Celebrating the entry into force of the Convention in Albania
On 1st August 2010, the organization ALB-AID started a series of events to celebrate the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
A group of cluster munition survivors from northeast Albania, survivors from the Gerdec explosion and representatives from Albanian civil society were involved in the activities. A popular drum band was invited to start drumming.
This historic celebration of the entry into force of the CCM was organized in front of the Academy of Arts, right next to the presidency in Tirana. A total number of around 60 participants were present when the entrance into force of the convention was initially announced by Mr. Jonuz Kola and Mr.Ilir Shkalla.
Survivors of cluster munitions from Kukes villages, children from affected communities (Gerdec), Albanian Mine Action Executive, civil society and representatives from other NGOs attended this event.
A great interest regarding this activity was shown even by the media as the event was reported in four national TV stations. Ora News TV transmitted the entire celebration live during the “beat the drums” ceremony, following the march through the main boulevard in Tirana, the press conference and the launch of the film on Ban Advocates.
During the drumming activity all participants celebrated with the traditional North Albanian style of dancing under the beat of the drums. Then the participants carrying banners, placards, and flags and wearing t-shirts and hats with messages about the CCM marched down the main boulevard passing by the Presidency, the Government offices and the building of the Albanian Parliament.
Followed by the media the Albanian activists under the organization of ALB-AID marched toward the Tirana International Hotel where a press conference was held for the entry into force of the CCM. Mention was made of the important Albanian government contribution toward this process and it called on governments to start the implementation process as soon as possible and to prioritize victim assistance. Moreover a call was even made for the regional governments in the Balkans to reconsider the position of the central government and to join this incredible humanitarian initiative in saving thousands of potential victims in the future and helping thousands of survivors.
The representative of Albanian Mine Action mentioned that Albania is already free of cluster munitions since December 2009. He mentioned that Albania is working now to prepare the Action Plan to support cluster munition survivors for their re-integration in society.
Albanian Ban Advocate Ardjana Mani has been greatly involved in all activities undertaken in Tirana to celebrate this historic moment. She was also very active in distributing media materials such as T-shirts, hats and leaflets. She has been interviewed by the media regarding her involvement in this proces and regarding the benefits of this Convention for Albanian cluster munition survivors. She also gave a speech in which she recounted the problems of the Albanian survivors and called on the government to work on quick implementation of the Convention and to prioritize victim assistance. The film on Ban Advocates was also launched for the first time in Albania.