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Cluster Bomb Conference - Public Protest

Media Alert: Cluster Bomb Conference - Public Protest

On Wednesday 20 February from 12.00pm New Zealanders will show their support of the conference by taking part in a public protest against cluster bombs in Civic Square, Wellington.

Members of the public will create a powerful physical petition by lying on the paving stones and having a chalk outline drawn around their body to symbolise the horrific impact of cluster munitions.

The activities will commence with Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and cluster bomb survivors from Afghanistan, Iraq, Serbia and Tajikistan having their chalk outlines drawn. The event will continue throughout the day with the outlines of participants spreading across Civic Square.

The outlines will be signed by the participants, then photographed and presented to Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control Hon. Phil Goff at the Beehive at 6.30pm that evening.

PUBLIC PROTEST
DATE: Wednesday 20 February
LOCATION: Civic Square, Wellington
TIME: 12.00pm – 12.30pm Jody Williams and cluster bomb survivors have their chalk outlines drawn to commence the symbolic protest
12.30pm – 1.00pm Cluster Bomb Conference delegates participate in the physical petition
1.00pm –6.00pm Members of the public join the protest

PARLIAMENTARY RECEPTION
LOCATION: Grand Hall, Old Parliament
6.30pm – 8.00pm Cluster Bomb survivors present the petition to the Hon. Phil Goff

The Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions:

The last preparatory conference of the 'Oslo Process', an international initiative to ban cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, assist survivors and affected communities and ensure clearance of their land. Controversial issues on the agenda include calls for exemptions based on so-called technical fixes such as self-destruct mechanisms or a 1% dud rate.

The Wellington Conference is the most significant disarmament meeting the New Zealand government has ever hosted. The Cluster Munition Coalition, a network of over 250 non-government organisations in over 70 countries, will support the conference through a range of public events hosted by the national coalition of New Zealand NGOs to promote the ban objective, including public talks and a stunt action outside the conference.

The conference will result in a draft treaty text that countries will agree in Dublin, Ireland from 19-30 May 2008.

ENDS

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