06 May 2015
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and its members marked 4 April, the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action by conducting advocacy activities and showing solidarity to people affected by landmines and cluster munitions. With multiple activities on and around the day, campaigners urged their governments to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty, and to complete obligations under the treaties.
To name a few, Campaigners in Myanmar celebrated 4 April through a ceremony where for the first time in Myanmar’s history, the Chief Minister, along with the spokesperson and his deputy of the Yangon Region Parliament, attended such an event. ICBL-CMC member U Thant Zin, the organizer of the ceremony, reminded participants that over five million people in Myanmar were facing the threat of landmines in seven states and regions of the country. The ceremony was attended by more than a hundred people and concluded with a rare and effective demonstration on humanitarian mine clearance.
From 2-8 April 2015, the Landmine Survivors Initiatives (LSI) in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized many activities, including mines risk education for students and teachers in mine affected communities, roundtables, and media events. A key message conveyed in all activities was that national authorities need to come up with realistic time-bound plans to implement remaining Mine Ban Treaty obligations. The week was started by LSI and its partners issuing a press release on 2 April calling on authorities to improve legislative frameworks and make victim assistance a priority. Mine action director of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the director of LSI addressed media and representatives of embassies, national institutions, ministries and civil society organizations on the status of mine action efforts including situation of survivors and their family members.
In Italy, campaigners carried out a series of disinvestment campaign activities from 1 March, the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty to 4 April. The Italian campaign produced a number of awareness materials and reached out to 945 parliamentarians and media with the aim of stopping investment in production of cluster munitions.
To highlight the need for full implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty, in Afghanistan 4 April was celebrated by mine action authorities and mine action stakeholders including Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization and Community Center for Disabled. They organized an event that included a volleyball game with participation of persons with disabilities and survivors and a theatre play showcasing the dangers of mines. Participants were addressed by the President of Afghanistan, Mr. Ashraf Ghani. In honor of the tireless efforts of the mine action community of Afghanistan, one of the Kabul’s streets was named as “Jada Main Paki” (Mine Clearance Street).
In Colombia, the CCCM launched a social media campaign called “Red Point”. The red point campaign alerts civilians living in mined regions with the hashtag #SIGUENAHÍ (they are still there)and to remind the government and the insurgent groups that 57 locations should be reprioritized for demining due to existence of large number mines posing risks to local people.
While preparing for the Dubrovnik Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Mine Aid association campaigners in Croatia together with government and other actors organized a public event including demining demonstration, sitting volleyball games, screening educational film and engaging media to call for a mine free Croatia.
In the Netherlands, PAX sent letters to European Union countries that have not joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions yet, urging them to join the convention.
In Albania, ALB-AID, in cooperation of Handicap International, organized an exhibition of drawings by children from five schools to raise awareness on the rights of unexploded ordinance survivors. The exhibition was followed by a press conference calling upon Albanian institutions to start implementing a new law for persons with disabilities, and asking that the government revise the national action plan.
The Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal sent a call for petition to more than 1000 organizations and published an article on its website to celebrate the Mine Awareness day.
The Iraqi Alliance for Disability Organizations (IADO), in collaboration with the government of Iraq, organized an event to celebrate achievements and highlight challenges in implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Representatives of the Ministries of Defence, Environment, Health, Labour and Education, Iraqi Paralympics, local and international organizations, activists for victims and persons with disability and media outlets were in attendance. IADO, a member of the ICBL-CMC led by a landmine survivor called for full implementation of the victim assistance obligations of the treaties in Iraq.
Survivors Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization in Ethiopia marked 4 April in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Ethiopia by organizing an event to discuss the need for an increased partnership between NGOs and government to address the needs of survivors and their family members and to ultimately bring casualties to zero. More than 150 people attended to celebrate Mine Awareness and Action Day.
Campaigners in Senegal organized a marathon and a Lend your Leg campaign with participation of survivors, students and teachers.
Campaigners in Zambia commemorated 4 April together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs making a statement on national television reaching over six million Zambians and residents.
West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines in an event called on the United States to “Commit to Not Use Cluster Munitions and participate in the Dubrovnik Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.” Proud Students--the members of the campaign-- initiated a Lend Your Leg Day of solidarity for the victims and survivors of landmines and cluster munitions.
The Saharawi Association of the Victims of Mines launched a Lend Your Leg campaign to raise awareness about the danger of millions of landmines and cluster bombs in Western Sahara. Saharawi campaigners encouraged local actors, humanitarian organizations and the international community to take part in this action. The campaign called on the international community to put pressure on Morocco to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty.
Safe Ground, the campaign in Australia launched a crowd-funding campaign to send a volunteer to the Solomon Islands to follow up on Safe Ground research and document the legacy of ERW contamination from WWII. The Australian campaigners also carried out media work and reached out to Solomon Islands authorities to promote accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
In Sudan, the campaign member JASMAR celebrated 4 April through a ceremony in collaboration with government to keep up the momentum for completion of Mine Ban Treaty obligations by the government of Sudan where stakeholders reiterate their commitment in mine action.
The Indian campaign organized a roundtable meeting at Nagpur, India. The meeting focused on the mines laying on the border between India and Pakistan. Civil society members called for regional cooperation to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty together, so that no state felt threatened by another.
Overall, April 4 continued strong actions being taken throughout the year to promote the Convention on Cluster Munitions reaching 100 States Parties by the time of the First Review Conference of the Convention and to urge States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty to complete major treaty obligations within 10 years.