Advocacy projects implemented in Afghanistan in 2008

Soraj givng an interniew with the BBC
awarbees action in Kabul

On 7th November-2008 Afghan Landmines Survivors’ Organization on behalf of the Cluster Munitions Coalition, organized a Petition event in a public park in Kabul city, and urged the government of Afghanistan to be among the majority of countries worldwide that will sign the convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo, Norway on December 3rd, 2008.

Invitation to attend on Petition Ceremony and signing the People’s Treaty have been sent to different Government offices, Embassies, UN Agencies, media, INGOs and NGOs but many of the participants didn’t come, maybe due to lack of interest or security reasons. More than a thousand people (men, women and children) signed the petition and People’s Treaty that calls on the Afghan government to support the Oslo process and sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions as soon as possible.

A Ban Bus decorated with the Banners and slogans did a tour around the main town one day before and called the people to participate in the petition event and to sign the People’s Treaty and urge on Government to sign the convention and save the life of our children and no more injury or disability and no more suffering.

Media from different TV and Radio arrived: National TV, Tamadun TV (commercial), Shamshad Tv (commercial), BBC News (Radio and TV), Ashna Radio (American Radio), 8 Morning (Newspaper) and Websites inside and outside of Afghanistan.

Sulaiman and Soraj and other survivors had interviews with each of the media and called on the Afghan Government to attend the Oslo conference and to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions on December 3rd, 2008, and stop the suffering of the people that have been victims in three decades of civil war.

Sulaiman and Soraj had one hour live interview in Tamadun TV on Saturday morning; Tamadun TV is a commercial TV station and the second most influential (with more audience) TV in Afghanistan, this TV and BBC Persia had really good coverage during the Petition event and they did more interviews with government (spokesperson of Defense Minister) and local people and also with Dr. Haider Reza (UNMACA Director). Dr. Haider Reza expressed on his interview that cluster munitions have been used by USA in 2001 in some part of Afghanistan.

Sulaiman Aminy expressed that Afghanistan and Afghan people are affected by cluster munitions in different decades and now Afghan people want their government to join in the Oslo process and to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Also, Sulaiman expressed that he is worried about the stockpile of cluster munitions in Afghanistan and he hopes there should not be any stockpile in Afghanistan and that Afghan government can come out from under the pressure and to take a final decision toward the Oslo conference. But Mr. Zaher Azimi (spokesperson of Defense Minister) expressed in his interview with BBC Radio that there are no stockpiles now in Afghanistan and no state use of cluster munitions and he also explained that it is a high level decision for Afghanistan to announce their position in Oslo process and to send a delegate to sign the Convention on December 3rd in Oslo, Norway.

One day before the petition event Sulaiman and Soraj met Mr. Khalid Zekerya who is working in MFA: he expressed that a high level in Afghan government must take the decision about the Oslo conference and now he thinks no one will attend from Afghanistan in Oslo conference on December 3rd in Oslo, Norway.

Materials have been used in Petition events: banners with survivors (English and Local languages), photos of survivors and cluster bomb, stickers, copy of Convention and People’s Treaty, press release, t-shirt, badge written in local language (sign the treaty this December), sign-up card, screen and projector (shown clips on how Cluster Munitions used), speech on impact of Cluster Munitions by survivors and Afghan CMC members to the local people and media.

The petition event took place from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm. A majority of the participants were the young generation and they took more material and information to share with their family. At the same time ALSO staff sent stickers and information to the government office and NGOs and called for their support share all this information with highest levels of government and to encourage the government to specify their position and to send someone in Oslo conference.

Oslo, December 3-4, 2008, nearly a hundred governments from around the world signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Afghanistan was one of the governments that signed this convention, “the recognition of the plight of the thousands of victims of cluster munitions in my country that has resulted in President Karzai’s decision today. This decision is, above all, a tribute to the victims of cluster munitions in Afghanistan and around the world. Like many nations present here today, we in Afghanistan aspire to a world that is free of arms and munitions,” said Mr. Jawid Ludin, Afghan Ambassador to Norway.

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