Landmine Update #9, December 2002
The Landmine Update is the International Campaign to Ban Landmines? quarterly newsletter. To date, 130 countries have ratified the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and an additional 16 have signed it. The most recent accessions are Afghanistan (11 September), Comoros (19 September) and Central African Republic (8 November), while recent ratifications include Cameroon (19 September) and Gambia (23 September).
The Fourth Meeting of States Parties (4MSP) to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and On Their Destruction, was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 16-20 September. The 4MSP was the most widely attended Meeting of States Parties to date, with participation by 131 countries. This included the most States Parties (94) and non-States Parties (37) yet. The non-States Parties attending included 11 signatories and 26 non-signatories. The ICBL participated as an official observer delegation, as did the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), United Nations agencies, the European Commission, and the Organization of American States. In total, more than 700 individuals attended the 4MSP. The level of participation and the clear acceptance even by many non-States Parties of the desirability of and need for a comprehensive global ban were strong indicators of the growing international norm against antipersonnel mines. In November, the ICBL published its report on the Fourth Meeting of States Parties. For more information please visit: http://www.icbl.org/4msp or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Landmine Monitor and ICBL Regional meetings for the new cycle for preparation of the fifth Landmine Monitor report began in October, and were held in Baku, Azerbaijan and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. See Azerbaijan and Ethiopia. Additional regional meetings for Europe and MENA will be held in February 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland during the Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings (also see Landmine Monitor). For more information please contact: email@example.com or visit http://www.icbl.org/lm/research
3 December marked the fifth anniversary of the opening for signature of the Mine Ban Treaty. The ICBL issued a press release on this historic date ( http://www.icbl.org/news/2002/263.php), hailing successes achieved to date and calling on states and armed rebel groups to embrace the emerging international norm that rejects mine use. Events were held worldwide and included a series of events in Ottawa, Canada, the city that hosted the 1997 Ottawa Conference where the Treaty was opened for signature. See Canada. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other landmine-related events were also held worldwide and this update is a summary of some of them. Below are reports on activities country-by-country, followed by a section on international and virtual activities.
Afghanistan - Acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 11 September. For more information please contact: email@example.com
Angola - Seven people were killed and six injured on 29 November when a Medecins san Frontiers (MSF) vehicle drove over an anti-tank mine, near the city of Mavinga. For more information see: http://www.msf.org/countries/page.cfm?articleid=20AC7B4D-CBEA-44BE-B72F5AD83640990C
Australia - Photographer John Rodsted organized an eleven-day speaking tour through Canberra and Tasmania in October. The tour included public meetings, school visits and meetings with NGOs, where Rodsted spoke about he impact of landmines and unexploded ordnance in Afghanistan and his recent work there. The ICBL - Australia Network held its Annual General Meeting and National Meetings in November in Adelaide. In December, ?Life After Injury,? a rehabilitation manual for mine survivors and their families written by Liz Hobbs, Sue McDonough & Ann O'Callaghan, was released in Adelaide. In November, ?Songlines Against Landmines,? a backyard concert organized by the Canberra Band ?The View From Here,? raised funds to purchase a metal detector. Also in November, the proprietors of the "Tin Cat Cafe" in suburban Kent Town in Adelaide, with the support of their clients, local business people and Network supporters, arranged a special function to benefit the Campaign. With the help of a well-run and highly successful charity auction and some very generous donors, $5110 was raised for the Campaign. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The film ?Bombies? was shown on 5 October in Hobart, Tasmania as part of a fundraiser for the Mines Victims and Clearance (MIVAC) Trust. The event included an introduction by Tony Foster, Mayor of the City of Brighton and was followed by a panel discussion on MIVAC?s work. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ?Keeping the Peace: Stories of Australian Peacekeepers,? a traveling art exhibition, opened 27 October in Port Pirrie. The exhibition examines Australia?s participation in global peacekeeping over the last 54 years. Contact: email@example.com The ICBL Australian Network held an event during Austcare?s Refugee Week from 5-13 October.
Armenia - ?Banning antipersonnel landmines: Cooperation and Capacity Building,? a conference organized by the governments of Armenia and Canada and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), was held from 1-2 October in Yerevan. The conference explored the landmine situation in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and the practical implications of accession to the Mine Ban Treaty. Participating governments included Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Canada, Cyprus, France and Russia. Representatives from the permanent missions of the European Community, Britain, Germany and Italy attended the opening ceremony. Representatives from the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF), UNMAS, GICHD, ICRC, VVAF and Halo Trust also attended the conference. ICBL campaigners and researchers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia and Abkhazia participated in the event and called on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. They issued a joint press statement at the opening of the conference ( http://www.icbl.org/news/2002/232.php). For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Azerbaijan - On 24 September, Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines (AzCBL) coordinator Hafiz Safikhanov conducted a press conference regarding his participation in the 4MSP. On 8 October held a press conference to discuss the results of ?Banning Antipersonnel Landmines: Cooperation and Capacity Building,? a conference held 1-2 October in Yerevan, Armenia. Journalists were provided with detailed information about the seminar and the absence of the Government of Azerbaijan at the seminar was highlighted. The AzCBL held a meeting with the Director of the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) on 15 October to discuss the upcoming Landmine Monitor Meeting, 4MSP and Yerevan conference. On 18 November the AzCBL met with Tahir Kerimli, chairperson of the ?Vahdet? party, the only party in the Southern Caucasian region which has made a statement regarding joining the Mine Ban Treaty. Mr. Kerimli said his party would raise this issue with the Azerbaijan government as soon as possible and will also address the landmines issue at a meeting of the ?Union of Azerbaijan Forces.? For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
ICBL members from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region of the former Soviet Union met in Baku from 7-9 November 2002 to discuss their research for Landmine Monitor Report 2003. Seven researchers participated in the Baku meeting for the following countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine. The Abkhazia, Armenia and Chechnya researchers did not attend. Events included a field visit to Horadiz in Fizuli region, where the ICBL met with the Chief Administrator of Fizuli region, Nabi Mukhrarov, to discuss the socio-economic impact of the weapon on local communities. The regional ANAMA office hosted the ICBL field visit. The group met with the regional director, Tariel Gakhramanov, and Shahin Ibrahimov, director of the non-governmental demining organization Relief Azerbaijan. The participants visited a Relief Azerbaijan/ANAMA mine clearance operation on a hillside by a village being rebuilt for returning IDPs. The group also met with the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Araz Azimov. They urged Azerbaijan to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and also outlined steps the country could take to show its support for the antipersonnel mine ban. The Landmine Monitor/ICBL meeting took place on Saturday 9 November. The participants agreed to accept the generous invitation made by IPPNW- Kyrgyzstan to meet next in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in early November 2003. For more information please contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. See also http://www.icbl.org/lm/research
Belarus ? On the eve of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) meeting in mid-October, an appeal sent by the Belarus CBL urging EAPC to assist Belarus in stockpile destruction. The ICBL also sent an open letter in support of the Belarus CBL appeal. Contact: email@example.com
Belgium - From 30 September- 2 October Handicap International - Belgium (HI-B) participated in ?Ending the Tragedy of Landmines Through Innovation and Cooperation,? a Rotary International conference held in Seattle, Washington, USA. See United States. On 16 October, HI-B and Landmine Monitor briefed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) on the landmine situation in all EAPC countries and how the EAPC can contribute to achieving the goals of the Mine Ban Treaty. The briefing was held at NATO headquarters in Brussels and was chaired by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. All 46 EAPC members attended and observers included military officials, members of country delegations and NATO personnel. Landmine Monitor presented the 2002 Landmine Monitor Report and David Collins, Director of Defence Planning and Operations at NATO delivered a speech summarizing NATO-PfP mine action activities. Twenty-one states issued official statements after the presentations. For more information please visit http://www.icbl.org/news/2002/238.php
The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the ?Brussels Seminar on Article 7 in Central Africa,? held 12-13 November at the Palais d?Egmont. The seminar aimed to raise awareness among African countries of the importance of the Mine Ban Treaty and Article 7 reporting. Ambassador Lint of Belgium chaired the event and Louis Michel, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-Prime Minister, addressed the opening session. Participants included representatives from Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Several donor countries also attended the seminar, as well as the European Commission, ICRC, UNMAS, and the ICBL. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To celebrate the International Day of the Disabled Person on 3 December, HI-B held internal workshops on disability. For more information please contact: email@example.com.
Brazil - To celebrate Brazilian Independence Day on 7 September, SERPAJ youth members collected Youth Against War Treaty signatures in Porto Alegre. From 6-16 October Youth Against War Treaty signatures were collected at the Universidade de Santa Cruz do Sul. The Brazilian Campaign to Ban Landmines held a series of meeting to plan actions for the World Social Forum, being held January 2003 in Porto Alegre. The Brazilian campaign participated in a CARITAS meeting of Lusophone countries, held in November in Salvador, Bahia. In addition, two Brazilian campaign members participated in ?Transformaciones,? an ICBL youth seminar held in November in Santiago, Chile. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cambodia - The 8th ASEAN Summit and ASEAN- India Summit were held 4-5 November in Phnom Penh. The Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) distributed a leaflet to all ASEAN Summit participants and placed an ad in Cambodia Daily?s supplement for the Summit. The CCBL issued a press statement calling on all ASEAN countries to become States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty before the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in Bangkok in September 2003. For more information please visit: http://www.aseansec.org and contact: email@example.com Youth Against War materials were distributed at the inaugural chapter of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, held in November in Phnom Penh. From 26 November- 8 December. In December, ICBL Youth Ambassador Song Kosal, ICBL Ambassador Tun Channareth and CCBL member Sok Eng joined representatives from other national campaigns in the ?Youth Against War? speaking tour across Canada and participated in the symposium ?Without Reservation? (see Canada). For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cameroon - Ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 19 September. The Cameroon CBL was very active in lobbying the government of Cameroon for the instrument of ratification to be deposited with the UN secretariat. A strategic meeting was held in Yaound? as a follow-up of the 4MSP to identify new priorities for the campaign. For more information, contact: email@example.com The International Club for Peace Research (ICPR) is actively preparing the 2003 reports for Cameroon, Gabon and Central African Republic. A team of researchers will be deployed by mid January in the targeted countries for information and data collection. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Youth Against War (YAW) initiative was lunched by the CCBL on 13 September 2002 at the occasion of the LM 2002 release event hosted by the British Council of Yaound? and sponsored by the ICPR/CCBL with the support of the LM and ICBL. 25 youths from various backgrounds were selected and designated Peace Messengers to collect signatures. The project is ongoing and youth events have been organized in various schools since the start of the new school year. For more information please contact: email@example.com
Canada - Mines Action Canada (MAC) celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty signing in Ottawa with a series of events in Ottawa and throughout the country. From 24-25 November MAC and the Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR) hosted ?Not Mines, But Flowers...? an exhibition featuring Ikebana floral arrangements by Japanese Ikenobo masters and members of the Ottawa Centennial Chapter 120 of Ikebana International; Giovanni Diffidenti?s ?The Perfect Soldier? photography exhibition; original paintings from the Japanese best-selling picture book, ?Not mines, but Flowers;? education displays on the landmine issue and the contributions of Canada and Japan; and, a public workshop with Ikenobo masters on how to create Ikebana arrangements.
From 26 November- 8 December ICBL Youth Ambassador Song Kosal, ICBL Ambassador Tun Channareth and representatives from national campaigns in Cambodia, India, Pakistan and Uganda participated in the ?Youth Against War? speaking tour, traveling across Canada educating the public and media about the landmine situation in India and Pakistan.
Mines Action Canada held its? Annual General Meeting and Members? Meeting on Explosive Remnants of War on 29 November. MAC released its? Annual Report at the meeting. On 29 November in Ottawa, MAC opened John Rodsted?s new photo exhibition on landmines in Afghanistan. The exhibition will travel to cities throughout Canada through February 2003. The Youth Mine Action Ambassador Program and the International House at the University of Ottawa hosted ?Dance Without Fear: An Evening of International Music and Dance,? held 30 November at the University of Ottawa?s University Center. Donations were collected to support mine action projects. In addition, ICBL and MAC representatives met with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on 29 November.
From 30 November- 1 December MAC hosted ?Without Reservation?- an international symposium addressing the challenges of achieving a mine-free world. ICBL campaigners from 23 countries traveled to Ottawa to participate in the seminar. The Government of Canada, ICRC and UNMAS also participated in the seminar. Symposium findings will be presented to the International Standing Committee meetings in February 2003. For more information please see: http://www.minesactioncanada.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
On 29 November, as part of the anniversary events, the Government of Canada unveiled a plaque in honor of the treaty anniversary and announced that they would provide an additional $72 million (Canadian dollars) to the Canadian Landmine Fund. Foreign Minister Bill Graham, Minister for International Cooperation Susan Whelan, Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, former Foreign Minister and leader of the Ottawa process, and Jody Williams participated in the ceremony. The new funding will be distributed over a period of five years, beginning in April 2003, and will support global mine action activities including mine clearance, victim assistance, mine risk education and stockpile destruction, as well as projects to support Mine Ban Treaty universalization and the development of Canadian-made mine action technologies. For further information please visit: http://www.mines.gc.ca or telephone +1.613.995.1851.
Central African Republic - Acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 8 November.
Chile - The Chilean Campaign to Ban Landmines/ Instituta de Ecolog?a Politica (IEP) held a series of events in Santiago surrounding the V Conference of the Ministers of Defense of Americas, held 18-22 November. IEP organized an internal campaign meeting with representatives from the ICBL and Brazilian and Colombian Campaigns to discuss their Humanitarian Demining Seal Project. On 20 November IEP and Instituto de Estudios Estrat?gicos y de Seguridad Internacional (IDEESI) held an International Seminar on Humanitarian Mine Action in the Americas at the Universidad La Rep?blica. The Chilean government, military, journalists, diplomatic community, NGOs and the public were invited to the seminar. Approxmately 50 people participated in the session, chaired by Raul Sohr of IDESSI. The ICBL/ Landmine Monitor presented the major findings of the 2002 Landmine Monitor Report and discussed the landmine situation in the Americas. IEP also organized a meeting with mayors from mine-affected communities in Chile to discuss the issues facing their communities and to form a network of mayors to work together to achieve their common mine action objectives. For more information please contact: email@example.com
The ICBL and IEP participated in the V Conference of the Ministers of Defense of the Americas, the first time the ICBL has been invited to participate in such a meeting. The ICBL distributed a fact sheet about landmines in the Americas to all meeting participants and issued a press release surrounding the event. Representatives from the ICBL and IEP participated in a session on humanitarian mine clearance on 19 November. Point 20 of the ?Santiago Declaration? expresses support for mine action projects in the region and calls on states to fully comply with the Mine Ban Treaty and CCW. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The ICBL held ?Transformaciones: Trabajando con la juventud por un planeta libre de minas/ Working with Youth for a Mine-free World
Colombia - The Colombian Campaign Against Landmines (CCCM) held a national strategy meeting in Bogota from 15-16 November. The CCCM Coordinator participated in IEP events in Santiago, Chile in November and a youth representative also traveled to Santiago to participate in the Transformaciones youth seminar. See Chile. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comoros - Acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 19 September.
Croatia - A regional landmines conference for Southeastern Europe was held from 22-25 October 2002 in Croatia. The last stockpile destruction in Croatia of over 5,000 mines was held in Knin on October 23, marking the completion of Croatia?s obligation under Article 4 of the AP Mine Ban Treaty, more than 4 months ahead of their deadline on 1 March 2003. The event was attended by 18 countries, ICBL, ICRC, GICHD / ISU, UN agencies and NGOs from the region, including landmine survivors. The regional seminar on lessons learned in Humanitarian Mine Action was held on 24-25 October in the historic and beautiful seaside city of Dubrovnik, with over 100 persons attending including many States, both Parties and not Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, ICBL, mine action NGOs, the ICRC, UN agencies, the GICHD/ISU and foundations. The seminar showed that mine action and victim assistance in the region continue to make progress and the momentum is there to complete this important humanitarian work.For more information please contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Czech Republic - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held its annual summit in Prague from 21-22 November. The ICBL wrote to Heads of Government of all NATO members and partners in the lead-up to the meeting, urging them to support a comprehensive ban on landmines. Disarmament and the Rules of Law were included in the final declaration of the Prague Summit, in the context of preventing weapons of mass destruction to be spread, but no reference was specifically made to landmines. For more information please visit: http://www.nato.int/docu/comm/2002/0211-prague/index.htm or contact: email@example.com
Denmark - The Danish Demining Group (DDG) received a large number of antipersonnel mines from military stores in Somaliland, handed over for destruction during a ceremony 14th November. See Somaliland or www.icbl.org/news/2002/260.phpContact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Djibouti - ASSOVIM sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs SEM Ali Abdi Farah. For more information please contact: email@example.com
Ethiopia - From 11-14 December 2002, representatives of the ICBL and its Landmine Monitor research network gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for an Africa-wide meeting to prepare the ICBL?s fifth annual Landmine Monitor Report 2003. 23 participants from 21 African countries met to discuss preparations for the next report. The meeting began on Wednesday 11 December with an opening plenary attended by over two-dozen diplomatic representatives, including representatives of the African Union, as well as members of the Ethiopian mine action community. They reviewed and strategized on the status of the ICBL?s advocacy efforts throughout the African region, by examining universalization, mine use, non-state actors, stockpile destruction, transparency reporting, domestic legislation, mine clearance and survivor assistance issues. On 13 December, the participants took a short flight to Mekelle, capital of the northern Tigray region, and then traveled four hours by bus to the border. At the village of Addis Tesfa, they were greeted by local schoolchildren, including mine survivors, who performed dance, music, and drama using mine risk education messages taught by RaDO. Later in the day, RaDO provided a mine risk education briefing for the participants, many of whom come from mine-affected countries. Further north, the participants drove through the border town of Zala Anbesa, which was destroyed during the 1999-2000 conflict with Eritrea, and visited a mine clearance project conducted by EMAO in the nearby village of Marta.
At the opening of the meeting the ICBL issued a press release calling on African leaders to ensure full and rapid implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. They also held a press conference and invited members of the media on the field trip. For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit http://www.icbl.org/lm/research
France - Handicap International (HI) held the 8th annual Pyramid of Shoes in Paris, Lyon and 24 other cities in France on 5 October. Citizens were asked to throw a shoe in order to protest against the 49 non-signatory countries? refusal to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. Approximately 50,000 people attended the Shoe Pyramid this year and signed the petition for a mine-free world. HI also celebrated its 20th anniversary with events including an internet discussion on landmines from 2-4 October, at http://www2.leprogres.fr/handicap-international. On the 3rd December, the 5th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Convention, HI sent letters to governments and the Executive Summary of the Landmine Monitor in French was sent to all embassies in Paris. Appointments were sought with embassies of targeted non-signatories countries. For more