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Survivors call for U.S. to ban landmines
June 21, 2011

Survivors call for U.S. to ban landmines
Advocates for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Tun Channareth and Song Kosal, are both landmine survivors who call on the United States to sign the treaty that would stop them from manufacturing and using landmines. (Jesuit Refugee Service)
"So, United States I beg you, you are a great people and you can help me as a landmine survivor to make a dream come true: to save the lives and limbs of others by signing the Mine Ban Treaty. We need you to help us to push for progress, so that we can all make a better world for our brothers and sisters. Thank you so much for all you do in clearing mines and helping victims. But please do one more thing. Stop mines from being produced or used." ~ Song Kosal, ICBL Youth Ambassador, Cambodia
by Lars Stenger, Jesuit Refugee Service Indonesia

(Yogyakarta, Indonesia) June 15, 2011 — "Even though I am grown up, I often cry after waking up from a dream of having two legs, running and playing happily in the field with my friends. I know for me it is just a dream but I want this dream to be a true one for others, especially for children living in mine- affected countries like Cambodia.

"So, United States I beg you, you are a great people and you can help me as a landmine survivor to make a dream come true: to save the lives and limbs of others by signing the Mine Ban Treaty. We need you to help us to push for progress, so that we can all make a better world for our brothers and sisters. Thank you so much for all you do in clearing mines and helping victims. But please do one more thing. Stop mines from being produced or used." Song Kosal, ICBL Youth Ambassador, Cambodia

I met Song Kosal on several occasions. Her calm but persistent struggle for a world free of landmines inspires me to speak to representatives of governments from different parts of the world and ask them to join the Mine Ban Treaty and contribute to a world free of antipersonnel landmines that have destroyed so many people’s lives and dreams.

What are landmines: explosives put into the ground waiting years and decades to indiscriminately take the limbs or life of whoever walks over it, be they a soldier, farmer, woman or child. One step in a contaminated area can trigger the explosion and change lives forever.

On the April 4, 2011, the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action I met with Ted Lyng, Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta to discuss the U.S. policy on antipersonnel landmines. 

Survivors speak out

The United States announced a review of its policy on landmines in December 2009, but no final decision on a change of its policy has been made yet. Consequently, in 2010 and 2011, survivors, their friends and campaigners in 60 countries all around the world approached the representative of the United States embassy in their country to remind them that the world is waiting for the USA — one of the last 37 nations that have not yet joined the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) — to do so without delay.

In the meeting with Mr. Lyng we spoke about the horrendous impact of landmines in countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. The United States is in compliance with many key provisions of the treaty. Joining the treaty would put the United States in a strong principled position and would increase the pressure on the few other states that remain outside and often use the United States’ position for not joining. 

After sharing key reasons why the United States should join the MBT Mr. Lyng promised to report back to Washington, D.C., about our meeting and stated he will be sharing any feedback or news that he receives from his government.

JRS has been campaigning against landmines since 1990 and was one of the founding organizations of the Thailand, Cambodian and Indonesian Campaign to Ban Landmines. It is one of 350 civil society organizations in 90 countries that form the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). In 1997 ICBL won the Nobel Peace Prize. Tun Channareth ICBL Ambassador and campaigner for the ban of landmines and cluster munitions from JRS Cambodia accepted the award on behalf of the ICBL.

If you or your organization is interested in becoming part of the Indonesian Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions Campaign, please contact: infoadvo@jrs.or.id.

For more information please visit:  www.antiranjaudarat.or.id   www.icbl.org   www.stopclustermunitions.org





Press Contact Information
Oliver White
asiapacificrao@jrs.or.th
+66 2 640 9590