As a member of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), Defend International is pleased to celebrate the success of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and CMC in 2016, and we would like to state that we will continue to support the ICBL-CMC efforts in 2017.
The CMC is an international coalition of nongovernmental organisations working in around 100 countries to eradicate cluster munitions, prevent further causalities from these weapons and put an end for all time to the suffering they cause. The CMC works to change the policy and practice of governments and organisations towards these aims and raise awareness of the problem amongst the public. As a member of the Coalition, DI has been part of this campaign and has positively influenced the lives of many victims of cluster munitions.
Some of the goals achieved by the coalition in 2016 are listed in the letter we received today:
2016 was an important year for advancing bans on both landmines and cluster munitions, requiring swift responses to ongoing conflicts that threatened gains made in previous years. Thanks to everyone who supported the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munition Coalition for contributing to this success. Here are just a few highlights from what we achieved together this year:
- Cuba and Palau joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, bringing the total number of States Parties to 100, with progress towards ratification advanced in dozens of other countries
- The US government halted the transfer of cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia while Textron, the last US-producer of cluster munitions, announced a halt to this production
- A peace agreement in Colombia made possible important advancements in mine clearance, supported by significant new commitments of international support, and contributed to a decline in new mine victims
- Sri Lanka announced plans to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty while government representatives from Myanmar engaged in discussions in Geneva for the first time, around joining the Treaty
- Poland completed destruction of over one million stockpiled landmines a year before treaty deadline, bringing the total number of destroyed stockpiled landmines to more than 51 million
- Some 60 countries made progress in clearing minefields and cluster munition remnants from past and ongoing conflicts
- In 26 countries, national campaigns, including mine/cluster munition survivors, actively campaigned for improved recognition of their rights and access to necessary services
Unfortunately, our work is not done. In 2017, when we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the campaign, these are some of the biggest challenges that we will face:
- There was a sharp rise in people killed or injured by mines and ERW, mainly due to acute conflict in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine.
- Use of improvised landmines by non-state armed groups increased, even while use by States continued to be extremely limited; significant and ongoing use of cluster munitions was recorded in Syria and Yemen.
- While there were several extraordinary pledges to support mine action in Colombia, Iraq and Laos, overall financial contributions to mine action were down, challenging efforts to achieve a mine-free world in 2025
- 79 states have still not joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions and 35 have not joined the Mine Ban Treaty.
- Improvements have been made in services and programs available to landmine and cluster munition victims but more must be done to ensure that victims are reaching these services and that their rights are upheld.
The ICBL-CMC is committed to continue working for a world that is free of both landmines and cluster munitions. We hope you will continue to support us through all of your efforts.
Thank you and all the best for 2017!