02 April 2015
Going beyond awareness
U Hla Sein (65) stepped on an antipersonnel mine in early 2011 while walking on the same path he used everyday to travel to his farm in Velay village, in Karen State, near the Thai border. “ I’ve had these tattoos since I was 18 years old – everybody did it. It was a way to show how strong you were!” 2 Nov 2011 © Giovanni Diffidenti / di+ onlus
The best way to mark 4 April, the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, is to go beyond awareness by taking concrete action against indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions and landmines.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty are the only frameworks that guarantee elimination of these two indiscriminate weapons.
The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions has been saving countless lives around the world; 116 nations have joined the Convention; over 140 million submunitions have been destroyed; hundreds of square kilometres of cluster munitions contaminated land have been cleared; and rights of cluster munitions victims have been recognized and their needs are being addressed.
Cluster munitions, however, remain an international problem and civilians continue losing lives and livelihoods including by new uses of cluster munitions in Ukraine and Libya, as well as widespread ongoing use in Syria.
The Cluster Munition Coalition calls for:
- All states not party to renounce cluster munitions and join the Convention;
- State Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, as the guardians of the Convention and its norms, to stay vigilant and stand against any use of cluster munitions including the recent use in Ukraine, Libya and Syria;
- States Parties of the Convention to enhance efforts in clearing cluster munitions as well as assistance to cluster munition victims.
As with the Convention on Cluster Munitions, there is much to celebrate as a result of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. One hundred sixty-two (162) countries have joined the treaty; over 48 million stockpiled landmines have been destroyed; casualties caused by landmines have dropped from approximately 25 persons a day in 1999 to 9 persons per day now; people in 30 affected countries enjoy living without danger of landmines; and the living situation of many landmine victims has been improved. But, the job is not finished yet!
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, therefore, calls for:
- States Parties of the Mine Ban Treaty to ensure completion of mine clearance by 2025;
- No one to use landmines and South Sudan, where last use of landmines has been reported, to respond to the concerns of the international community.
- Gaps in victim assistance services to be addressed in a timely manner.
- All the 35 states that have yet to join the treaty, to do so without further delay.
4 April will be marked by ICBL-CMC campaigners, including survivors and youth from all continents, through national campaign actions against landmines and cluster munitions and/or for rights and needs of victims. Campaigners this year will focus their actions on increasing the number of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to 100 by the time of its First Review Conference that will be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia in early September 2015.