Landmine Update #12, February 2004
- Ban Treaty News
- Campaign Action
- Mine Action Activities
- Landmine-related events by country September 2003- January 2004
- Landmine Calendar of Events
As of the sixth anniversary of the Mine Ban Convention, 141 countries have ratified the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and an additional 9 have signed it. The most recent accessions are Turkey (25 September), Serbia and Montenegro (18 September) and Belarus (3 September) and the most recent ratifications are Burundi (22 October), Sudan (13 October) and Greece (25 September).
The 2004 Nairobi Summit for a Mine Free World, the First Review Conference for the Convention, is less than a year away and preparations have begun in earnest for this important milestone in the life of the Convention. Much of this period involved launching the Road to Nairobi.
At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty (5MSP) held from 15-19 September in Bangkok, Thailand, the groundwork was well laid for the First Review Conference. A total of 118 countries, including 28 treaty non-signatories, participated in the meeting, as well as more than 200 non-governmental organizations representing 65 countries. It was indeed one of the most successful and productive such meetings to date. Three strong documents emerged from the Meeting­the Bangkok Declaration, the Final Report, and the President?s Action Programme. See the ICBL?s Report on Activities or visit: www.icbl.org/5msp
After leaving Bangkok global campaign focus shifted to Nairobi itself. The Nairobi Summit will be held from 29 November to 3 December 2004 in Nairobi. The Summit will mark progress since the birth of the Convention and chart the way forward for its full implementation and universalization. On 2 December at a ceremony on the anniversary of the Convention in Nicosia, Cyprus, ICBL Ambassador Jody Williams, Acting-President of the Republic of Cyprus, House Speaker Demetris Christofias and Austrian Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch launched the Road to Nairobi, a yearlong series of activities leading up to the Nairobi Summit. See Cyprus.
On 1 December in Geneva, Switzerland, the ICBL participated in informal consultations on the Nairobi Summit for States Parties, organized by Austrian President-Designate, Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch. Ambassador Petritsch asked the following countries to be ?Friends of the President:? Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Norway. Contact: walker-atsig-icbl-dot-org
Landmine Monitor researchers from the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East/ North African regions participated in regional Landmine Monitor and ICBL meetings to help prepare their reports for the 2005 Landmine Monitor Report, to be released on 18 November 2004.
The ICBL took advantage of having campaigners gathered together in Bangkok to hold the ICBL?s Fourth General Meeting, from 20-21 September. 141 participants from 54 country campaigns of the ICBL and representatives of international organizations and ICBL staff attended the General Meeting, as well as 9 NGO observers from an additional 9 countries. The General Meeting received progress updates from thematic working groups and campaigners from each geographical region, yet the meeting focused primarily on the ICBL?s future work. The meeting adopted the Bangkok-Nairobi Action Plan to guide the ICBL?s work from September 2003 to December 2004 as well as an outline to for the ICBL post 2004.
Raising the Voices, a landmine survivor-advocate training project coordinated by Landmine Survivors Network on behalf of the ICBL Working Group on Victim Assistance, began recruiting participants from the Balkans and Former Soviet Union regions for their upcoming training program. Survivors will participate in the February 2004 Intersessional meetings and the Nairobi Summit. Contact: a.capelle|atsig|skynet-dot-be
On 11 November, representatives of the ICBL briefed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)?s Political Committee on the major findings of the Landmine Monitor Report 2003. The briefing took place at NATO headquarters in Brussels. ICBL representatives from Handicap International Belgium and the Belarus Campaign to Ban Landmines attended on behalf of the ICBL and participants included representatives of all of the 46 EAPC countries, except for Turkmenistan.
From 2-4 December the ICBL visited European Union (EU) representatives in Brussels including members of the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council. Meetings focused on universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty in Europe and the involvement of the EU in mine action and the Nairobi Summit. The European Parliament included a paragraph on landmines in its ?resolution on the Council and Commission statements on the preparation of the European Council in Brussels on 12-13 December 2003.? Contact: brigot(replace with at sign)icbl.org
The United Nations General Assembly?s 58th First Committee Mine Ban Treaty Resolution was adopted on 8 December with 153 countries in favor, none against and 23 abstentions. The United Nations Security Council held a briefing on ?the importance of mine action for peacekeeping operations? on 13 November in New York.
On 13 November the Cluster Munition Coalition was launched at an event in The Hague, Netherlands. The new coalition, a group of over 85 civil society organizations from around the world, was founded to provide a coordinated, global response to the growing problems created by cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.
The CMC and several ICBL member organizations participated in the Annual Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in November in Geneva. The meeting concluded with a decision to adopt a new Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War, which will be annexed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Next Step Productions began filming on location in Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Ukraine for the documentary ?Disarm: A Film about Landmines? The 52-minute documentary film sets out to objectively document the international effort to rid the world of landmines. It will be previewed at the Nairobi Summit.
The Night of a Thousand Dinners (N1KD) global fundraising event for the United Nations Adopt a Minefield program was held globally on 6 November.
In celebration of the 6th Anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty being opened for signature and the international day of persons with disabilities, the ICBL circulated two action alerts to help campaigners mark these important days.
In September Norwegian People?s Aid (NPA) launched ?Humanitarian Mine Action 2003,? an updated portfolio of NPA mine action projects. NPA mine clearance teams, operational in Baghdad, Iraq since 5 July, had cleared 146,000 items of exploded ordnance from Baghdad as of 24 November.
The Survey Working Group met in Copenhagen, Denmark on 15-16 October and presented a revised Protocol 6 on Visual Inspection for discussion. The Survey Action Center (SAC) board of directors met from 20-21 November in Lyon, France to develop a plan of action, based on the recent evaluation of the Global Landmine Survey, to be presented at the next meeting of the Survey Working Group. The Landmine Impact Survey of Bosnia, implemented by Handicap International, was completed in December.
In December the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) celebrated its fifth year of activities. Contact: d.orifici(replace with at sign)gichd.ch
The Geneva Forum hosted a seminar on the role of the military in mine action. Representatives from GICHD and the British Ministry of Defence spoke at the event, held 24 November at the United Nations in Geneva. Contact: mccarthy(replace with at sign)hei.unige.ch
In the wake of Sudanese accession to the treaty and recent peace talks several mine action NGOs are assessing the establishment of mine action activities in Sudan.
The latest developments in general give a positive outlook with regards to mine action in the Horn of Africa: Landmine Impact Survey in Ethiopia nearing completion, establishment of mine action programmes in Sudan and recently Djibouti declared itself a mine impact free country.
Angola- In December, the Survey Action Center signed a ?1.5 million contract with the European Commission to support the survey in Angola. The EC has joined the US, Germany, and Canada in support of the survey. www.sac-na.org/surveys_angola.html
Australia- In October the ICBL Australia Network launched the 2003 Landmine Monitor Report in Perth. Contact: bailey|atsig|icbl-dot-org. Also in October, Network members held public seminars on landmines and hosted a launch of the book ?Claiming the Future? in Adelaide. The Network held its annual general meeting in November. Ongoing events included a traveling exhibition in South Perth, integration of landmine issues into a wider social action program in Perth, displays in Local Council Chambers in Adelaide and presentations to school and community groups. The Network also supported a motion passed in the Senate of the Australian Parliament calling for a moratorium on the production, transfer and use of cluster munitions. Contact: elliotth(replace with at sign)wva.org.au
Azerbaijan- In advance of presidential elections held in October, the Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines (AzCBL) appealed to all candidates and to the national media to support Azerbaijan?s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty. On 26 September the AzCBL held a press conference on the results of the 5MSP. On 18 October, the head of the Garabagh Invalid?s Association, a landmine survivor, was arrested for participating in presidential election political demonstrations. To commemorate the 3 December Mine Ban Treaty signing anniversary, the AzCBL appealed to members of the Azeri parliament to join the Mine Ban Treaty and participate in international meetings in preparation for the Nairobi Summit. The AzCBL held regional meetings in Bilesuvar, Khanlar, Fizuli, Berde, Beylagan, Saatly and Sabirabad regions and Ganja city from 18-19 December to meet with government officials and NGOs and promote Azerbaijan?s treaty accession. In December, media reports noted that the number of mine victims in Azerbaijan increased in 2003. Contact: azerbaijan(replace with at sign)icbl.org
Belarus- The Belarus Campaign to Ban Landmines (BCBL) organized ?The Second International Ottawa Convention Implementation Workshop,? held 8-9 December in Minsk, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus with the support from the Governments of Canada, Germany and Luxembourg. The seminar examined the mine problem in Belarus and reviewed Belarus? obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty. Over 60 people participated in the seminar including Belarusian government officials, representatives from Canada, the Czech Republic, the EC, the EU, France, Germany, Italy (as EU Presidency), Lithuania, the OSCE, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and USA, along with ICBL and campaigners from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, ICRC, GICHD, UNICEF and UNDP. Contact: izag(replace with at sign)user.unibel.by
Bolivia- The XIII Iberoamerican Heads of State and Government meeting was held from 14-15 November in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. The final declaration included a reference to landmines.
Bosnia- The Landmine Impact Survey, implemented by Handicap International, was completed in December.
Burma- Two Burmese armed groups, the Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) and the National United Party of Arakan (NUPA), agreed on 5 December to ban the use of antipersonnel mines and victim activated explosive devices. Both groups signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment. Contact: info(replace with at sign)genevacall.org
A new campaign ?End mine use in Burma? has been launched specifically to focus on halting ongoing landmine use in Burma. This campaign will make a special effort to bring a halt to new mine use, while maintaining the long-term goal of bringing Burma/Myanmar into the Mine Ban. The ?End Mine Use in Burma? campaign is being mobilized by ICBL and Thai CBL campaign member Nonviolence International. Further details will be available now on the ICBL website.
Burundi- Ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 22 October. On 15 December, the Conseil National pour la D?fense de la D?mocratie-Forces pour la D?fense de la D?mocratie (CNDD-FDD), a Burundian non-state actor, declared its support for the mine ban and committed to signing the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment. Contact: info(replace with at sign)genevacall.org
Cambodia- On 3 December the Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) visited embassies in Phnom Penh and circulated a letter urging all states to join and fully implement the Mine Ban Treaty. Campaigners in Cambodia also worked with civil society organizations in Singapore to support their efforts to raise public awareness of the landmines issue. Contact: jrscam(replace with at sign)forum.org.kh
Canada- Mines Action Canada (MAC) released its ?Banner? newsletter on 29 November. On 3 December an opinion piece about victim assistance and in commemoration of the Mine Ban Treaty anniversary and International Day of Disabled persons was circulated to national and regional newspapers. MAC?s Annual General Meeting was held 30 January. Contact: nancy(replace with at sign)minesactioncanada.org
Chile- From 21-23 October, the Instituto de Ecolog?a Pol?tica (IEP) participated in a delegation to the mined areas of Punta Arenas and Port Williams, organized by the National Demining Commission and the Chilean Navy. The objective of the field visit was to examine how humanitarian mine clearance will be conducted in these areas. Representatives from the National Demining Commission, Chilean Ministries of Interior and Health, the Chilean Navy and Army and the Government of the United States participated in the trip. Contact: comunicaciones(replace with at sign)iepe.org
Colombia- Representatives from the Campa?a Colombiana contra Minas (CCCM) participated in a stockpile destruction event (content in Spanish) held 31 October outside Bogota.
The Organization of American States, James Madison University, the United States Department of State and the Government of Colombia organized a ?Regional Seminar on Victim Assistance? from 12-14 November in Bogota. CCCM members participated in this event and gave a presentation about national and inter-sectoral coordination of victim assistance programs. Contact: cccminas(replace with at sign)cccminas.org.co
Landmine Monitor researchers from 16 countries met in Bogota, Colombia from 26-30 January for the ICBL and LM Americas Regional Meeting. The Colombian Government and military organized a briefing on Colombia?s landmine situation and campaigners met with members of international organizations to learn more about mine action efforts in Colombia. On 28 January, the ICBL hosted a roundtable event for national and international NGOs, international organizations, the diplomatic community, Colombian government and the media, focused on regional preparations for the Nairobi Summit. Researchers participated in a field visit to the mine-affected community of Zaragoza, Antioquia, organized by the Campa?a Colombiana contra Minas (CCCM) and UNICEF. Researchers also participated in events hosted by CIREC and CCCM to learn more about the landmine situation in Colombia. Contact: lm(replace with at sign)icbl.org
Cyprus- The ICBL, Acting-President of the Republic of Cyprus, House Speaker Demetris Christofias and Austrian Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, participated in a ceremony held 2 December in Nicosia to launch the Road to Nairobi, a year-long series of activities leading up to the 2004 Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World. The ceremony was held at the Xintous Military Testing Range and after presentations were made the Republic of Cyprus symbolically destroyed its first batch of antipersonnel mines. Government and international organizations also participated in the launch event and stockpile destruction. The next day the Republic of Cyprus hosted the ?Seminar on the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction and its implementation by the Republic of Cyprus.? The seminar examined the Republic of Cyprus? plans for stockpile destruction, clearance of mined areas and concluded with an overview of the Road to Nairobi. Contact: banemnow(replace with at sign)icbl.org
El Salvador- Four youth from the United States traveled to El Salvador on a Youth Mission to get a firsthand look at Landmine Survivors Network?s (LSN) work in the field. The group met with local landmine survivors to more fully understand the issues survivors face and helped develop outreach plans for next year?s national mine action fundraising campaign. Contact: info(replace with at sign)landminesurvivors.org
France- Handicap International held its 9th annual Shoe Pyramid against mines in 30 cities throughout France on 4 October. Contact: contact(replace with at sign)handicap-international.org
Greece- Ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 25 September.
India- The Indian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Indian CBL) spoke about the Landmine Monitor 2003 report findings at an Indian Red Cross meeting in Jaipur on 7 October. Also in October the armed group National Socialist Council of Nagaland signed the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment. The Indian CBL celebrated the anniversary of the ICBL receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on 6 December by holding an event in Nagpur with the Indian government and armed forces, politicians, media and members of the public. In addition, the campaign organized mine risk education and Mine Ban Treaty awareness raising workshops in Ganganagar (Rajasthan) on 19 December, Abohar (Punjab) on 26 December, Jaislmer (Rajasthan) on 28 December and Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) on 21 December. The Indian CBL participated in the World Social Forum in Mumbai January X. Contact: iipdep_ngp(replace with at sign)sancharnet.in
Italy- ICBL Ambassador Jody Williams participated in the Gorbachev Foundation Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, held in December in Rome. The Italian CBL also organized media interviews, a hearing with the Human Rights Committee of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Parliament, and a presentation at a University department of peacekeeping.
The Campagna Italiana Contro le Mine (ONLUS) lobbied Italian members of parliament, circulated an appeal signed by humanitarian, development and human rights NGOs and issued a press statement regarding the Italian Humanitarian Demining Fund?s financial crisis. The Fund?s financing was slate to be cut in 2004. Despite ONLUS? lobby efforts the government only approved a budget of 2,582,000 Euros per year for the next three years for the Fund. This amount is half the allotment from 2001-2003. Contact: coordinamento(replace with at sign)campagnamine.org
Iran- In December the Landmine Monitor researcher for Iran visited the country and had the opportunity to meet the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ms. Shirin Ebadi. Ms. Ebadi indicated her great interest in the issue of landmines and intention to work with the ICBL and other partners on behalf of victims of landmines in Iran. She is currently creating a new nongovernmental organization "Mine Clearing Collaboration Campaign". She hopes to convene an international conference on landmines in Iran next year.
Iraq- Several mine action organizations, as well as the UN, have left the country due to the security situation but continue to monitor and prepare to return once the situation allows.
Jordan- From 20-21 October the Jordanian National Disability Council and Landmine Survivors Network-Jordan (LSN-J), hosted a roundtable expert dialogue and regional consultation on issues related to the drafting of a new UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The conference followed an advocacy-training workshop attended by regional leaders from 18-19 October. Participants discussed core principles that should provide the basis for the Convention, monitoring and implementation of the Convention, articulation of both human rights and development dimensions, and an ongoing regional dialogue. The LSN-J director has been selected to work with 27 countries and 11 other international NGOs to prepare and present a draft Convention text to the next UN Ad Hoc Meeting in June 2004.
Kyrgyzstan- The ICBL and Landmine Monitor Regional Meeting for the Commonwealth of Independent States was held from 3-6 November in Bishkek. ICBL representatives met with Kyrgyz government officials including the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss Kyrgyzstan?s position on the eradication of antipersonnel mines. Participants received a briefing by the Kyrgyz Red Cross about the landmine problem in Kyrgyzstan?s Batken region. On 5 November campaigners attended a workshop entitled ?Landmines in Central Asia and CIS Countries: Defining the Problem and Identifying Solutions? at the United Nations office organized by the host, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War/ Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 6 November the ICBL participants attended a full day of internal ICBL/LM discussions on their research for Landmine Monitor Report 2004 and their advocacy activities in the lead-up to the Nairobi Summit. Seven researchers participated in the Bishkek meeting from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine, and new civil society contacts interested in participating more in the ICBL attended from Chechnya, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Lebanon- In November, Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), with the support of the National Committee for Victim Assistance, the President of Lebanon and the Vision Association for Development, Care and Rehabilitation, organized a six-day camp for 50 young Arab landmine survivors from Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Sudan. They met in West Bakaa, where they called on the nations of the world to sign the Mine Ban Treaty.
Mexico- The Special Conference on Security, organized by the Organization for American States (OAS) Committee on Hemispheric Security, was held in Mexico City from 27-28 October. Article 20 of the final declaration reaffirms the hemispheric goal of creating a landmine-free Americas and supported universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.? Contact: charlie(replace with at sign)minesactioncanada.org
Nepal- The Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL) organized a national seminar on landmines and disability, held 3 December in Kathmandu. The NCBL released a national report entitled ?Landmines Problem in Nepal Study Report 2003? at this event. More than 100 people including the Nepalese police, journalists, representatives of human rights and peace organizations, landmine survivors and a member of the Nepalese National Human Rights Commission participated in the event. The event was covered widely by the media. After the completion of the program, Dr Chakra Raj Pandey, an orthopedic surgeon, provided free treatment to mine victim Ganga Prasad Paudel. Contact: wodes(replace with at sign)wlink.com.np
New Zealand- New Zealand Campaign Against Landmines (CALM) member Brian Hayes and his wife Leang took part in the River Kwai half marathon in September to raise funds for Thai mine survivors. CALM launched the 2003 Landmine Monitor report on 17 October in Wellington. Speakers included the Thai Ambassador in New Zealand and the New Zealand Minister for Disarmament. Read more Contact: jhead(replace with at sign)i4free.co.nz or calmdeborah(replace with at sign)yahoo.com
On 6 November, English-To-Go encouraged English teachers to plan a lesson themed around landmines. A portion of English-To-Go?s November subscriptions were donated to Adopt a Minefield. Visit: www.english-to-go.com/wll/index.htm
Nigeria- The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was held from 5-8 December in Abuja, Nigeria. Item 29 of the final communiqu? is related to landmines.
Poland- The Polish Red Cross held a book launch for ?IHL of armed conflicts: selection of documents? on 4 November in Warsaw. The book includes a Polish translation of the Mine Ban Treaty. The Canadian Ambassador spoke at the launch about the Mine Ban Treaty and the possibility of Poland?s ratification. Over 200 people participated in the event include government and military officials, academics, students and the media. Contact: poland(replace with at sign)icbl.org
Senegal- The ICBL contact for Senegal organized a press conference in celebration of the 3 December treaty anniversary with Handicap International Senegal and the President of Amnesty International Senegal. The findings of the 2003 Landmine Monitor report were released at the event. Human rights organizations active in Zinquinchor, the president of the Senegalese mine victims? association and representatives of the Senegalese army and MFDC also participated in the press conference. Contact: boubine(replace with at sign)refer.sn
Sri Lanka- Landmine Action UK (LAUK) participated in the Joint All-Party Parliamentary Landmine Eradication Group and All-Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka meeting on land