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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.

PSALM students present art and gifts

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.

the road traveled

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.

 

WVCBL/PSALM CONGRATULATE NAMIBIA

Namibia has become the 104th member state to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, following deposit of the instrument of ratification with the United Nations (UN).

“Namibia’s accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, just two days before the opening of the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva, is yet another indication of the strength of this treaty and the global norm banning these horrific weapons,” said Cluster Munition Director, Hector Guerra.

The Republic of Namibia was an early supporter of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, signing in 2008 and participating in every Meeting of States Parties since then. The country voted in favor of a key United Nations resolution on the convention in December 2017.

Namibia states that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions and has condemned new use of cluster munitions.

The Convention will enter into force for Namibia on 1 February 2019.

“it is great to see universalization of the Convention moving forward in Africa,” Guerra said. Namibia’s ratification means that 42 of Africa’s 54 countries are now on board the treaty.

PSALM CELEBRATES THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

PSALM CELEBRATES THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

 

 

 

The International Day of Peace is a is a global effort that seeks: “To encourage the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
observation of a worldwide cease-fire, 24-hour vigil for peace and nonviolence on the 21st September in every house of worship and place of spiritual practice, by all religious and spiritually based groups and individuals, and by all men, women and children who seek peace in the world.” PSALM students celebrated the day with art, music and disarmament work. 
PSALM students are currently working on “THE PATH TAKEN”, an art installation of artworks that will depict
the countries where landmines, cluster munitions and the remnants of wars and conflicts continue to make life difficult for all who live and work in those areas.

A Peaceful United Korea is a Landmine-Free Korea

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Participants to the 2018 Asia Platform to Ban Landmines, Taipei, May 2018 © Eden Social Welfare Foundation

Campaigners from country campaigns or member organizations met in Taipei to discuss mine ban campaigning in the current context within the region. The meeting was titled 2018 Asia Platform to Ban Landmines. Regarding recent positive developments between North and South Korea, the campaigners issued the following statement, which was subsequently endorsed by other campaigns in the region.

Recent positive developments in the Korean Peninsula have surprised and shown the world that peace is possible. Asia campaigners to ban landmines applaud the political will to end the war in the peninsula, although much hard work remains to be done. The declaration of peace between South and North Korea will greatly contribute to the peacebuilding efforts in the region and will usher in a great confidence in non-military approaches to achieving peace.

This tremendous development has shown that when people will it, it will happen. If the leaders act, it will happen. It is this same political will that the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition have shown. Countries can come together to make things happen when we collectively agree on the principles of peace and humanity we stand for.

The work does not stop with a declaration of peace – the work to achieve a lasting peace has just begun.

While we support the gestures and approaches towards a peaceful united Korea, we would like to highlight that it should also be free from landmines and cluster munitions. It is now time to clear the contaminated areas of all landmines and explosive remnants of war, assist victims and survivors of these weapons and commit to a ban and destruction of the stockpiles. We call on both parties to join the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions as an immediate peace dividend.

This statement is endorsed by:

Asia Platform to Ban Landmines

Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines

Korean Campaign to Ban Landmines / Peace Sharing Association

Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal

Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines

Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines

and the following ICBL member organizations:

In Afghanistan, Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization

In Lao PDR, Humanity and Inclusion Lao PDR

In Pakistan, Sustainable Peace & Development Organization

In Taiwan, Eden Social Welfare Foundation

In Thailand, Self-Help Group of People with disabilities in Aranyaprathet, Nonviolence International Southeast Asia

In Vietnam, Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

Cluster Munition Monitor 2018

Cluster Munition Monitor 2018

DE FACTO MONITORING REGIME OF THE MINE BAN TREATY AND CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS

Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor is an initiative providing research for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). It produces several research products including the annual Landmine Monitor and Cluster Munition Monitorreports, online country profile reports, as well as factsheets and maps.

This is the ninth annual Cluster Munition Monitor report. It is the sister publication to the Landmine Monitor report, which has been issued annually since 1999.

 Using the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions as its principal frame of reference, the report covers global trends in ban policy and practice, survey and clearance of cluster munition remnants, cluster munition casualties, and efforts to guarantee the rights and meet the needs of cluster munition victims. Profiles published online provide additional country-specific findings on these topics. Thematic maps will also published in the report and available online.

 The report focuses on calendar year 2017 with some information updated into August 2018 where possible.

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

WVCBL/PSALM WELCOMES ICBL DIRECTOR and CONGRATULATES ICBL/CMC MEMBER MARGARET ORECH

Congratulations Hector! from PSALM WVCBL (1)We are delighted to welcome Hector Guerra as the new Director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines – Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). Hector brings to the ICBL-CMC a wealth of expertise on international disarmament and an ambitious vision for the future. He has contributed to the negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty and Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. He is a co-founder of the Network for Human Security in Latin America and the Caribbean (SEHLAC), and a long-time contributor to the activities of the ICBL-CMC at the national, regional and international levels. He was a Secretary of the board of Amnesty International in Mexico and a member of the group of academic advisers to the ICRC delegation to Mexico. We look forward to working with Hector on our goal of reaching a mine-free world by 2025!

New Director HG                              c) AIF Serbia

Margaret AO Award

CONGRATULATIONS Margaret Arach Orech Honored by EU with Human Rights Defenders Award

Our dear sister in the work for a mine-free world, ICBL Ambassador Margaret Arach Orech has been awarded the 2018 European Union Human Rights Defenders Award in Uganda!

The award is in recognition of the achievements of an individual Human Rights Defender in documenting human rights violations, seeking remedies for victims of human rights violations, combating the culture of impunity, mainstreaming a human rights culture, and advocating for the respect of human rights.

Margaret’s work as Director of Uganda Landmine Survivors Association (ULSA), as Commissioner to the Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA) coalition, as board member of Uganda’s National Council for Disability (NCD), and as a partner to the Uganda Mine Action Center has led to today’s honor by the EU.

Margaret began her work by providing peer support to victims of conflict at local hospitals after narrowly surviving an ambush on her bus in Northern Uganda in 1998, due to which she lost a leg. In 2000, she felt that as a survivor herself, the best way to give back to the thousands of other survivors would be to advocate on their behalf, and she became an ambassador with the ICBL. Ever since, she has lobbied vigorously for persons with disabilities at international, regional, and national levels, and in 2014 was selected as a Woman PeaceMaker by the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.

She explained that the announcement of the award came at a time when she was very low. “We have continued for the past two years with very limited resources. All efforts to secure funding failed, yet I get so many calls for assistance from survivors in the rural areas for one thing or the other. So the announcement gave me a push to keep working even on voluntary basis, because I have had the chance of carrying out advocacy on humanitarian treaties such as the Mine Ban Treaty, Convention on Cluster Munitions, and Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, both at home and at international fora and I am sort of a voice for those many ‘unknown survivors who may never get to be heard’ in affected areas around the world.”

Margaret, ever the activist, had a message for those going through a similarly difficult time working for campaigns the world over. “Any work for Humanity is not in vain even when you encounter setbacks. Persistence does yield positive results. I have not gotten the response I expect from my government, especially towards the ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but the work continues, no matter the unfavorable conditions.”

We at the ICBL-CMC would like to thank Margaret for all her work and persistence in the face of adversity, and offer her our heartfelt congratulations on receiving this prestigious honor!

Thank you Margaret. You inspire us all to do better.