On May 2007, Handicap International Belgium published its report Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities, the first comprehensive study analyzing the impact of clustermunitions on civilian populations. A number of individuals interviewed during the research for the report strengthen our belief that any negotiations to prohibit cluster munitions should be based on and inspired by the experience of affected individuals and communities.
In September 2007 the Ban Advocates initiative was officially launched in Serbia, on the sidelines of the Belgrade Conference of States affected by cluster munitions. In twelve months the group has grown to include individuals fromAlbania, Afghanistan, Croatia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Serbia, Tajikistan, Vietnam and the United States of America. These individuals have been advocating for a ban on cluster munitions and the full application of the rights of survivors and affected communities at international, regional and local levels.
The advocates have taken part in key conferences of the Oslo Process (Brussels and Vienna in 2007,Wellington, Dublin, Sofia, Kampala and Xiengkhuang in 2008). In 2008 they participated in the CCW meetings at Geneva, the Ban Bus initiative in Serbia and a Mid-West speaking tour in the USA; additionally they have organized local advocacy activities in several affected countries.
The Ban Advocates Blog is aimed at anyone interested in the impact that cluster munitions have on people and curious about the Oslo Process. Other activists, policy-makers, negotiators, and concerned groups can find more information here. Every now and then we will add new thoughts about our experiences and our initiatives as cluster munitions Ban Advocates. Please also feel free to add your comments and to support our efforts.