All over the world members of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) rallied politicians and the public to take part in Lend Your Leg and demanded an end to the scourge of mines, marking the annual International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
Kasia Derlicka, ICBL Director, said: “With this simple action of rolling-up our pant leg we want to remind the world that landmines are still present and devastating lives. We want global decision makers to ta
Children in West Virginia, U.S.A., add their legs to the Lend Your Leg campaign
ke real actions to ban the weapon, to clear all land and to assist all victims. We want a world free of mines and we know this can be achieved within years and not decades.”
In early 2012 the world saw why banning landmines once and for all is so vital to stop them ever being used.
In Syria, eye witnesses confirmed seeing the Syrian Army laying mines along its borders with Lebanon and Turkey, sparking global outrage. This new danger adds to the existing threat in at least 70 other states infested with landmines. In 2010, 4,191 people were killed or maimed by this indiscriminate weapon – the equivalent of 12 people every day.
A young Colombian landmine survivor. In recent years, tens of thousands of new landmine casualties have been recorded globally. Photo: Giovanni Diffidenti
Thanks to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty there has been a sharp decrease in landmine casualties, and use, production and export of the weapon, with tens of millions of stockpiled mines destroyed and huge tracts of land cleared. However, 37 states have yet to renounce antipersonnel landmines and join the treaty.
“Raising awareness and providing assistance for mine action and victims are very important, but not enough to rid the world of these weapons once and for all.” Derlicka said.
“Syria’s mine use last month was a sad and shocking reminder of that fact. The deadly legacy of landmines will remain until all states - including Syria, Myanmar, China, the United States, and others renounce the weapon and come on board the ban,” she added.
This call to join the treaty to “eliminate” landmines was echoed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has been spearheading Lend Your Leg, in his annual statement marking the international day.
On 1 March, the 13th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty becoming law, landmine survivors from all over the world joined the Secretary General to launch Lend Your Leg.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Lends his Leg for a mine free world. (c) UNMAS
Since then activists, United Nations officials, politicians, celebrities, journalists and ordinary people everywhere pledged to “lend their legs” to speak out against this indiscriminate weapon which continues to blight people’s lives.
“It’s inspiring to see how many people around the world are ready to stand alongside many of my fellow survivors and taking part in Lend Your Leg today,” said Firoz Alizada, ICBL Campaign Manager and himself a landmine survivor.
“Lend Your Leg is really about the people, not about the weapon. If we don’t want to see more people killed and hurt by landmines, landmines must not be used again by anyone, anywhere. The solution is all states joining and implementing the Mine Ban Treaty,” he added.
The ICBL’s global members, all dedicated to improving life for communities suffering because of landmines and other explosive remnants of war, joined Ban Ki-moon’s call for all countries to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions, another weapon internationally recognised for the unacceptable humanitarian harm it causes.
The worldwide wave of Lend Your Leg actions started in Wellington, New Zealand and within 24 hours swept across Asia and Europe to the U.S. East Coast and through Central and South America, thousands of people in its wake.
Amongst those Lending Their Legs were leading ministers and heads of state from Albania, Chile, Italy, Denmark, El Salvador and Colombia, best-selling author and concentration camp survivor Stéphane Hessel in Germany, and famous sports stars, musicians and media personalities in Norway, Ethiopia and Macedonia, amongst other countries.
A female demining team in Thailand Lend Their Legs
Lend Your Leg events were held outside parliament buildings from Canada to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the U.K. to Fiji to Bosnia, where only last month two men in their 20s were killed by one of the country’s millions of landmines still lurking in the ground.
In Libya, where tens of thousands of landmines were newly laid last year by forces loyal to Gaddafi, staff from the dozens of mine clearance NGOs working to remove the threat marched with locals through the cities of Tripoli, Misrata, Sirte, Ajdabiya and Sabha Lending Their Legs in solidarity with those suffering from the lethal remnants of last year’s conflict. In Misrata, where the threat from mines and other unexploded ordnance is ever present, there was event to educate people of the risks, thereby reducing them.
Outside the Sydney Opera House and the Brandenberg Gate, on Amsterdam's Dam Square, at Kabul University and on Geneva’s main shopping street the call went out to Lend Your Leg and join people worldwide in this simple, symbolic action.
The Lend Your Leg global day of action was initiated by the Colombian NGO Fundación Arcángeles and its President Juan Pablo Salazar. One of the world’s most mine-affected countries, last year thousands of Colombians, including President Juan Manuel Santos, took part in the first Lend Your Leg action. This year President Santos and the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia joined 4,000 others to run an 11km race around the capital to mark Lend Your Leg.
Lend Your Leg 2012 is officially partnered by the ICBL and the United Nations, with support from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement.
You can download a full report of how the ICBL used the Lend Your Leg global day of action to support our goals around the world.
You can donate to the ICBL and support the campaign's lifesaving global work. Click here to find out more, and see how you can contribute to the worldwide movement to ban landmines for good.
You can also take part in the campaign yourself and get your friends, family and network on board Lend Your Leg! The ICBL has prepared an action alert to help you build momentum and encourage as many people as possible in your country to take part in this inspirational global action.
You can download it here in English, French or Spanish
But first, here are some key commuincations tools to help you maximise the impact of your campaign activities.
Campaign Tools to download:
- Use the Lend your Leg logo on your social media sites, on posters advertising the action, in leaflets or banners, on your website and in press releases - wherever you talk about the campaign use it!
Lend Your Leg logo high resolution (1.27MB for printed documents)
Lend Your Leg logo medium resolution (615KB - for large web pictures)
Lend Your Leg logo low resolution (592KB - for most websites / social media)
- Use this Lend Your Leg email signature to brand your emails in the run up to the 4 April global day of action.
- ICBL 20th anniversary logo - don't forget this year is also the ICBL's 20th year of campaiging! Please use this logo, rather than the usual ICBL logo, on your Lend Your Leg campaign materials. Please read these important guidelines on how to use the logo correctly. For more information on the ICBL's 20th anniversary or to download the logos and guidelines in a different format click here
- Press release guidelines These explain how a press release should be laid out and what vital information it should contain.
- Press release template This is an example of a press release that follows the above guidelines and leaves room for your to insert your key national messages.
- The ICBL - CMC Media Guide - gives good tips on how and when to contact journalists and how to pitch your stories. Available in English, French and Spanish.
- Key messages in English and in French on the ICBL and Lend Your Leg, and on the 20th anniversary, and useful global facts and stats to use in your media outreach work. Use these to link your national campaiging to the bigger global picture.
- A social media guide on how to make the best use of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube during the course of your campaign work.
- 2012 ICBL Campaign Action Plan: Already available here
- Lend your Leg campaign website: www.lendyourleg.org
- Landmine Monitor
Get in touch if you have any questions or need support and let us know how you will be making sure people in your country Lending Their Legs for a mine free world!
For more information and to get involved contact Firoz Ali Alizada at: email@example.com. I fyou have specific questions or need advice about media in your country please contact Kate Wiggans at firstname.lastname@example.org.