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
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.
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!
c) AIF Serbia
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.
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.
A 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.
PSALM 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.
What is “Lend Your Leg”?
Watch the official LEND
YOUR LEG video here: http://www.youtube.com/w
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 Virginia, United 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
United States Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.banminesusa.org
International Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.icbl.org
Cluster Munition Coalition: www.
West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs: www.wvcbl.org
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.
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.”
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 (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.