Posts tagged cluster bombs
Posts tagged cluster bombs
OTTAWA — Canada is planning to answer a plea by the tiny South Asian country of Laos and restart funding to help it cope with its infestation of deadly cluster bombs, The Canadian Press has learned.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is to announce a $1-million contribution, to be managed through a United Nations agency, during a trip to Laos on Tuesday.
Canada cut its funding to the international effort to help clear cluster munitions from Laos in 2012, after contributing more than $2 million between 1996 and 2011.
Ottawa urged to ratify cluster munitions treaty
A poster for Handicap International’s “Fashion Victim” campaign. The group says some countries continue to use landmines and cluster bombs, which leave many innocent victims in their wake. (CNW Group/Handicap International)
They have been called “weapons of mass destruction in slow motion” and have killed or maimed hundreds of thousands over the past century.
Today, landmine accidents claim about 12 lives per day in over 80 countries and territories around the world. There are an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 landmine survivors globally—most of whom are innocent civilians who have lost limbs or suffer permanent disability from their injuries.
Anti-landmine group Handicap International Canada aims to change these grim statistics with its new “Fashion Victim” campaign, which raises awareness of the ongoing use of landmines and cluster bombs and the many innocent victims they leave in their wake.
The victims have been children playing outdoors, pedestrians walking down the street, workers pressing olive oil, and even families in their homes. While the world has been focused on whether the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, the Syrian government’s extensive use of cluster bombs has done devastating harm to civilians over the past year.
The town of Talbiseh, near Homs, has been repeatedly attacked with cluster bombs. After witnessing one cluster bomb strike a local inhabitant told Human Rights Watch, “I heard people screaming. I ran toward them and found out that one of the streets where the bomblets dispersed had people in it at the time. When I reached the house, I saw heavily wounded children inside. After helping out the injured we found three people killed in one of the nearby houses. They were from the same family.”
Dropped from aircraft or fired from the ground, cluster munitions break open in mid-air to disperse dozens and sometimes hundreds of small bomblets, also called submunitions. Concern over civilian casualties in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere from cluster munition attacks and their remnants led these and other countries to comprehensively ban these weapons in 2008. Yet Syria is not among the 112 nations that have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
More than 40 countries have outlawed cluster bombs due to their long-term impacts on civilians [AFP]
Arms control advocates are decrying a new US Department of Defence announcement that it will be building and selling 1,300 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, worth some $641m.
The munitions at the heart of the sale are technically legal under recently strengthened US regulations aimed at reducing impact on civilian safety, but activists contend that battlefield evidence suggests the weapons actually exceed those regulations.
Opponents say the move runs counter to a strengthening push to outlaw the use of cluster bombs around the world while also contradicting recent votes by both the US and Saudi governments critical of the use of these munitions.
Lynn Bradach began campaigning against cluster munitions following the death of her eldest son Travis, a United States Marine, killed 2 July 2003, by a cluster submunition while clearing unexploded ordnance in Iraq. On the 10th anniversary of losing Travis, Lynn talks to the CMC about her work campaigning against this indiscriminate weapon so that other families don’t suffer the same loss.
1. Tell us about your work on cluster munitions. How did you first get involved?
After losing Travis I was one of the ‘Gold Star’ mothers who spoke out against the US invasion of Iraq, through the US based organisation ‘Gold Star Families for Peace’ (GSFP) . Initially, I believed that Travis had been killed by a landmine so I joined a campaign called ‘Adopt-A-Minefield’ and volunteered raising funds and awareness to help with the universal landmine issue. It was through this work that the US campaign against cluster munitions found me (by this time I’d learned Travis had been killed while clearing unexploded US cluster munitions in Iraq, and not by a landmine as I initially believed) and asked if I was willing to publicly speak out against the use of cluster bombs.
2. Were you aware of cluster munitions before Travis’ accident?
I had no knowledge of the weapon before the loss of Travis—that is why I took it for granted that he had been killed by a landmine.
A short video from The Cluster Project that raises awareness of cluster munitions in Vietnam from a farmer-survivor perspective
Cluster submunitions in trash heap by side of road. #syria. #thecommute
An RBK 250-275 cluster munitions dispenser that the Syrian Air Force did not manage to use. From Taftanaz Air Base, which was overrun by opposition fighters in January. By the author. Earlier this year.
by Nora D. Sheets [ WVCBL/PSALM ]
Students from St. Francis de Sales Central Catholic School in Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S., created an art exhibit to recognize International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) advocates and landmine survivors.
Members of Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs/West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (PSALM/WVCBL or PSALM for short) met in fall 2012 to discuss how to join the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and celebrate 20 years of campaigning for a world free of landmines. It seemed fitting that a youth campaign born from an art project would commemorate the event with artwork. Portraits highlighted ICBL campaigners and a timeline of photographs celebrated the 20th anniversary of ICBL winning the Nobel Peace Prize, along with PSALM’s work with the campaign. The exhibit, A “NOBEL” CAUSE: Portraits of Peace, opened at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S., on 11 January 2013.
PSALM students spent hours painting and preparing large-scale portraits of ICBL campaigners, mentors and role models, as well as landmine survivors who participated in the 2012 Paralympics in London. The subjects of the portraits are people who inspired PSALM students to use their talents and energy to make the world safer for children everywhere. These portraits represent a mere fraction of the many amazing people PSALM had the privilege of working with over the years. In addition to creating the artwork, PSALM students acted as gallery guides for visitors during the event.
ICBL, a global, civil movement, was born in 1992 to put an urgent stop to a humanitarian crisis. ICBL’s efforts were crucial to the development, negotiation, adoption and signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction and in the same year ICBL was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
As a teacher, I can attest to how often the student becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the student. In 1999 I assigned a project to my eighth-grade art students: Design a piece of artwork that will educate the public about a global social-justice issue. The students chose landmines, and local veteran and ophthalmologist Dr. Larry Schwab encouraged my students to join the effort to rid the world of landmines. In 2000 PSALM students met with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams; Landmine Survivors Network co-founders Ken Rutherford and Jerry White; and Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines members including Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Tun Channareth, ICBL Youth Ambassador Song Kosal and Sister Denise Coghlan. All went out of their way to educate the students about the issue. The students were dedicated to the mission. PSALM co-founder Ryan Lynch stated, “I learned a lot from working with the campaigns, lobbying lawmakers, raising awareness and meeting with other inspiring advocates, but most of all it empowers and inspires students to create change in a real way. I learned that social-justice advocacy is a powerful tool that can be utilized by anyone with hope.”
Fourteen years later, PSALM is still committed to educating the public about the devastation caused by landmines and cluster munitions, and their indiscriminate nature that leads to loss of life, especially children’s lives, after wartime hostilities have ceased. Students and members work to raise awareness about survivor issues, prevent future casualties through service projects and contribute to the universal signature of the conventions banning landmines and cluster munitions. The service projects that PSALM students completed include collecting medical supplies for landmine victims in Nicaragua, providing a prosthetic device to a Bosnian landmine victim, raising funds in order to train mine detection dogs, as well as sponsoring three water wells in mine-affected regions of Cambodia. “We want a world where all children can walk to school, gather food or water, and play without the fear that each step may be their last,” said a PSALM student during the exhibit.
Nora D. Sheets has worked as an art teacher at St. Francis de Sales Central Catholic School in Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S., for 26 years. She is the coordinator for the student organization Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs/West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (PSALM/WVCBL) Sheets has represented PSALM/WVCBL at International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition conferences in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, Jordan, Kenya, Laos and Norway.
Nora D. Sheets
41 Guthrie Lane
Morgantown, WV 26508 / USA
Tel: + 1 304 291 5070
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Nearly one million Iraqi children are affected by the presence of landmines with hundreds having been maimed or killed by exploded cluster bomblets since 1991, a UN statement acknowledged.
A statement issued by the United Nations mission to Iraq on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action calls for more progress to eliminate the threat of landmines to the people of Iraq.
“It is tragic and unacceptable that children continue to have their lives forever damaged by the presence of landmines,” stated Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF’s Representative to Iraq. Nearly one million Iraqi children are affected by the presence of landmines with hundreds having been maimed or killed by exploded cluster bomblets since 1991, a UN statement acknowledged.
“With determined effort, all landmines and unexploded ordinance in Iraq can be eradicated; we call on all actors – the Government of Iraq, international community and private sector – to coordinate to permanently eliminate this threat from the lives of Iraqi children and their families.”