Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

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Posts tagged "international campaign to ban landmines"

Fifteen years after the global Mine Ban Treaty entered into force, many countries plagued with explosives are struggling to meet their commitments to survey and clear contaminated areas.

After the latest meeting of the parties to the treaty in Geneva in April, 27 countries are seeking or have obtained extensions on their obligations under the treaty, according to the treaty’s implementation support unit. That is one fewer than the number of countries that have announced completion of their efforts to clear their land of buried munitions.

Under Article 5 of the treaty, states are required to clear all their landmine-affected areas within 10 years.

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Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for ‘their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.’
(Photo: Reuters)


Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for ‘their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.’

(Photo: Reuters)


One of the 300 PMN-2 antipersonnel mines that were removed from ground in the vicinity of Hasanieih in Syria’s northern Idlib Governorate on March 12, 2012. Photo courtesy of Human Rights Watch.


Antipersonnel landmines, an indiscriminate weapon banned by more than three-quarters of the world, should not be used by any actor in the Syrian conflict, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate, urged today.

The ICBL welcomes Syria’s accession to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention on 14 September 2013 and with it the obligation to destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons. This is a step in the right direction but Syria should not stop there. The government needs to cease its use of all weapons banned by international humanitarian law, including antipersonnel mines, cluster munitions, and air-dropped incendiary weapons used in concentrations of civilians.

Like chemical weapons, landmines have also caused death and suffering in the conflict. The ICBL calls on Syria to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without delay, to prevent further suffering and enhance the safety of its people.

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CISR Director Ken Rutherford Mentioned in Vatican Radio Interview

(Vatican Radio) On World Refugee Day this year, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines called on states to eliminate the harrowing risks that refugees and asylum seekers face from landmines and other unexploded devices. 

Despite a 1997 treaty to ban the use of landmines, these indiscriminate weapons, continue to injure and kill civilians every day in countries around the world. Over 150 states have signed and ratified the treaty which prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and trade in anti-personnel mines. 

Yet an estimated 100 million of the deadly devices still lie in fields and along roads in former conflict zones, killing and maiming over 500 victims each week, earning them the nickname ‘weapons of mass destruction in slow motion.’

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Signatories to the Ottawa Treaty against the use of landmines.  States colored blue have signed on to the treaty; those in gray have not (source: International Campaign to ban Landmines)

A “Nobel” Cause: Portraits of Peace

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.

Contact Information

Nora D. Sheets



41 Guthrie Lane

Morgantown, WV 26508 / USA

Tel: + 1 304 291 5070



When international human rights groups launch a global campaign next week to ban “fully autonomous weapons”, they will follow in the footsteps of the highly-successful 1990s collective worldwide effort to ban anti-personnel landmines and blinding lasers.

The new campaign, to be launched in London, will be aimed primarily at the United States: the only country with a formal policy on fully autonomous weapons, also called “killer robots”, equipped with the capacity to choose and fire on targets without human intervention.

Asked about the tried and tested model campaign, Steve Goose, executive director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), told IPS, “Yes, we envision the ‘Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’ functioning in a similar fashion to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), as well as the Cluster Munitions Coalition.”

Killer robots are considered more deadly than the predator drone, the U.S. weapon of choice against suspected terrorists in the current wave of targeted killings, particularly in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

According to HRW, fully autonomous weapons are in development in several countries and could be deployed within the next couple of decades.

Asked how drones differ from fully autonomous weapons, Goose said drones have a “man in the loop” – a human has remote control, a human selects the target and decides when to fire the weapon.”

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The International Day for Mine Awareness is April 4; so be aware that these devices should be off our planet now and forever.


International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) campaigners from Handicap International Deustchland participate in a flash mob outside a subway stop in Munich. (Photo: Courtesy Handicap International Deustchland)

What do United States students holding painted prostheses, a flash mob in Germany, an 11K race in Colombia, a concert in Afghanistan, and a photo exhibit in Turkey all have in common?

When the participants roll up a pant leg, they are all part of a global action, known as Lend Your Leg, to ban landmines and support victims.

Every year, more than 4,000 people are victims of landmines around the world, and 70 percent of them are civilians. This is not just a number or a statistic; these are people like you and me, with dreams, with families, with a life.

… which means no national survivor network either.

The new Burmese government needs to design and implement a national program to eliminate the landmine risk if it is serious about genuine political reconciliation with the ethnic minorities in Burma.

Despite democratic reforms and moves to sign ceasefires with non-state armed groups, Burma is still not a signatory to the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning the use of land mines, and no substantial moves have been made on demining in conflict zones along its borders. Without a timeline and genuine political dialogue between the government and the ethnic minorities, the safety of villagers and displaced people continues to be threatened, and it is too dangerous for refugees to return.

Although the government claims it is no longer using antipersonnel mines in conflict-affected areas, a new report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) alleges both the Burmese military and non-state armed groups are still employing these weapons. The latest report produced by the ICBL states that landmine use in Burma has decreased over the years; there are fewer incidents of new antipersonnel mine use, and what use does occur is in more limited geographic areas. As of 2011 there were several reports of landmines still being used, including by government forces, border guard forces, and non-state armed groups, including the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). The ICBL reports that there were over 381 documented landmine casualties in 2011, although the actual number is likely to be much higher.

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