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SAFE PASSAGE: A Newsletter for the Humanitarian Mine Action and Small Arms/Light Weapons Communities, October 2008

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Released by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
October 2008
Description: Safe Passage Newsletter Banner--Volume II, Issue 14 State Dept Photo


In This Issue:

  • Rotaractors Raise $13,000 for Clearance in Cambodia
  • Austcare and Positive Play New PM/WRA Partners
  • LSN Changes Name, Expands Mission
  • Queen Awards MAG’s McGrath an OBE
  • Hail and Farewell
  • 4,000 SA/LW Destroyed in Senegal
  • Vermont Girl Scouts are CHAMPS
  • PM/WRA Hosts Regional MANPADS Seminar in Africa


Rotaractors Raise $13,000 for Clearance in Cambodia
Date: 05/09/2008 Description: Traditional Cambodian dancers entertain attendees at a fundraiser held to support demining efforts in Cambodia. The event, held at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia, raised over $13,000. Photo by Mike KingOn May 9, 2008, Rotaract Clubs of Rotary International District 7620 held a wine tasting and auction at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Washington, D.C., raising over $13,000 for demining in Cambodia. Performances by classical Cambodian dancers from the Cambodian Heritage Foundation were the highlight of the evening. The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) will provide an additional sum of about $6,500. Full Text

Austcare and Positive Play New PM/WRA Partners
Description: Positive Play LogoDescription: Austcare World Humanitarian Aid Logo In the past several months, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has welcomed new partners: Austcare is a global humanitarian aid agency based in Sydney, Australia, working with people affected by conflict and natural disaster to build human security; Positive Play is a grassroots nongovernmental organization that protects young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina by providing risk education and promoting positive expression through sport and culture. Full Text

LSN Changes Name, Expands Mission
Description: Survivors Corps--Rise Above, Give Back LogoFor more than a decade, Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) has served persons with disabilities around the globe—now, it’s time for a change. More than 10 years have passed since LSN started working with landmine survivors, and its new name, Survivor Corps, will reflect the organization’s expanded mission. Survivor Corps will not only help persons with disabilities but also the victims of global conflict. Survivor Corps will provide the tools and support victims need to rebuild their lives, improve their communities, and ultimately work together to break the cycles of violence in their world. It will operate under the credo that no one is better equipped to change the world than those who have been most scarred by its ills. Full Text
Queen Awards MAG’s McGrath an OBE
Date: 05/16/2008 Description: Mines Advisory Group Executive Director Lou McGrath receives the Order of the British Empire from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. © Buckingham Palace Press OfficePM/WRA congratulates Mines Advisory Group (MAG) Executive Director Lou McGrath for receiving the award of Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. McGrath has been the executive director of MAG since 1997, and has been involved in landmine and unexploded ordnance clearance since 1989. He played a key role in the development of landmine-clearance techniques, which MAG has implemented in more than 35 countries since its founding in 1989. Full Text

Hail and Farewell
Location: Washington, DC Description: Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs State Dept PhotoThe Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has new leadership. We welcome Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt (Ret.) as Assistant Secretary; Colonel Stephen T. Ganyard (Ret.) was appointed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Plans, Programs, and Operations; The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement bade farewell to its founding director, Richard Kidd; Jim Lawrence, Principal Deputy Director, is the acting office director; Charles Stonecipher has joined PM/WRA as Program Manager for Cambodia and Laos; and Tony Morin is the 2008–09 James Madison University Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Humanitarian Demining Fellow. Full Text
4,000 SA/LW Destroyed in Senegal
Date: 09/2008 Description: Colleagues from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, reported the successful destruction of 4,000 small arms--MAS 36 submachine guns and MAT 49 rifles--by the Government of Senegal. This brings the total number of weapons destroyed with financial assistance from PM/WRA to 12,000.  Photo courtesy of Major Rob Atienza, Embassy DakarColleagues from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, reported the successful destruction of 4,000 small arms (MAS 36 submachine guns and MAT 49 rifles) by the government of Senegal. This brings the total number of weapons destroyed with financial assistance from PM/WRA to 12,000. Full Text


Vermont Girl Scouts are CHAMPS
Date: 06/2008 Description: Bosnian landmine survivor Anita is pictured above-second from left--with her parents and Maria and Jennifer Mignano. Photo by Kimberly McCaslandAt its annual Clearing the Path Gala in Washington, D.C., the Marshall Legacy Institute recently honored two Girl Scout Troops for their fundraising efforts. Through the Marshall Legacy Institute’s Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS), 20 fourth-graders in Girl Scout Troops 125 and 820 from Essex Junction and Williston, Vermont, raised $20,000 to sponsor a lifesaving mine-detection dog (MDD) named Champlain to “sniff out” landmines and save lives in war-torn Lebanon. Full Text

PM/WRA Hosts Regional MANPADS Seminar in Africa
In July, PM/WRA and the Regional Center on Small Arms (RECSA) hosted the first-ever African Seminar on reducing the threat from manportable air-defense systems (MANPADS). The seminar took place in Nairobi, Kenya, and was attended by representatives from the 12 Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region states, as well as other regional, nongovernmental, and international organizations. Full Text

 
Rotaractors Raise $13,000 for Clearance in Cambodia
by Brendan B. Adams [President, Rotaract Club of Capitol City, Washington, D.C.]

Date: 05/09/2008 Description: Traditional Cambodian dancers entertain attendees at a fundraiser held to support demining efforts in Cambodia. The event, held at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia, raised over $13,000. Photo by Mike King
Traditional Cambodian dancers entertain attendees at a fundraiser held to support demining efforts in Cambodia. The event, held at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia, raised over $13,000.
Date: 05/09/2008 Description: Traditional Cambodian dancers entertain attendees at a fundraiser held to support demining efforts in Cambodia. The event, held at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia, raised over $13,000. Photo by Mike King
[Photos by Mike King]
On May 9, 2008, Rotaract Clubs of Rotary International District 7620 held a wine tasting and auction at the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Washington, D.C., raising over $13,000 for demining in Cambodia. Performances by classical Cambodian dancers from the Cambodian Heritage Foundation were the highlight of the evening. The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) will provide an additional sum of about $6,500.

The $19,500 will be used by The HALO Trust to clear the villages of Lvea, Banteay Ti Muoy and Sangkae in Malai District, home to 16 families (85 people). This “project will ...[significantly] help the people in Cambodia,” said Poonam Chhunchha, District Rotaract Representative for Rotary International District 7620.

Cambodia has more than 25,000 amputees, the highest ratio per capita of any country, with over 63,000 mine and unexploded ordnance casualties recorded since 1979. “These are some of the poorest people in the world, and literally, they’re living, collecting firewood, and planting crops in minefields,” said Kurt Chesko of The HALO Trust. “Children walk through minefields to go to school and people walk through minefields to access water, so clearing this land is an urgent situation in northwestern Cambodia.”

There are approximately 18 Rotary Clubs involved in the mine-removal effort in northwestern Cambodia. To date, 252 landmines have been removed and almost 10 acres of contaminated land have been cleared.
 

Austcare and Positive Play New PM/WRA Partners

In the past several months, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has welcomed new partners:

Description: Austcare World Humanitarian Aid Logo
Austcare
is a global humanitarian aid agency based in Sydney, Australia, working with people affected by conflict and natural disaster to build human security. Austcare reduces the impact of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) on displaced and other vulnerable communities. Austcare’s mine-action program involves mine-clearance activities with partners to enhance community resilience, mine-risk education (MRE) and support for survivors and their communities. It also focuses on activities to prevent and reduce armed violence in conflict-affected communities and to promote recovery. It works in the Pacific, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Afghanistan. To learn more, visit: www.austcare.org.au.

Description: Positive Play Logo
Positive Play
is a grassroots nongovernmental organization that protects young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina by providing risk education and promoting positive expression through sport and culture. Positive Play’s programming targets over 20,000 direct and 200,000 indirect beneficiaries per year. For more information, e-mail info@positiveplay.info, or visit www.positiveplay.blogspot.com.

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs encourages the engagement of the private sector in helping rid the world of landmines and small arms/light weapons through its Private-Public Partnership Program. For more information, visit: www.state.gov/t/pm/wra/partners/.

 

LSN Changes Name, Expands Mission
by Tracey Begley, Survivor Corps

Description: Survivors Corps--Rise Above, Give Back Logo
For more than a decade, Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) has served persons with disabilities around the globe—now, it’s time for a change. More than 10 years have passed since LSN started working with landmine survivors, and its new name, Survivor Corps, will reflect the organization’s expanded mission.

Survivor Corps will not only help persons with disabilities but also the victims of global conflict. Survivor Corps will provide the tools and support victims need to rebuild their lives, improve their communities, and ultimately work together to break the cycles of violence in their world. It will operate under the credo that no one is better equipped to change the world than those who have been most scarred by its ills. Survivor Corps believes there is a way to break the cycle of violence, and it begins with showing survivors a new, more hopeful way forward.

As with their work as LSN, Survivor Corps will continue to work through three formats: peer support to heal the individual, training to rebuild communities, and advocacy to reform policies around the world. The group will also launch a program to help American military service members who are returning home after combat by connecting veterans to each other, their communities, and to the local and online services that exist to help them reintegrate and recover.

For more information on the group’s name change and expanded mission, visit its new Web site: http://www.survivorcorps.org.

 
Queen Awards MAG’s McGrath an OBE

Date: 05/16/2008 Description: Mines Advisory Group Executive Director Lou McGrath receives the Order of the British Empire from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. © Buckingham Palace Press Office
Mines Advisory Group Executive Director Lou McGrath receives the Order of the British Empire from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. [Buckingham Palace Press Office Photo]

PM/WRA congratulates Mines Advisory Group (MAG) Executive Director Lou McGrath for receiving the award of Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

McGrath has been the executive director of MAG since 1997, and has been involved in landmine and unexploded ordnance clearance since 1989. He played a key role in the development of landmine-clearance techniques, which MAG has implemented in more than 35 countries since its founding in 1989. “I am really proud … of this honor,” he said. “I want to accept this award on behalf of everyone in MAG. Our staff carry out difficult and dangerous work, and their efforts have given more opportunities for people to live without the threats and restrictions posed by landmines.”

Congratulations!
 
Hail and Farewell

The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has new leadership. We welcome Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt (Ret.), who was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs on August 8, 2008. Prior to assuming this position, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy. Kimmitt has extensive experience in command, operational, and policy positions.

Colonel Stephen T. Ganyard (Ret.) was appointed in March 2008 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Plans, Programs, and Operations in the PM Bureau. Ganyard will have responsibility for PM/WRA, and two other offices. Previously, Ganyard served as the Chief of Staff and Military Advisor to the Counselor of the Department of State. He is a combat-decorated, career Marine Corps officer who served extensively overseas.

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement bade farewell to its founding director, Richard Kidd, in July. We wish him well in his new career at the Department of Energy.

Jim Lawrence, Principal Deputy Director, is the acting office director. Lawrence was a Fulbright teacher (Indonesia) and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Morocco) and staff officer before joining the State Department to work on refugee and migration programs. He transferred to mineaction work in 1998.

Charles Stonecipher has joined PM/WRA as Program Manager for Cambodia and Laos. As an Army and civilian helicopter pilot, he worked in Vietnam, Germany, Iran, and Alaska before entering the Foreign Service in 1989 as a Political Officer. His State Department postings have included Guinea-Bissau, Canada, Albania, Macedonia, Switzerland, and Botswana, and he has served in domestic assignments in the peacekeeping office of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs and on detail to the National Democratic Institute.

Tony Morin is the 2008–09 James Madison University Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Humanitarian Demining Fellow. Morin graduated from JMU with a bachelor’s degree in justice studies in May 2008, focusing on global humanitarian issues. He worked at JMU’s Mine Action Information Center for two years during college. In PM/WRA, Tony will assist with the office’s Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Estonia conventional-weapons destruction programs.
 

PM/WRA Hosts Regional MANPADS Seminar in Africa
By Stephanie Pico, PM/WRA

In July, PM/WRA and the Regional Center on Small Arms (RECSA) hosted the first-ever African Seminar on reducing the threat from manportable air-defense systems (MANPADS). The seminar took place in Nairobi, Kenya, and was attended by representatives from the 12 Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region states, as well as other regional, nongovernmental, and international organizations. The seminar was opened by Kenya’s Deputy Defense Minister, Joseph Nkaissery, and closed by the United States’ Special Envoy on MANPADS Threat Reduction, Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield. Other U.S. agencies, the United Kingdom, and NGOs presented on the global MANPADS threat, the potential economic impact of an incident in the region, and solutions for reducing the illicit proliferation of these weapons. Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi highlighted some of their national efforts to deal with the issue. The conference resulted in all RECSA member states agreeing that:

  • All countries (not just producers and major importers) are to maintain and control weapons from production to transfer and disposal, and are to develop and adopt appropriate best-practice guidelines for handling their stocks of MANPADS.

  • The region needs to adopt a coordinated and effective approach in strengthening security-management systems to prevent the proliferation of MANPADS. Such an approach should ensure enhanced transparency and information sharing.

  • A regional architectural approach to conflict management/ prevention is needed to curb the demand for small arms and light weapons.

The United States has also purchased a total of 41 marking machines within the last two years for RECSA members and has provided a seminar on marking. The United States plans to continue to support RECSA in its efforts.


  • PM/WRA has helped destroy over 26,000 MANPADS missiles in 26 countries since 2003.

  • Since 2006, the U.S. government has provided about $1 million to support RECSA.

 

4,000 SA/LW Destroyed in Senegal

Date: 09/2008 Description: Colleagues from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, reported the successful destruction of 4,000 small arms--MAS 36 submachine guns and MAT 49 rifles--by the Government of Senegal. This brings the total number of weapons destroyed with financial assistance from PM/WRA to 12,000.  Photo courtesy of Major Rob Atienza, Embassy Dakar
[Photo courtesy of Major Rob Atienza, Embassy Dakar]

Date: 09/2008 Description: Colleagues from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, reported the successful destruction of 4,000 small arms--MAS 36 submachine guns and MAT 49 rifles--by the Government of Senegal. This brings the total number of weapons destroyed with financial assistance from PM/WRA to 12,000.  Photo courtesy of Major Rob Atienza, Embassy Dakar
[Photo courtesy of Major Rob Atienza, Embassy Dakar]

Colleagues from the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, reported the successful destruction of 4,000 small arms (MAS 36 submachine guns and MAT 49 rifles) by the government of Senegal. This brings the total number of weapons destroyed with financial assistance from PM/WRA to 12,000.

 

Vermont Girl Scouts are CHAMPS
By Kimberly McCasland, MLI

Date: 06/2008 Description: Bosnian landmine survivor Anita is pictured--second from left--with her parents and Maria and Jennifer Mignano. Photo by Kimberly McCasland
Bosnian landmine survivor Anita is pictured--second from left--with her parents and Maria and Jennifer Mignano. [Photo by Kimberly McCasland]
At its annual Clearing the Path Gala in Washington, D.C., the Marshall Legacy Institute recently honored two Girl Scout Troops for their fundraising efforts. Through the Marshall Legacy Institute’s Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS), 20 fourth-graders in Girl Scout Troops 125 and 820 from Essex Junction and Williston, Vermont, raised $20,000 to sponsor a lifesaving mine-detection dog (MDD) named Champlain to “sniff out” landmines and save lives in war-torn Lebanon.

Date: 06/2008 Description: Anita and Maria pose with life-changing Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout Troops 125 and 820 from Essex Junction and Williston, Vermont, raised $20,000 through the Marshall Legacy Institute's Children Against Landmines Program
Anita and Maria pose with life-changing Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scout Troops 125 and 820 from Essex Junction and Williston, Vermont, raised $20,000 through the Marshall Legacy Institute's Children Against Landmines Program. [Photo by Kimberly McCasland]
But the girls didn’t stop there. With support from Marcelle and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the scouts raised an additional $6,000 to provide a new prosthetic leg for a young landmine survivor named Anita in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Champlain was trained.

Troop 125 Leader Jennifer Mignano traveled with her daughter Maria to Bosnia in June on MLI’s Donor Delegation Trip. Once there, they attended the CHAMPS International Meeting in Sarajevo and met Anita and her parents.

The Girl Scouts are more determined than ever to continue the CHAMPS program. They plan to have a monthly video conference with a school in southern Lebanon and provide assistance to young landmine survivors there.

Thousands of students have helped raise more than $320,000 in CHAMPS Campaigns throughout the U.S. in the past three years, sponsoring 16 lifesaving MDDs. In addition, they have raised more than $24,000 to help children who have been injured by landmines.

According to MLI, the organization has donated nearly 100 of the more than 800 MDDs operating in mine-contaminated countries around the world. MDD programs have been established in 27 of the 72 mine-affected countries so far.

GO CHAMPS!

  

U.S. Department of State Mine Action Partners

Adopt-A-Minefield | Association of Volunteers in International Service | AustCare | C King Associates Ltd | Center for International Rehabilitation | Center for Teaching International Relations | Children of Armenia Fund | Children’s Surgical Centre | CIREC | Clear Path International | Coalition Against Landmines | Cranfield University | DanChurchAid | Danish Demining Group | DC Comics | Demining Agency for Afghanistan | Freedom Fields USA | Global Care Unlimited | Golden West Humanitarian Foundation | Grapes for Humanity | The HALO Trust | Handicap International–France | Health Volunteers Overseas | Help Handicapped International | Humpty Dumpty Institute | Information Management and Mine Action Programs Inc. | International Eurasia Press Fund | Iraqi Mine and UXO Clearance Organization | The Julia Burke Foundation | Kids First Vietnam | Landmines Blow! | Lipscomb University | MAG | Marshall Legacy Institute | MCPA–Afghanistan | MDC–Afghanistan | Medical Care Development International | Messiah College Landmine Action Project | Mine Action Information Center | One Sri Lanka Foundation | Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghanistan Rehabilitation | PeaceTrees Vietnam | People to People International | The Polus Center for Social & Economic Development | Positive Play | Prestige Health Care Technologies | Prosthetics Outreach Foundation | Roots of Peace | Dr. Ken Rutherford/Missouri State University | Save the Children | Schonstedt Instrument Company | South Florida Landmine Awareness Group | Spirit of Soccer | Students Partnership Worldwide | Survey Action Center | Survivor Corps | Swiss Foundation for Mine Action | United for Colombia | United Nations Foundation | Veterans for America | Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund | World Education | World Rehabilitation Fund

 
More Information

For more information on mine action initiatives, please contact:

Description: Safe Passage Contact InformationU.S. Department of State
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
2121 Virginia Ave. NW, Room 6100
Washington, DC 20522
Phone: (202) 663-0081
Fax: (202) 663-0090
E-mail: DavisSB@state.gov

[Also see previous editions.]


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