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Ban Newsletter 23

Ban Newsletter 23

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Published by: handicapinternationa on Apr 20, 2011
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 Research and writing:Policy UnitHandicap International67, Rue de Spastraat1000 BrusselsBELGIUMPhone: +32 2 280 16 01
On 30 May 2008, 107 states adopted the Convention on ClusterMunitions. This sounds simple. It is not. The adoption of this newconvention is the result of years of efforts and the progressiveconstruction of “clusters of cooperators”
made of individuals fromdifferent backgrounds and affiliations. It also demonstrates for thesecond time that by working together states, civil society andinternational organizations can rid the world of indiscriminateweapons. Together with many others, we feel privileged to havebeen part of this incredible process. We would like to draw a fewlessons from this experience.Firstly, we learned how individuals affected by cluster munitionscould play a key role in shaping what will now be a new internationalnorm. When we launched the Ban Advocates initiative,
we knew thatwe had a lot to learn from working with individuals whose lives havebeen dramatically changed because cluster munitions were onceused against their community. More than us, cluster munition
 know what a cluster munition is and why it should be banned. Theyknow what the needs of their communities are. And beyond thetheoretical discussions that often take place in multilateral talks, theycan inject a much-needed sense of reality. All along, we have beenimpressed by their intelligence, courage and determination. Webelieve that they played a crucial role in the whole process. In Dublin,the Ban Advocates team concentrated its time and efforts on workingtogether with countries that had reservations about a comprehensiveban on cluster munitions. We rapidly realized that the regularmeetings that the Ban Advocates had with delegations were having amajor impact since we could see the positions and attitudes of thosedelegations evolving on a daily basis. This tells us something abouthuman beings from different backgrounds connecting with each otherand developing new policies for future generations.Secondly, we saw for the second time the huge potential of apartnership between states and civil society. As Norway put it in itsclosing statement in Dublin, “The key to the success of thispartnership lies in the mutual respect for our different roles, while at
See www.regjeringen.no/upload/UD/Vedlegg/ClusterUNIDIR%20Lewis.pdf
We launched the Ban Advocates initiative in October 2007 in order to enable women and menfrom cluster munitions affected communities to have a voice in the Oslo process. For moreinformation, see www.banadvocates.org
Newsletter on Landmines & Cluster Munitions
Founding Member of the ICBL, Nobel Peace Prize Co-Laureate
 2the same time being able to listen with an open mind thus creating a common perception ofthe problem and its response. Including civil society at the negotiation table is an efficientway of ensuring that what we do is checked against reality; the humanitarian organisationsprovide competence and experience as implementers of humanitarian assistance. Asdonors we know that seeing and being in affected countries changes the whole perceptionand gives understanding of the problems that no presentation can equal. Recognising thisis an essential part of the partnership.”Thirdly, the Oslo process and the Convention on Cluster Munitions show once more thatdisarmament issues can be tackled from a humanitarian perspective. When we releasedour two reports,
Fatal Footprint 
Circle of Impact 
, we realized that the collection,publication and dissemination of information on the humanitarian impact of a weapon couldhave a significant influence on the perception – or the negation – of the problemsassociated with this weapon. Similarly, the involvement of countries affected by clustermunitions challenged user (and producer) states and obliged them to rethink the way theyviewed their security. We believe that the voices of affected countries were of paramountimportance in the whole process.Finally, eleven years after the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty, we collectively produced anew set of rules concerning victim assistance. The provisions on victim assistance may bethe most groundbreaking element of the new convention. These provisions are the result ofconcerted thinking and drafting by donor and affected states, cluster munition victims,researchers, victim assistance providers and legal experts. But these provisions now needto be implemented and all actors involved in the process must continue their concertedefforts to ensure that cluster munition survivors, affected families and communities actuallyreceive the assistance they are now entitled to. In many ways, the work is now reallybeginning…
Photo : Mar Wareham
On 30 May 2008, after two weeks of negotiations held in Dublin (Ireland), 107states
adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
The CCM bans clustermunitions forever and provides groundbreaking provisions to assist victims.
TheCCM will be opened for signature in Oslo on 3 December 2008 and enter into force sixmonths after 30 states have deposited their instruments of ratification with the UN SecretaryGeneral.
A new international standard based on the voices of the victims 
At the final plenary meeting of the Dublin Conference, the Irish Foreign Ministersaid, “Rarely if ever in international diplomacy have we seen such single-mindeddetermination to conclude a convention with such high humanitarian goals in such aconcentrated period of time.” Norway described the CCM as “a strong convention that willhave concrete impact on the ground” and said, “there will not be another minute before westart implementing the Convention. In practical terms the implementation starts today andwill prove the value of our work. (…) In essence, this process and the new Convention onCluster Munitions, is disarmament as humanitarian action.” Cambodia also called for theeffective implementation of the Convention’s provisions on victim assistance and clearance,“very important articles for Cambodia.” Lebanon spoke of the CCM as a “new way” to tacklehumanitarian concerns and paid tribute to the victims “thanks to whom future suffering willbe avoided.” The Lebanese ambassador then thanked all delegates in the name of Zahra, a12-year old girl from South Lebanon and Raed, a member of the Ban Advocates teampresent in Dublin and the father of a five-year old boy who was killed by a submunition. TheUnited Kingdom said, “Finally, and most importantly of all, this delegation would like to paytribute to the victims of cluster munitions; both those who have come here to Dublin andthose around the world whom they represent. What each and every one of them has done:to raise awareness; to make us all think; and now, together, to act, represents anoutstanding service to the citizens of the world. Their extraordinary courage, cheerfulnessand sheer human dignity can never be forgotten by any here who have had the privilege towitness it. It is they who have been our inspiration. It is they who have made this happen.”In a written message of the Secretary-General, the United Nations spoke of “a newinternational standard that will enhance the protection of civilians, strengthen human rightsand improve prospects for development.” He encouraged States “to sign and ratify thisimportant agreement without delay.”
Groundbreaking provisions on victim assistance 
Under the leadership of Austria, the victim assistance provisions of the CCM grew indetail and strength as we got closer to the Dublin negotiations. In our May 2007 report
Circle of Impact 
we had identified challenges for victim assistance; we also made a seriesof suggestions and established a number of principles, “which need to be addressed intreaty text.”
At the Wellington Conference (February 2008), many states described victimassistance as a “core obligation” of the future treaty and victim assistance provisions could
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, BruneiDarussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Republic of Congo,Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, DominicanRepublic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, HolySee, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYR), Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova,Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama,Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal,Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania,Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Zambia.
The Dublin Diplomatic Conference was attended by 127 States, including 20 observers: Colombia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece,Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Oman, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand,Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.
See also “A way forward to comprehensive victim assistance,” in Handicap International,
Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities 
, Brussels, May 2007, pp.12-14.

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