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Global Day of Action Against Cluster Bombs

 

 

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Friday 2 November

New Zealand Joins Global Day of Action Against Cluster Bombs

The newly-formed New Zealand Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC) will kick off a chain of events across the world on Monday, 5 November with a “bombing” stunt in Wellington.

On Monday 5 November at 1.00pm the Civic Square in Wellington will be ‘bombed’ with thousands of leaflets in the shape of cluster bombs, informing the public about the horrific toll caused by the weapon, which has killed and maimed innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon and elsewhere.

The leaflets will be dropped over the square by a helicopter, mimicking the deployment of an actual cluster strike. The leaflets feature a message asking the public to tell the government they support the global call to ban cluster bombs and urges them to sign and send the leaflet to the Honourable Phil Goff, the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control. 

The leaflets are made from recycled paper and campaigners will be on hand to pick them up. The leaflets have been designed by communications agency DraftFCB, which is providing pro bono assistance to the Cluster Munition Coalition.

Visiting Australian cluster munitions expert and photographer, John Rodsted, will document the event. 

The international Cluster Munition Coalition’s Global Day of Action Against Cluster Bombs is being observed by 20 countries with a series of events to raise awareness and demonstrate global public concern against this weapon.   

Earlier this year in Oslo, Norway 46 countries endorsed a call to establish an international treaty to ban cluster bombs that “cause unacceptable harm to civilians” by the end of 2008. Just over 8 months later, over 80 countries are now participating in this process (the “Oslo Process”). The New Zealand government has endorsed the treaty objective and is participating in the Oslo Process.  It will convene a treaty conference in Wellington from 18-22 February 2008 that approximately 100 governments are expected to attend.

In the event of bad weather the leaflet drop will take place at the Civic Square, Wellington at 1.00pm on Tuesday 6 November.

To arrange film / photo opportunities or to schedule an interview with a member of the NZ Cluster Munition Coalition or John Rodsted, please contact:

About Cluster Munitions
A cluster munition is a weapon comprised of a container that is fired, launched or dropped by aircraft or land-based artillery and disperses large numbers (often hundreds) of unguided submunitions/bomblets. The impact of cluster munitions on civilians is two-fold. The weapon cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so its humanitarian impact can be extreme when it is used in or near populated areas. A second impact is the weapon’s legacy. Because so many bomblets fail to detonate when dispersed, they become de facto antipersonnel mines, killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended.

During the 2003 Iraq air war, cluster munitions dropped by UK and US forces caused more civilian casualties than any other weapon system, apart from small arms fire. In August 2006, Israel deployed 90 percent of its cluster bomb strikes in the final 72 hours of the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, when it knew there would be a resolution to the conflict. This created more than one million unexploded cluster munition duds and prompted an unprecedented multilateral response to tackle this deadly weapon.

 

Countries Affected By Cluster Munitions

States in italics are participating in the Oslo Process:

Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chechnya, DR Congo, Croatia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands/Malvinas, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Nagorno Karabakh, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Syria, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, Vietnam and Western Sahara. Other states such as Yemen are suspected of being affected.

About the Coalition
The Aotearoa NZ Cluster Munition Coalition was established in March 2007 to help curb civilian harm from cluster munitions.  The group of non-governmental organisations supports the diplomatic effort to negotiate a legally-binding treaty on cluster munitions by the end of 2008.  As part of this initiative, the New Zealand government is convening a major meeting in Wellington on 18-22 February 2008 that over 350 diplomats from 100 governments are expected to attend.

 

About John Rodsted

Australian cluster munitions expert, John Rodsted, is touring NZ during November to speak about the problems posed by cluster munitions and promote The Oslo Process. 

Over the past decade Rodsted has documented the devastating impacts of landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded bombs in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Laos, and Lebanon. His compelling photographs have been exhibited at the United Nations and in dozens of countries.

John Rodsted Schedule
Mon. 5 Nov. - Wellington

Private meetings with representatives of the EC, Mexico, Peru, and Mayor of Wellington.

Tues. 6 Nov. - Wellington

Private meetings with politicians from National, NZ First, Greens, Māori, and Labour

Public Talk (starts 6.00pm) at Capital E Mackenzie Theatre, Civic Square.

Weds 7 Nov. - Auckland

Public Talk (starts 6.30pm) at Akl Uni. School of Engineering, Rm 1.439, 20 Symonds St.

 

ends

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