Seven Ban Advocates, together with a group of about 100 campaigners, are attending the Universal Meeting in advance of the First Meeting of States Parties to the CCM in Chile this week. Most of them have travelled a long way to arrive in Santiago: Aynalem from Ethiopia, Branislav from Serbia, Bounmy and Thoummy from Lao PDR, Lynn from the United States, Mina from Croatia and Soraj from Afghanistan.
The group arrived over the weekend, and attended meetings to prepare them for this conference.
Today, which is the first day of the conference, has been a busy day for the team! First, Soraj intervened with an inaugural statement. After practicing his English pronunciation, he delivered a strong opening speech on behalf of all cluster munition survivors, urging all countries to join the CCM as soon as possible.
The same morning, the team happily presented the preview of the film on the Ban Advocates made by Chris Anderson. This film was presented for the first time in front of all campaigners and around 100 delegates. It will be globally launched in Brussels on 1 August 2010, the day the CCM enters into force.
The title of the film “Ban Advocates: from Victims to Champions” reflects both the process the survivors went through, and the role they are playing within the Oslo Process. The film was presented by Bruno from Handicap International Belgium as well as by Lynn (a member of the BA team) who stated: “membership is painful, because to be a member you must suffer true loss…membership also brings strength, because in order to be a member you agree that it is important to go beyond your pain and to strive to make a difference by using your voice and your experience to demand that countries stop using this inhumane weapon”.