PSALM/WVCBL Celebrate the Mine Ban Treaty
On March 1st PSALM students released 50 balloons marking the anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty Entry Into Force and their own founding. Each balloon will carried a message of hope that the United States and countries everywhere will “GET ON BOARD” and ban these indiscriminate weapons so that children the world over can “walk without fear” in a world free of landmines and cluster bombs. PSALM/WVCBL will hold awareness events throughout March and April.
PSALM students made presentations at the West Virginia State Legislature and were presented with a WV House of Representatives Resolution commending their efforts. Led by State Representative Barbara Fleischauer and escorted by local delegates to the front of the chamber, the students in their tie-dyed PSALM T-shirts heard the reading of House Resolution 30 honoring their work and received a copy of the resolution. The document notes that mines and cluster bombs continue to endanger civilians long after a conflict is finished. After the presentation, students talked about why they participate. “We do this because there are people out there dying and we want to save their lives,” said Melanie, 10. Logan, 11, described how some people must cross a mine field to get water. “There are people that are hurt.
They’re innocent people.” Lexi, 10, was carrying a prosthetic leg. She said some of those who lose legs to mines are too poor to afford a leg like that, and must be fitted with wooden legs. “It’s meaningful to us because we really want to ban these weapons that are harming children”.
WVCBL/PSALM say…The TIME IS NOW…“U.S. citizens and other campaigners from around the world have been calling on the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty since the conventions opened for signature in 1997,” said Zach Hudson, USCBL Coordinator. “Since the policy review announcement this outcry has only intensified; the administration has received letters of support for the Mine Ban Treaty from 68 Senators, NGO leaders, key NATO allies, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, victims of U.S. landmines, and countless concerned Americans. Enough is enough—it’s time to join.” The USCBL has noted that it would not be difficult for the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty, as it is already in compliance with the majority of the convention’s provisions: the U.S. has not used antipersonnel landmines since 1991, has not exported any since 1992, and has not produced any since 1997. The U.S. is also the world’s largest individual donor to mine action programs. Part of the Mine Ban Treaty anniversary celebrations, ICBL campaigners will be meeting with U.S. government officials at U.S. embassies around the world to urge the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty. The United States Campaign to Ban Landmine, currently coordinated by Handicap International, is a coalition of thousands of people and U.S. non-governmental organizations including PSALM/WVCBL working to: (1) ensure no U.S. use, production, or transfer of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions; (2) encourage the U.S. to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions; and (3) secure high levels of U.S. government support for clearance and assistance programs for victims of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. The USCBL is the U.S. affiliate of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)—the co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize—and is a member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, an international coalition working to protect civilians from the effects of cluster munitions by promoting universal adherence to and full implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. JOIN US! www.uscbl.org.