSALM joins the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Lend Your Leg Campaign to “Lend Your Leg for a mine free world”, and put a full stop to the damage landmines still cause while showing solidarity with all survivors of landmines and other explosive remnants of war. Lend Your Leg was launched on the March 1st,  the 13th anniversary of the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty, which bans all use, production, stockpile and transfer of deadly, devastating antipersonnel mines and obliges states to clear all contaminated land. It was also the first disarmament treaty in history to promote the rights of survivors and the need for victim assistance. Lend Your Leg is a call to action for the international community to reinvigorate its commitment to a mine free world, and to do everything possible to reach this achievable goal in years, not decades. Join us and the international community and ask the world to roll up their pant leg, show solidarity and “LEND YOUR LEG”! The TIME IS NOW FOR THE USA TO NOT WALK AWAY… JOIN THE MINE BAN TREATY!  Lend Your Leg Video Presentation

PSALM student, Matteo lends his leg for a landmine free world

 PSALM student, Matteo decided he wanted to get 1000 photos of supporters “lending their legs”… VISIT the link below to see PSALM STUDENT, MATTEO’S FACEBOOK PAGE  AND ADD YOUR LEG FOR A LANDMINE FREE WORLD-  www.facebook.com/lendyourlegday

WVU Mountaineer Athletes Lend Their Legs!

 

Matteo received the ‘PAY IT FORWARD” AWARD from E4P and WVU for his work on this campaign!

 

 

 

VISIT www.youtube.com/lendyourlegcampaign to view the new global video that features famous faces from around the world. Follow the link and see PSALM video about the Lend Your Leg Campaign: http://animoto.com:80/play/Fma9yMdHazO1VH4y5PPyyA  http://animoto.com:80/play/15QA6omzy50lb1jC0Xlw7w  VISIT the Lend Your Leg website www.lendyourleg.orgPSALM student “C-R-ME” has written and recorded a song to raise awareness about landmines and cluster  bombs. The song, “B.O.O.M.E.: BOMBS OUT OF MY EARTH” by can be viewed on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0sekpGBVdA****

B.O.O.M.E. : “BOMBS OUT OF MY EARTH” BY C R ME