Central America Now a Zone Free of Cluster Munitions

Strong Condemnations of Ongoing Cluster Munition Use in Syria and Ukraine

(San Jose, Costa Rica) September 5, 2014 — Central America this week became the first region to become free of cluster munitions with Belize’s accession to the international treaty banning cluster munitions, said the Cluster Munition Coalition at the close of the treaty’s meeting. In addition, the Republic of Congo announced ratification of the treaty at the meeting, bringing up to 114 the number of states that have joined the Convention.

“Central America’s unanimous support for the ban on cluster munitions should embolden other nations to cooperate in eradicating these insidious weapons that cause unacceptable harm,” said Jesús Martinez, El Salvador Cluster Munition Coalition member. “We do not want to see any more victims from cluster munitions and urge no use of these weapons anywhere, anytime by anyone.”

The announcement was made at the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which ended today in San José Costa Rica. Costa Rica hosted the meeting – the first ever of its kind to be held in Latin America, taking over the convention presidency from Zambia.

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Special Event: The United States and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty

(Washington, D.C.) February 10, 2014 — On Wednesday, February 19, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit, with the support of the European Union, are holding an event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., on the United States and the Mine Ban Treaty. Confirmed speakers include Nobel Peace Laureate Ms. Jody Williams and Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan, Special Envoy for the Mine Ban Convention.

The event will be livestreamed and livetweeted.

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The event is hosted by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit and Human Rights Watch on behalf of the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines, with the support of the European Union.

The United States and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, D.C.

Keynote Addresses (9:30am-9:55am)

Introduction by:

François Rivasseau, Deputy Head
European Union Delegation to the United States

Featuring:

Jody Williams
1997 Nobel Peace Laureate

Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan
Special Envoy for the Mine Ban Treaty

Statement by Senator Patrick Leahy
read by Channapha Khamvongsa, Legacies of War

Break

U.S. Expert Panel Discussion (10:00am-11:15am)

Moderator:

Rachel Stohl
Stimson Center

Featuring:

Heidi Kuhn
Roots of Peace

Steve Goose
Human Rights Watch Arms Division

Ken Rutherford
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery

Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (Ret.)
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

Break

Closing Remarks (11:20am-11:30am)

Henrique Banze of Mozambique (invited)
President-Designate of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Third Review Conference

To RSVP, please see details of the invitation.

Convention on Cluster Munitions Celebrates Third Anniversary: Senators and Congressman Call on Administration to Review Cluster Munitions Policy and Join Ban Treaty

ICBL_CMC(Washington, D.C.) August 1, 2013 — On the third anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the United States Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs joins Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Patrick Leahy, and Rep. James McGovern in calling for the U.S. to review its existing cluster munitions policy and to take immediate steps toward joining the Convention.

“Every year cluster bombs kill and maim hundreds of innocent men, women, and children,” said Zach Hudson, coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs. “The Convention on Cluster Bombs is saving lives every day as more and more states join and promise to never again use these devastating weapons. We echo this call for the United States to take these first steps towards joining the treaty.”

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Thousands Worldwide Call on U.S. and Other Outliers to Join Mine Ban Treaty

(Washington, D.C.) April 4, 2012 —  In celebration of the United Nations’ International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action today, thousands of people in more than 70 countries are rolling up their pant leg and standing side-by-side with survivors and landmine-affected communities to call for a full stop to the harm landmines still cause.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL) joins the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in the Lend Your Leg initiative to demand an end to the scourge of antipersonnel mines, and to once again call on the Obama administration to announce the conclusion of the landmine policy review launched in 2009 and to join the Mine Ban Treaty without further delay.

Lend Your Leg 2012, officially partnered with the ICBL and the United Nations with support from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, and was launched on March 1—the 13th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty—by landmine survivors from all over the world joined by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Since then United Nations officials, politicians, celebrities, journalists and ordinary people everywhere have pledged to “lend their legs” to speak out against this indiscriminate weapon that continues to impair people’s lives every day.

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Humanitarian concerns ignored as talks continue on cluster munitions

(Geneva) November 21, 2011 — As negotiations on a new law that would expressly allow some countries to continue to use cluster munitions enter the crucial final week, the voice of concerned governments , campaigners, and more than half a million global citizens continues to be ignored.

The draft law, a proposed protocol to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), is being pushed as an alternative to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which comprehensively bans all use, production, trade, and stockpiling of all cluster munitions.  The United States is the main proponent of the draft law, and has support from others that have not yet joined the ban convention, such as China, India, Israel, and Russia.

After a week of talks which clearly demonstrated a lack of consensus and strong opposition to the current proposal, the Chairman of the negotiations, French Ambassador Eric Danon, presented a new draft protocol text at the end of the day on Friday.

“After a week of formal negotiations, nothing in the draft text has really changed for the better,” said Steve Goose, chair of the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC). “The revisions have been minimal in number and marginal in substance. As drafted, the protocol will do more humanitarian harm than good, and will fail to address the dangers to civilians posed by cluster munitions,” said Goose. “Any international law that promotes the use of millions of cluster munitions with hundreds of millions of submunitions, like this one does, is a bad law.”

The United States told delegates on Friday that it was going to make a major concession to move the negotiations forward, but then only offered to move one provision — allowing the use of cluster munitions with a failure rate of 1% or less — from one part of the protocol to another. The CMC immediately told delegates that this was “no big deal, no real concession, and devoid of any substantial humanitarian impact,” because those cluster munitions could still be used forever without any restrictions.

“The negotiations began at a standstill, are still deadlocked, and should stay that way. The protocol is bad news for civilians that will suffer from future use, and bad news for international humanitarian law,” said Goose.  The CMC and International Committee of the Red Cross have said the protocol would be a terrible precedent in international humanitarian law, with states for the first time adopting a treaty with lower standards than one already agreed to by a majority of nations.

Some of the changes give a rhetorical nod to the ban convention as a goal to be strived for, but the CMC finds that none will help to reduce urgently the unacceptable humanitarian harm cluster munitions cause. The revised protocol still allows indefinite use of cluster munitions with one so-called safeguard, such as a self-destruct device, even though such cluster munitions have been demonstrated time and again to cause large numbers of civilian casualties. It still contains a 12-year deferral period where armed forces can use cluster munitions without any safeguard, even though States Parties have agreed these are so dangerous to civilians they must be banned. The revised protocol still does not address in any way one of the gravest dangers of cluster munitions: their indiscriminate, wide-area affect at the time of use.

The negotiations Chairman, Amb. Danon, has indicated that he intends to prepare another revised draft text by the end of the day on Tuesday. States would then have Wednesday, and possibly Thursday, to try to reach final agreement, before the conference concludes on Friday.

“It does not appear possible to us that negotiators will be able to bridge the vast divides that still exist,” said Goose. “Minor tweaks and band-aid fixes such as we saw in the latest revised protocol will not do the trick.  Only a major overhaul could turn this into a law that could have humanitarian benefit,” he said.

Seventy-four of 114 countries that are States Parties of the Convention on Conventional Weapons have already banned cluster munitions by signing or ratifying the Convention on Cluster Munitions.  The CMC is urging these states not to back off the ban, and to oppose the adoption of this protocol because, as currently drafted, it would still do more harm than good.

The CMC has been disturbed by the degree to which a number of the ban convention countries have been trying to facilitate the adoption of this weak, counter-productive protocol, including Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland.  The United Kingdom appears to be active behind the scenes.

On Monday morning, as the revised draft was being discussed, cluster bomb survivor and CMC spokesperson Branislav Kapetanovic handed a petition of 581,237 signatures to Amb. Danon, showing  that the world is watching as these talks continue. The petition, launched by Avaaz and the CMC, has been signed by citizens in almost every country. It calls on governments to align any new agreement with the existing ban under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, ensuring this indiscriminate weapon continues to be comprehensively banned, and innocent lives protected.

 

Treaty banning cluster bombs marks one year anniversary

logo(London) August 1, 2011 — Campaigners are calling on all countries to join the treaty banning cluster bombs, marking one year after it became binding international law.

“The best way to stop cluster bombs from being used is to join this treaty and do so now,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). “We are winning the battle against cluster bombs, but need all states to join the team against these deadly weapons.”

A total of 109 countries are now on board the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In the 12 months since it  entered into force internationally, 21 countries that previously signed the treaty have ratified it, and one country has acceded (a one-step process of signing and ratifying).

“An impressive amount has been achieved in the cluster bomb ban treaty’s first year of life,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the Cluster Muition Coalition (CMC).“Stockpiles are being destroyed and contaminated land is being cleared, preventing thousands more lives being lost as a result of these weapons,” she added.
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12th Anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty: The U.S. Should Join Now

Washington, D.C.—As the Mine Ban Treaty celebrates its twelfth anniversary today, March 1, the United States should decide to join the treaty without delay and ban antipersonnel landmines forever, the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL) said.

The Obama administration initiated a comprehensive interagency review of its landmine policy in late 2009. “U.S. citizens and other campaigners from around the world have been calling on the U.S. to join the Mine Ban Treaty since it was negotiated in 1997,” said Zach Hudson, USCBL Coordinator. “Since the policy review began this outcry has only intensified. The administration has received letters of support for the Mine Ban Treaty from 68 Senators, NGO leaders, key NATO allies, 16 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, victims of U.S. landmines, and countless concerned Americans. Enough is enough—it’s time to join.”

By joining the treaty, the U.S. would help send a clear signal that all types of antipersonnel mines are unacceptable weapons and would ensure that these weapons are never used again by the U.S. or anyone else. Joining would also encourage other remaining outliers to accede and strengthen international security.

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