Landmine Update #8, September 2002
The Landmine Update is the International Campaign to Ban Landmines? quarterly newsletter. This edition is followed by a calendar of upcoming events. To date, 143 countries have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and 125 have ratified it. The most recent accession is Democratic Republic of Congo (2 May) while recent ratifications include Angola (5 July) and Suriname (23 May).
The Intersessional Work Programme, the essential mechanism to mark, measure and stimulate progress made in the consolidation and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, continued to strengthen its work throughout the period, particularly during the second session of the 2001-2002 programme, held 27-31 May in Geneva. Participation in the Intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May, as in January, reached record levels, with between 439 ? 452 persons in attendance representing more than 100 countries (73 States Parties and approximately 30 States not Parties), dozens of non-governmental organization (NGO) members of ICBL, Landmine Monitor (LM) Researchers, academic institutions and International, UN and Regional Organizations. More than 70 ICBL campaigners attended the May Standing Committee meetings (see Intersessional Work Programme below). Contact: email@example.com or see http://www.icbl.org/sc
In addition, seven landmine survivor advocates from Africa participated in Landmine Survivors Network?s ?Raising the Voices? program (see Raising the Voices). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Much of this period has included preparations worldwide for the Fourth Meeting of States Parties (4MSP) in Geneva, Switzerland 16-20 September. The 4MSP, is significant because it provides the opportunity for States Parties to assess progress and to report on plans to ensure full universalization and effective implementation of the treaty. Now it is all the more important to ensure that significant progress is made between each annual Meeting of States Parties prior to the 2004 Review Conference and beyond . The ICBL has coordinated its participation, which will include over 125 delegates from around the world, plus exhibits, briefings and media events. Campaigns have contacted their governments regarding their participation and urged concrete progress before and during the meeting.
In addition, ICBL will present
September including Adelaide, Bangkok, Brussels, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Phnom Penh, Rome, Stockholm, Warsaw and Yaound?. Contact email@example.com and to view the report, visit http://www.icbl.org/lm/2002/
Other landmine-related events were also held worldwide, 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 ? The first international meeting on landmines in Afghanistan, "Building a Peaceful Future for Afghanistan: A Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines" was held in Kabul on 28-31 July 2002. The Government of Afghanistan hosted the conference, which was organized in co-operation with the Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines (ACBL), the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), and the United Nations' Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (MACA).
Approximately 200 people attended the opening ceremony of the conference, at which Foreign Minister Abdullah declared the Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan?s firm commitment to joining the Mine Ban Treaty. ?As soon as [the treaty] is signed, every Afghan man, woman and child will rest assured that none in this country will ever again be targeted by antipersonnel landmines...Today, at the opening of this international conference on the ban of antipersonnel mines, we give hope to millions in Afghanistan and around the world by moving this country one step forward as a credible and viable member of the international community and declare our clear intent.? President Karzai who also spoke at the opening praised the work of mine action organizations and reiterated his government?s intention to join the treaty. Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, ICBL Ambassador welcomed the announcement, noting ?It is a tribute to the new leadership of this country...Now is the time for change...We have no illusion that change will come quickly or easily...We will be with you until the battle is over.? UN Special Representative for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi, UN special representative on children and armed conflict Olara Otonnu, Fazel Karim Fazel of the Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines, landmine survivor Rohafza all warmly congratulated the government for its ?courageous and visionary? move. After the opening ceremony, the Foreign Ministry hosted a lunch for all of the participants, followed by site visits to the Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines (ACBL) and Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR) museum, the ICRC prosthetics Centre and the Mine Detection Dog Centre.
Two days later, 30 July, Foreign Minister Abdullah joined the conference for a brief signing ceremony announcing the Council of Ministers meeting at which the Cabinet unanimously approved commitment to the Mine Ban Treaty. ?I, Dr. Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, declare that the Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan, having considered the [Convention] signed the instrument of accession today, 30 July 2002.? He was then warmly congratulated by representatives from the UN, ICBL and ACBL. Later that day President Karzai received Jody Williams, Rohafza and Shohab Hakimi from the ACBL. Canada and the European Commission provided financial support for the conference and MACA provided most of the logistical support, with assistance from ACBL, numerous organizations in Kabul, and ICBL. It is hoped that Afghanistan will deposit its instrument of accession at the UN in the coming period, thus becoming an official states party to the treaty. The government's commitment to banning landmines sends a strong message to neighbouring countries and others amongst the 50 states outside the convention. The Final Declaration, other articles, links and media coverage on the conference can be found at http://www.icbl.org/news/2002/202.php Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Angola - Ratified 5 July 2002. Two landmine survivors participated in the Raising the Voices program at the Standing Committee Meetings in May and the 4MSP in September. The SADC Mine Action Committee (SMAC) held its First Conference of Demining and Mine Action Operators in Luanda from 26 - 28 June 2002 under the chairpersonship of Angola. The meeting was attended by representatives from Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the SADC Secretariat. The meeting was officially opened by the Honourable Joao Batista Kussumua, Minister for Social Reinsertion of the Republic of Angola on behalf of His Excellency Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola. A Final Communique was issued and ?The Committee and the participants agreed to establish a Task Force to work with the Secretariat to examine the feasibility of establishing a Regional Technical Group and a Self-Regulating Organization on the issues of Mine Action.? For further information contact: J. Ndlovu, Special Projects, SADC Secretariat at JMNdlovu@sadc.int
Argentina ? The Joint Chiefs of Staff's Office of Humanitarian Demining held a seminar on humanitarian demining from 1 ? 5 July 2002 at CAECOPAZ in Campo de Mayo. A representative addressed the conference.
Australia ? Representatives of the ICBL Australian Network participated in the Southeast Asian Campaigns meeting and the ?Landmines in South East Asia? Conference hosted by the Royal Thai Government 13-15 May (see Thailand). On 1 July the ACT Branch of the ICBL Australian Network held a public awareness event in the Canberra City center, marking the third anniversary of Australia?s entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty. The Hon Graham Edwards MP, who launched the event, praised the significant role of non-governmental organizations in their efforts against antipersonnel mines. Member organizations AUSTCARE, World Vision Australia, Caritas, Medical Association for the Prevention of War participated in the event, together with the ACT Branch coordinator and representatives from AusAid. In August Patricia Pak Poy, coordinator of the Network, visited Laos as part of their effort to raise the issues of mines, UXO and the treaty via the Southeast Asian Programme. The Australian Network held an Australian launch of the Landmine Monitor Report 2002 with Ms. Chris Gallus, Government Special Representative on Mine Action Friday 13 September in Adelaide. John Rodsted, Australian photographer who has contributed much work to ICBL over the years, has been in Afghanistan for two months in July and August and will prepare an ICBL photo exhibit for the 4MSP in Geneva. When he returns to Australia in late September he will participate as a Guest Speaker for an Australian tour. The Australian Network also launched a website in September, which can be found at http://australia.icbl.org/ Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Azerbaijan - Hafiz Safikhanov, coordinator of Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines, traveled to Ganja City, Geranboy and two provinces bordering with Armenia ? Gedabek and Gazakh, to meet with the representatives of regional offices of ACBL. The Azerbaijan CBL continued to disseminate information about landmine incidents, landmine survivors, mine action and the landmine situation in Azerbaijan via its Information Bulletin. Contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Belgium ? Handicap International Belgium (HIB) participated, on behalf of the ICBL, in the workshop on the Ottawa Convention and Action Against Landmines in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, co-hosted by the Governments of the DRC and Canada held 2-3 May. HIB also participated in the intersessional standing committee meetings in Geneva in May. On 26 May a team from HIB participated in ?20 Kilometers of Brussels?, a popular run in the city with thousands of participants. They wore the HIB blue laces, and an HIB T-shirt. One of the participants, Didier Simons ? a former deminer from the Belgian Army who lost a leg during his work ? came in first in the category of the ?handicyclists?. The event provided high visibility for HIB and the landmine issue. The 21st of June HIB held its General Assembly, followed by the annual ?Night of the Blue Laces?. Isabelle Durant, Minister of Transport, addressed the gathering. In August, HIB ran an extensive letter-writing campaign focusing on the ICBL Universalisation Targets and sending messages to Afghanistan, Cameroon, Cyprus, Ethiopia, East Timor, Gambia, Greece, Guyana, Turkey, S?o Tom? e Principe and Yugoslavia. Also in August, two journalists of ?De Morgen? newspaper visited HIB projects in Afghanistan. HIB is planning a release event for the Landmine Monitor Report 2002 at NATO Headquarters in Brussels 13 September. Contact: email@example.com or visit http://www.handicapinternational.be
Brazil ? During this period the Brazil Campaign to Ban Landmines (BCBL) engaged in numerous activities. They participated in the Intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in May, and wrote the Ministry of Defense to request participation and transparency during the stockpile destruction. BCBL also held many activities with youth and students. In April, BCBL members gave a presentation at an elementary school to 60 youth. In June, BCBL members gave presentations to university classes on international public law and sociology of law, at the invitations of various professors. An exhibition (with posters, banners, photos and other material) is being held in the principal hall of Santa Cruz do Sul University (UNISC) from August through September. At Yazigi Internexus, a language school in Santa Cruz do Sul, a week of mine awareness was held August 26-30, including a photograph exhibition, distribution of postcards to be sent to President Bush. BCBL members also visited groups of youth to further raise awareness about the landmines problem. They collected signatures for petitions as part of the Youth Against War campaign to be sent to the leaders of India and Pakistan. BCBL member SERPAJ ? S?o Leopoldo held a party with the landmine theme and distributed information, postcards, and petitions to be sent to India and Pakistan. BCBL member Em Busca da Paz promoted a camping trip with 40 youth, during which they presented the work of the BCBL. In June BCBL sent its own letters and requests to all of its members asking them to send letters to Sao Tome and Principe urging them to complete ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty, in response to the ICBL Action Alert. In July they did the same for Guyana and East Timor. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
See the section at the end on virtual campaign activities for information about the new website launched by Viva Rio, www.desarme.org.
Cambodia ? In May the ICBL Ambassador Tun Channareth and Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) member Denise Coghlan participated in the ?Landmines in Southeast Asia? seminar in Bangkok and the campaign meeting and other events around the seminar (see Thailand). In July, CCBL participated in a provincial survey of disabled, which should provide details regarding the actual number of landmine victims still living in one province. The CCBL participated in the National Workshop ?For an Improved Efficiency of Mine Action, Better Planning and Targeting, Quick Response Capacity, Risk Reduction?, held 14-15 August in Siem Reap. The workshop was jointly organized by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, the Ministry of Land Management, Urbanization and Construction, the Ministry of Interior and the Provincial authority. Participants included various ministries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations involved in mine action and development. Contact: email@example.com
In August CCBL also participated in the review of the World Relief Fund?s criteria for mine victim assistance. Throughout the period CCBL has briefed overseas guests and journalists and filmmakers regarding the landmine situation in Cambodia. They are holding a launch of the Landmine Monitor Report 2002 on September 13. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cameroon ? The Cameroon Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) has been very active in this period, and campaign members met with government officials in Yaound? to ensure that a duplicate of the lost ratification instrument would be issued and deposited with the United Nations office in New York, urging that it be done before the 4MSP. Members also urged the Central African Republic to deposit their instrument of accession before the 4MSP, after promulgation by the Head of State. The CCBCL, via lead NGO International Club for Peace Research, again contributed actively to the Landmine Monitor initiative. ICPR has produced reports on a number of countries including Cameroon, Togo, Cote d?Ivoire, Gabon, CAR and Chad since 1999. Landmine Monitor Report 2002 was launched at the British Council in Yaound? on 13 September. A youth activity including launch of the Youth Against War petition drive, video screening and an exhibition were held to raise awareness on the mines issue. The ICPR has translated and will produce for 2002 a situation report on landmines issue for nineteen Sub-Saharan Francophone African Countries mainly from the western and central Africa Regions. Contact: email@example.com
Canada ? MAC participated in the intersessional standing committee meetings in Geneva in May. In June MAC participated, on behalf of the ICBL, in the Calgary Group of 6 billion global citizens (GB6), the alternative NGO forum which took place just prior to the leader's G8 summit in Kananaskis 26-27 June. In July the 5th year of the Youth Mine Action Ambassadors Program (YMAAP) was launched and new youth ambassadors traveled to mine-affected countries Bosnia and Croatia. MAC also attended the CCW in July and conducted advocacy on explosive remnants of war. . MAC has prepared the Canadian launch of the
Chile ? Chilean Campaign Against Landmines member Instituto de Ecolog?a Pol?tica (IEP) met with the new Minister of Defense 2 May and urged him to include civil society in demining programs. From 13-14 May Campaign members participated in a workshop on Human Security in preparation for the Ministerial meeting. 2-3 July Manuel Baquedano of IEP addressed the IV Ministerial Meeting of the Human Security Network in Santiago. See http://www.iepe.org/econoticias or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Landmine Monitor Chile researchers and campaigners participated in astockpile destruction event in Pampa Chaca on 27 August. The Chilean Defense Ministry hosted the ceremonial destruction of 76,388 stockpiled mines, the entire stockpile from Region I (except for a certain quantity kept for demining training purposes). The destruction took place at the Pampa Chaca military training area, in the middle of the Atacama Desert. The Army had set up a series of stands demonstrating demining equipment and techniques, and photos of mine victims and a mannequin of a soldier that had stepped on a mine. The stockpiles were destroyed in seven explosions, the first detonated by President Ricardo Lagos and the second by Defense Minister Michele Bachelet. After the destruction there was a cocktail party and luncheon. The researchers suggested that Landmine Monitor researchers and the Education Ministry be considered for inclusion in the National Demining Commission. In addition to President Ricardo Lagos, Minister Bachelet and the Landmine Monitor Chile researchers, other participants included Minister of Foreign Affairs Soledad Alvear, Army Commander-in-Chief Emilio Cheyre, about 40 government and public personalities, including ambassadors, politicians, representatives of the UN, OAS and the International Red Cross, Defense Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry and Health Ministry officials, high ranking members of all branches of the armed forces and 35 or so journalists, including foreign correspondents. Shortly after the event, the Landmine Monitor researchers were invited on two radio programs. Contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Democratic Republic of Congo ? Acceded to the treaty on 2 May. On 2-3 May 2002, the DRC government, in cooperation with the government of Canada, hosted an international workshop on ?The Ottawa Convention and Mine Action in the Democratic Republic of Congo? in Kinshasa. Participants included representatives from the DRC Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense and seven other ministries; the armed opposition Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD-Goma); diplomats from eight foreign countries; MONUC, UNMAS, UNHCR, the ICRC, GICHD, three DRC NGOs, the ICBL, and other international NGOs. At the workshop, the DRC restated its firm commitment to implement the Mine Ban Treaty. A representative of the rebel group RCD also stated its adherence to the principles of the MBT. For information contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Denmark ? Roskilde Festival, one of the biggest summer music festivals in northern Europe, focused on the fight against landmines for Roskilde 02. Mine dogs and mine victim football at the Festival helped bring home the theme as did the use of a real minesweeper (later sent to Afghanistan) as the official meeting point of the festival. The association Denmark Against Land Mines organized the project and brought attention to the huge mine problem existing in many countries. During the festival, One Step gathered a large collection of footprints from the festival audience and from the performing bands. These footprints with autographs will be sold on auction later this year. Among the celebrities taking off their shoes to give their footprint were Manu Chao, Primal Scream, Sort Sol and Savage Rose. The money collected from selling these footprints and the money gathered during the festival will be donated to a specific mine project in Lebanon. In connection with One Step, Denmark Against Land Mines has also released a CD. For further information: http://www.landminer.dk or http://www.roskilde-festival.dk/
Eritrea ? A landmine survivor participated in the Raising the Voices program at the Standing Committee Meetings in May and the 4MSP in September. Contact: email@example.com
The Eritrean Government issued a proclamation ordering all international NGOs involved in demining activities in Eritrea to cease their work and hand over all of their assets and personnel to the Eritrean Demining Authority before 30 August. A UN delegation headed by Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Eritrea Simon Nhongo, and Chief of the UN Mine Action Service Martin Barber - had met President Isayas Afewerki to seek an extension to the deadline, following a joint appeal by the UN Secretariat, UNICEF and UNDP for the deadline to be extended to enable an appropriate transition, yet the Eritrean government reaffirmed its decision. Danish Demining Group (DDG), DanChurch Aid (DCA) and Mine Awareness Trust have left or will be leaving Eritrea shortly, while Halo Trust and Ronco have negotiated separate agreements with the Eritrean Government to maintain operations in-country.
Ethiopia ? A landmine survivor participated in the Raising the Voices program at the Standing Committee Meetings in May and the 4MSP in September. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
France ? Handicap International (HI) participated in the Intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in May. HI, in the name of 650 scientists from around the world who have signed the Call for a Mine-Free Earth, sent letters to all non-signatories of the Mine Ban Treaty. A press release was sent to French media to announce this initiative.Preparations have begun for a press conference to launch the Landmine Monitor report 13 September and for the 8th Shoe Pyramid on the 6th of October, to be held in 26 cities throughout France and Luxembourg. The theme for this year?s event is: 20 years of mine action, don't give up! Contact: email@example.com or http://www.handicap-international.org
Germany ? German Initiative to Ban Landmines (GIBL) participated in the Intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva in May. The recent GIBL advertising campaign, which featured well-known Germans posing as mine victims, was supported by a wide range of newspapers from May - September 2002. The GIBL also produced radio spots with famous supporters broadcast daily by the major radio station in June and July 2002. Since the re-launch, the GIBL and its member organisations have collected more than 25,000 signatures calling for a total ban on all landmines. NGOs involved in the signature-collection are Brot fur die Welt, EIRENE, Jesuiten Fluchtlingsdienst, Handicap International, Kindernothilfe, Medico International, Misereor, Oxfam, Solidaritatsdienst-international, Terre des Hommes.
On 14 May 2002 the GIBL member organisation EIRENE hung a poster pointing out humanitarian concerns about antivehicle mines at a busy traffic junction in Neuwied. That poster later hung in the city center of Munich after an action day of Handicap International from 12 June- 05 September 2002; it will hang in Hamburg city center from 08 September 2002. On 17 May the GIBL sent a public letter to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer calling for a total ban on all landmines at the G8 summit in Canada on 26/27 June. From 11-15 June GIBL members organized nation-wide action days for a ban on all mines. In Frankfurt am Main and Stuttgart Medico International and Brot fur die Welt invited an Afghan mine clearance team to demonstrate the work of mine clearance. In Munich, Nuremberg, Tubingen, and Augsburg Handicap International organised a demonstration and events with its exihibition bus for a ban on all landmines. Within this context they sent open letters to the mine-producing companies Daimler-Chrysler and Diehl. These events were all widely reported in the media. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.landmine.de
India- The Indian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Indian CBL) held a public education and awareness seminar September 1, 2002 in Hyderabad, the state capital of Andhra Pradesh on the "Proliferation of Small Arms & Landmines in South Asia and its effects on South India". The Indian CBL has sent information regarding civilian mine victims due to renewed and extensive planting of landmines along the India-Pakistan border since December 2001. The Indian CBL also organized a launch of the Landmine Monitor Report 2002. Contact: email@example.com
The Indian CBL has also organized regional youth seminars to raise awareness of the landm