Europe 2008

Balkans to Oslo

Ban Bus is proud to present our supporters who make ban cluster bombs campaigning on the Ban Bus Europe 2008 tour possible:

logo_cmc_red Cluster Munitions Coalition has contributed just under one third of their promised contribution on October 19. CMC has contributed with human resources, letting Susan Hensel work part time from Dublin on Ban Bus logistics from Septemeber 25th until approx. November 3rd, after this date Susan has been able to support Ban Bus briefly. The CMC media coordinator Natalie Curtis has assisted us in accessing, tracking and monitoring Ban Bus related media up until she too became busy with preparing for the signing ceremony in Oslo. CMC helps us getting deminer Kevin Bryant onboard the Bus from Estonia to Oslo. Other friendly and helpful hands have been Jade from Landmine Action.

logo_mfa_norwayNorwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have given in kind support to Ban Bus on our tour in Europe. Norwegian embassies along the way have helped the Ban Bus in translating texts for the leaflet about cluster bombs, facilitating printing, hosting receptions, press conferences and briefings. Some embassies contributed financially. We are waiting for the major financial contribution.

NF_logo_engNorwegian People’s Aid has already contributed large with in kind support from our launch and on our journey and we expect/hope the financial contribution will arrive our bank account on Monday, November 24th!

irelandIrish Department of Foreign Affairs have given in kind support to Ban Bus on our tour in Europe. Irish embassies along the way have hosted receptions, press conferences and briefings.

logo_hi90 Handicap International has promised in kind support by allowing their Ban Advocates to join Ban Bus in several locations. Ban Advocates joined Ban Bus in Serbia. HI contributed some in getting Branislav to Warsaw, Poland. In addition HI will also assist in gettng ex-military bomb disposal expert Kevin Bryant who is also a landmine survivor and deminer to join Ban Bus in Estonia, Finland and Sweden.

The Ban Bus Europe 2008 is an eight-week road tour through Europe to build public and media awareness in support for the cluster bomb ban. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to convince as many European states as possible to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions when it is opened for signature on 3 December 2008 in Oslo, Norway. Covering an estimated 10,000 kilometres, the Ban Bus is building support for a total ban of cluster bombs. In close collaboration with the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), the Ban Bus is consolidating existing campaign contacts and making new ones in key countries from the Balkans to the Baltic states.

Ban Bus Balkans to Oslo Europe Route

europa route.jpg
2008 Route for Ban Bus Europe

1.10 (Wed)………………….Belgrade, Serbia
3.10 (Fri) ……………………Nis, Serbia
5–6.10 (Sun-Mon)…………..Skopje, FYR Macedonia
9–12.10 (Fri)…………………Athens, Greece.
13-16.10………………………Thessaloniki, Greece
18 (Sat)……………………….Istanbul, Turkey
21-22.10 (Tue-Wed) ………..Bucharest. Romania
24.10 (Fri) …………………..Sofia, Bulgaria
28-29.10 (Tue-Wed) ………..Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
30.11 (Thu) ………………….Zagreb, Croatia
31.10 (Fri) …………………..Padua, Italy
3–4.11 (Mon )……………….Geneva. Switzerland
8–10.11 (Mon) …………………Bratislava, Slovakia
12.11 (Weds) ………………Katowice, Poland.
13–14.11 (Thu-Fri) ……….Warsaw, Poland.
18.11 (Tue) …………………Vilnius, Lithuania.
19-21.11 (Thu-Fri) …………Riga, Latvia.
24-25.11 (Mon-Tue) ……….Tallinn, Estonia.
26-28.11 (Wed -Fri) ……….Helsinki, Finland.
30.11-1.12 (Sun-Mon) …….Stockholm, Sweden
2.12 (Tue) ……………………Oslo, Norway
3.12 (Wed)……………………Signing Ceremony, Oslo, Norway

Rationale

Cluster munitions or cluster bombs have caused untold harm and suffering over the past sixty years. The weapon was used in the Balkans in the 1990s, causing numerous civilian casualties. In 1999, the US, UK, and Netherlands dropped an estimated 1,765 cluster bombs containing approximately 295,000 submunitions in then-FR Yugoslavia. In 2006, Israel launched an estimated 4 million cluster submunitions on South Lebanon targeting many populated areas. Approximately one million of these explosive devices failed to detonate on impact and, by January 2008, had caused at least 192 civilian casualties and killed or maimed 29 deminers trying to deactivate them.

The massive use of cluster bombs in Lebanon finally prompted an unprecedented multilateral response. The “Oslo Process,” a series of diplomatic meetings initiated at the start of 2007, raised awareness and built support for the creation of a new international treaty to ban cluster munitions and assist those affected by the weapon. In May 2008, the civil society Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) played a pivotal role in convincing more than 100 states to adopt a new international agreement tackling cluster munitions. The Convention on Cluster Munitions will be opened for signature in Oslo, Norway on 3 December 2008 (the international day for people with disabilities).

The Ban Bus is an eight-week road tour through Europe to build public and media awareness in support for the cluster bomb ban. The ultimate goal of this initiative is convince as many European states as possible to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions when it is opened for signature on 3 December 2008 in Oslo, Norway. Covering an estimated 10,000 kilometres, the Ban Bus is building support for a total ban of cluster bombs.

The Ban Bus is an advocacy initiative that aims to raise public, political and media awareness for peace building and disarmament issues. In 1997, Ban Bus team members Eliseussen and Rodsted undertook a six-week tour across the United States of America to raise public and political awareness on the issue of landmines. With the support of the US Campaign to Ban Landmines (and then-USCBL Coordinator Mary Wareham), this initiative created public interest and support for the landmine ban in the United States and generated significant media attention toward the Mine Ban Treaty signing event held in Ottawa, Canada on 3 December 1997. In the three weeks leading up to the May 2008 Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, the Ban Bus toured Ireland to raise awareness and support for the strongest possible treaty banning cluster munitions.

Objectives

The ultimate goal of the Ban Bus is to convince every state visited to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions when it is opened for signature on 3 December 2008 in Oslo, Norway. Three objectives are necessary to achieve this goal: 1) influence political decision-makers directly and through local campaign contacts, 2) create public awareness and support for the banning of cluster munitions, and 3) generate media coverage in the states visited and internationally in the lead-up to the treaty signing ceremony.

In close collaboration with the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), the Ban Bus is consolidating existing campaign contacts and making new ones in key countries from the Balkans to the Baltic states. Beyond encouraging strong support for the signature of the Cluster Munition Convention, the Ban Bus seeks to build a strong in-country campaign base for future actions including swift ratification, implementation legislation, stockpile destruction, and funding assistance. An aware public, alert media, and engaged civil society are essential to ensure that governments fully implement and respect the new treaty over the coming years.

The Ban Bus Europe tour will reach its destination on 2 December 2008, but follow-up activities are anticipated in 2009 to help solidify campaign activities in key states. Together with the CMC a number of creative Ban Bus workshops will be convened to build the capacity of local contacts to undertake sustained advocacy in support of the cluster munition ban.

Major Elements

The Ban Bus is a self-contained, portable public awareness platform. Its experts speak with passion about their direct experience with this weapon and use an audio-visual presentation to demonstrate the devastating impact of cluster munitions. Ban Bus speakers draw from their experience as leaders in the global movement against cluster munitions to excite and empower audiences to actively support the cluster munition ban.

A powerful advocacy tool, the Ban Bus can speak to any constituency, from youth to politicians to media to member of the public. The type of Ban Bus events vary from press conferences to public talks to street actions, and are dependent on local interest and initiative (see Guide for Local Contacts).

The Ban Bus presence is a media event in itself; it is fast, fresh, and exciting. By creating national media attention on cluster munitions, the Ban Bus seeks to generate international media attention and accelerate coverage as it approaches its final destination, culminating in the arrival in Oslo the day before the Convention on Cluster Munitions is opened for signature.

Using sound, film and photo recording equipment, the Ban Bus is recording its journey and collecting stories along the way on the cluster munition challenge and ban campaigning. The Ban Bus is producing regular video and written blogs (including interviews with locals). These and other items will posted on the Ban Bus website: www.thebanbus.org

Route and Schedule

The Ban Bus will visit a total of 20 states: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. Eleven of these states adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions in May 2008 and are expected to sign in December (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland), while three (Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia) adopted but their signature is currently doubtful. The remaining six did not adopt and appear unlikely to sign the Convention this December (Finland, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Turkey). Three of the states visited by the Ban Bus are affected by cluster munition remnants (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia). Almost all of the states visited by the Ban Bus are believed to stockpile cluster munitions.

The Ban Bus is working to invigorate and reinforce the efforts of existing CMC contacts in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. The Ban Bus seeks to identify lasting civil society contacts in states where the CMC currently has no local focal point: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia. Contacts are made with the assistance of diplomatic representatives of pro-ban states (such as Norway), networking with international NGOs and agencies, and word of mouth.

The Ban Bus will stop in Geneva at the opening of “expert” talks by the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) to show how the Oslo Process is the only feasible way to deal with cluster munitions and urge all states to come to Oslo to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 3 December.
A full day and often longer has been allocated for travel between locations. This allows for unforeseen events as well as for time to document the journey through film and photographs. A full rest day has been schedule every week, usually on a Sunday when media interest, lobby events, and public awareness opportunities are minimal.

Team Members

The Ban Bus Europe crew is currently comprised of three main participants: director Mette Eliseussen, speaker John Rodsted, and media coordinator Daniel Barty. Other participants will join the Ban Bus for specific portions of the journey and at different events. Principal among these speakers will be survivors of cluster munitions including the survivors listed below. Time and space-permitting local campaigners and media representatives may become embedded with the Ban Bus for certain segments of the journey or accompany the Ban Bus in a separate vehicle.

While the core crew currently shares responsibility for driving the Ban Bus, they would benefit from a fourth participant to drive the Ban Bus and take responsibility for logistics (such as facilitating border crossings and ensuring swift load in/out at venues). This will require additional funding. In addition, a local may be needed to assist with logistics and translation.

Ms. Mette Eliseussen, Ban Bus Europe Director

Mette EliseussenEliseussen has overall responsibility for the Ban Bus Europe tour. This entails team oversight of the team, liaison with local hosts, responsibility for the tour schedule, speaking at public events, financial management, and Ban Bus safety and emergency procedures. She will also produce various (video, web) daily updates or blogs on the Ban Bus journey. Eliseussen is supported by CMC’s Dublin-based advocacy officer Susan Hensel.

Norwegian-born Eliseussen has 7 years experience working in development and conflict situations including in Afghanistan where she established Save the Children USA’s Kabul office in 1995. She helped establish the Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines to ensure that Afghan civil society had a strong voice in the global movement to create the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Eliseussen is also a skilled journalist with experience working for Norwegian media and publishing houses.

Mr. John Rodsted, Ban Bus Europe Speaker

John RodstedRodsted is the tour’s main speaker, responsible for writing and uploading the daily Ban Bus website blog, and for liaising with other speakers who participate in specific events.
Australian photographer, Rodsted has documented the humanitarian impacts of landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance in some of the most war torn regions on earth. In 2006, he spent weeks in southern Lebanon documenting the civilian impact of impacts of cluster munitions strikes by Israel. Rodsted’s work has been widely exhibited in prestigious venues including the Royal Geographical Society (London), Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC), and United Nations.

Mr. Daniel Barty, Ban Bus Europe Media Coordinator

Daniel BartyBarty is responsible for the Ban Bus media operation. His responsibilities include filming and editing brief YouTube clips for the Ban Bus video blog and other media use, drafting media advisories and working with local NGOs on their media strategies for Ban Bus stops, and liaising with local media. He will be supported by CMC’s London-based media officer Natalie Curtis.
Barty is an Australian journalist with national television and print credentials. He now works for Sky television. In May 2008, he was a core member of the CMC’s media team at the negotiations of the Cluster Munition Convention in Dublin, Ireland. Formerly a media officer for Austcare, an Australian humanitarian NGO that serves as contact point for CMC Australia, Barty has an excellent understanding of the cluster munition issue and how to pitch it to media.

Ban Advocates: Cluster Munition Survivors

Three cluster munitions survivors will participate in key stops of the Ban Bus Europe tour: CMC spokesperson Branislav Kapetanovic and Handicap International Ban Advocates Dejan Dikic and Sla?an Vu?kovi?. All survivors were injured by US-manufactured BLU-97 cluster submunitions dropped during NATO air strikes against FYR Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Kapetanovic and Vu?kovi? are former Yugoslav Army deminer and have extensive technical knowledge of the weapon as well as first-hand experience. All three survivors have participated in crucial meetings of the Oslo Process to ban cluster munitions.

Branislav KapetanovicBranislav Kapetanovic was severely injured on 9 November 2000 when a bomblet he was clearing from an airfield exploded. He lost both hands and feet and received extensive hearing and eyesight damage. Kapetanovic spent the next four years in a Belgrade hospital undergoing more than 20 operations. Branislav now lives in Belgrade.

Dejan Dikic experienced a cluster munition strike while at home with his 8-year-old son in Nis, Serbia. A cluster bomblet exploded approximately 50 meters away, injuring Dikic’s knee while shrapnel destroyed the facade of his home. Dejan teaches at an economical school.

Sladan Vucovic Ban AdvocatesSla?an Vu?kovi? was injured on 25 April 1999 while clearing the slopes of Kopaonik National Park. He lost both his arms, injured his leg and chest, and damaged his hearing. Vu?kovi? lives with his wife Dusica and their two children in Nis, Serbia.

Support staff for the Ban Bus

Susan Hensel, CMCSusan Hensel, CMC. While the Ban Bus members are on the road, Susan will make sure everything is taken care of. She will liaison with local hosts, update the tour schedule, and keep in touch with the Ban Bus team members. Susan will also participate on the Ban Bus in Greece.
Mob. +353-86 363 8318
Tel. +353-1 860 3431
Skype: susan.hensel
info at thebanbus.org

Natalie Curtis, CMCNatalie Curtis, CMC. Natalie’s assistance is essential when Daniel is enganging national and international media. She was a core member of the CMC’s media team at the negotiations of the Cluster Munition Convention as well as regional meetings across the world.
Tel. +44-20-7820 0222
natalie at stopclustermunitions.org

Mary WarehamMary Wareham, Human Rights Watch. Mary will pursue and secure proper funding for Ban Bus. She was a key organizer for the Ban Bus USA.
wareham at hrw.org

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Ban cluster bombs!