Photo: Giovanni Diffidenti for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines

When the Mine Ban Treaty parties adopted the Cartagena Action Plan at the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World in December 2009, they committed to “make use of synergies with other relevant instruments of international humanitarian and human rights law.” Nearly one year later, what could the synergies be?

According to the September newsletter from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, “Over the past three years, two new international conventions have entered into force that bear particular relevance to the mine ban community: the Convention on Cluster Munitions (1 August 2010) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (3 May 2008.)” Below is a condensed list of the lessons learned from landmine removal and how we can apply them to cluster bomb removal–the next chapter of creating a mine-free world:

  1. No Need to Re-invent the Wheel: As one example, Albania declared itself mine- and cluster munition-free at the end of 2009, fulfilling obligations of both Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty and Article 4 of Convention on Cluster Munitions. Clearance of both had taken place since 2002. While technical approaches in the field were different, the same people were cross-trained to be able to deal with both types of tasks, and one coordination body was overseeing both clearance activities.
  2. Stockpile Destruction: Prioritization is the key. For stockpilers, that means start early. Given the large amount of stockpiled cluster munitions, donor states should make assistance for stockpile destruction an integral part of their overall assistance under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
  3. Enhance Existing Mechanisms for Victim Assistance: When it comes to education, vocational training, peer support, rehabilitation, access to services, and more, the demands of landmine victims and cluster bomb victims are the same. The Cartagena Action Plan, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reaffirm the importance of a rights-based approach, inclusive development and the applicable human rights standard for victim assistance. In order for states and victims to benefit from synergies created by those three instruments, victim assistance should be integrated into existing mechanisms for disability, development and human rights.
  4. Keep the Dialogue Open for International Cooperation & Assistance.
  5. Make Use of Similar Data for Transparency Reporting.
  6. Renounce Similar Weapons.

This is a great start toward clearing the world of cluster bombs, as well as landmines, and “The Eyes of Thailand” looks forward to learning more that the Youth Leaders Forum in Laos in November 2010.  To read the ICBL’s full newsletter, please visit their web site. Thank you!

-Windy Borman

Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand