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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) > Safe Passage Newsletter

SAFE PASSAGE: A Newsletter for the Humanitarian Mine Action and Small Arms/Light Weapons Communities, September 2005

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Released by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
September 2005
Banner:  Volume 1, Issue 6
 
 
In This Issue:
  • Using Running as Therapy in Ecuador
  • The National Conference for Mine Action, Chicago
  • Welcome, New Partners
  • Profile:  Handicap International France
  • The Polus Center Delegation Visit to Albania 
  • Youth Join Efforts to Clear Landmines for Migrating Elephants
  • Mine Action Part of Rotary International Convention
  • New Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security

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Using Running as Therapy in Ecuador
 
Mr. Eduardo Seis [Achilles Track Club, June 26, 2005]Sport as therapy is a relatively new modality to help survivors of landmine accidents....Late in 2004 in Ecuador, the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Mine Action Program (AICMA) launched a small pilot program using running as therapy. The Achilles Track Club became a partner with the OAS in this effort. [full story]


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The National Conference for Mine Action, Chicago

PM/WRA, in cooperation with the Chicago Coalition for Landmine Action and World Resources Chicago, is sponsoring The National Conference for Mine Action in Chicago, October 6-8. We want to introduce our partner organizations to a motivated group of interested citizens and promote mine action in the greater Chicago area. Two days of outreach activities with landmine displays, demining dog demonstrations, speaking engagements at local schools, universities and to civic groups, networking, and training for partners in public relations, donor development, and fundraising, will serve to raise awareness and resources for mine action in the Chicago region, build partner capacity, and recruit new mine action supporters. The Honorable Anthony Lake, former National Security Adviser and Chairman of the Board of the Marshall Legacy Institute, will deliver the keynote address on the evening of October 6. We hope you will join us! For more information please contact Stacy Davis at (202) 663-0081 or email davissb@state.gov.

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Welcome, New Partners!

PM/WRA is pleased to welcome five new partners to the public-private partnership program: C King Associates Ltd.; Cranfield University; Spirit of Soccer; Students Partnership Worldwide; and World Education. [full story]


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Profile:  Handicap International France

Handicap International logoMore than 20 years ago, thousands of destitute, sick, and wounded Cambodians fled across the Thai-Cambodia border to take sanctuary in refugee camps. They were met by a group of young French doctors who were appalled to discover that hundreds of their patients had become permanently disabled because they had the great misfortune to step on a landmine while fleeing. Many were struggling to care for themselves and their families while attempting to move about on homemade devices from whatever they could find in the jungle. [full story]


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The Polus Center Delegation Visit to Albania 

The Polus Center and LSN with representatives from the Victims of Mines Association and the Albanian Mine Action Executive in Tirana. [Stephen Meyers, Polus Center, June 1, 2005]The Polus Center for Social & Economic Development organized a visit to Albania May 28 to June 4, 2005. With the participation of two other public-private partnership organizations, Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) and C King Associates, Polus sought to better understand the landmine situation in Albania and develop partnerships with local organizations to help fulfill remaining mine action needs.  [full story] 


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Youth Join Efforts to Clear Landmines for Migrating Elephants

Heidi Kuhn, Jane Goodall, and Kyleigh Kuhn. [Roots of Peace, June 24, 2004]On June 24, 2005, Roots of Peace announced a new partnership between its Pennies for Peace Campaign and the Jane Goodall Institute’s California Roots & Shoots youth network to clear landmines from a wildlife sanctuary in southern Angola in a bid to give thousands of local villagers new hope and to aid elephants as well. [full story]


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Mine Action Part of Rotary International Convention

Rotarians at Chicago Convention 2005. [June 20, 2005]Rotarians for Mine Action (RFMA) were out in full force for the Rotary International Convention in Chicago this past June. Celebrating 100 years of Rotary, the convention had the largest attendance in its history: 51,000 people from 123 countries. For the first time, mine action was included in the official symposia of the convention.   [full story]


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New Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security

Robert Joseph was appointed Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in June 2005. In this capacity, he is the principal State Department officer for non- and counter-proliferation matters, as well as for arms control, arms transfers, regional security and defense relations, and security assistance. The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, where PM/WRA resides, is one of the bureaus Mr. Joseph oversees. His most recent appointment was as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counter-proliferation, and Homeland Defense at the National Security Council. We look forward to having him involved in our office’s efforts to curb illicit proliferation of conventional weapons of war and remove and destroy landmines.

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The Achilles Track Club and OAS Joint Effort--Using Running as Therapy In Ecuador
By Jaime Perales, Organization of American States

Mr. Eduardo Seis [Achilles Track Club, June 26, 2005]Sport as therapy is a relatively new modality to help survivors of landmine accidents. Recently, soccer has been used in countries such as Russia for landmine survivors of the Chechnya conflicts. In Colombia, organizations such as the Center of Integral Rehabilitation in Colombia (CIREC) use activities that include aquatics and gymnastics. Late in 2004 in Ecuador, the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Mine Action Program (AICMA) launched a small pilot program using running as therapy. The Achilles Track Club became a partner with the OAS in this effort.

The results of the OAS/Achilles Track Club partnership were very satisfying. Five disabled athletes from the running club in Ecuador, Achilles/Héroes de CENEPA, competed in the Hope and Possibility 5-mile run/walk race, held in June in New York City. "This is a good example of cooperation between a private, non-governmental organization and an international organization such as the OAS," said Ricardo Corral of the Achilles Track Club, coordinator of the Ecuadorian delegation in New York City. Eduardo Seis, a landmine survivor, competed in spite of the loss of his two arms and one eye. Fausto Flores was the only bilateral amputee who ran the five-mile competition with a prosthesis. Another club member, Angel Gonzalez, finished in third place.

Mr. Fausto Flores [Achilles Track Club, June 26, 2005]The OAS mine action program is planning to support a small group of Ecuadorian landmine survivor athletes for the New York City Marathon in November. In this joint effort, Achilles will donate housing, ground transportation, and the registration fees. The OAS, in turn, will donate plane tickets and a meal stipend.

AICMA has spent 14 years clearing mines throughout the Americas. The Achilles Track Club is a non-governmental organization based in New York City. It was founded in 1983 by Dick Traum, a marathon athlete and an above-the-knee amputee, with the goal of encouraging disabled people to participate in long-distance running.

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Welcome, New Partners!
By Peggy Pope, PM/WRA

PM/WRA is pleased to welcome five new partners to the public-private partnership program: C King Associates Ltd., Cranfield University, Spirit of Soccer, Students Partnership Worldwide, and World Education. Our program engages non-profit organizations, foundations, corporations, students, and other groups interested in mine action. We welcome and encourage you, our new partners to connect with other member organizations and to utilize the resources that we can provide. We look forward to working with you.

C King Associates Ltd.

C King Associates Ltd. specializes in the technical and procedural aspects of mine clearance and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). The company regularly conducts assessments of national demining programs on behalf of the U.S. Departments of Defense and State. It has also done work for the NATO EOD Working Group. C King Associates develops equipment to assist deminers and to assist field operators in the identification and disposal of unexploded ordnance. Its products are currently in use by research and development agencies throughout the world, including the U.S. Department of Defense (Fort Belvoir), the European Joint Research Center, the Japanese Government, and the British Defense Evaluation and Research Agency. The company was founded by Colin King, a former British Army Bomb Disposal Officer, who has been engaged in EOD for 19 years. For more information, please contact C King Associates at +44 (0) 1342 826363, or email: info@ckingassociates.co.uk.

Cranfield University

The Cranfield Mine Action unit (CMA) was formed in March 1999 to support the work of British Government Departments and the United Nations in mine action. Cranfield Mine Action’s staff includes mine action professionals, management trainers, research officers, and administrators. The highly skilled team couples experience from academia with practitioners of mine action. It draws on this expertise through close links with former students and technical advisors working in the field. The CMA aims to support improvements in the effectiveness of mine action programs. For more information, please visit www.rmcs.cranfield.ac.uk/ddmsa/cma.

Spirit of Soccer

Spirit of Soccer has long promoted the concept that sport is an excellent medium for disseminating health and safety messages to the youth of the world. Working in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spirit of Soccer’s main effort is to promote Mine Risk Education through coaching clinics throughout the country. Spirit of Soccer has brought Mine Risk Education (MRE) programs to children through poster campaigns and sports equipment distribution, and worked with faculty at the University of Sarajevo to include MRE training as part of the curriculum for all sports teachers and coaches. Spirit of Soccer also works with other mine action NGOs and related government ministries to spread its MRE messages. For more information, contact spiritofsoccer@hotmail.com.

Students Partnership Worldwide

Students Partnership Worldwide (SPW) is an international development charity that recruits and trains young adults (aged 18-28) as volunteer peer educators to lead programs that address urgent health and environmental issues in Africa and Asia. Volunteers are recruited from both the African and Asian countries in which SPW works, and from North America, Europe, and Australia. Through the work of these trained peer educators, SPW’s mission is to empower youth to take control of their lives and to shape the future of their communities. For more information, please visit www.spw.org.

World Education

World Education is dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through economic and social development programs. World Education is well known for its work around the globe in environmental education, community development, maternal and child health, school governance, integrated literacy, mine risk education, HIV/AIDS education and prevention and care, and refugee training. World Education also works to strengthen literacy and adult basic education programs in the United States. Projects are designed to contribute to individual growth, as well as to community and national development. For more information, please visit www.worlded.org.

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Profile: Handicap International France
By Wendy Batson, Handicap International France

Landmine Survivor. [Handicap International France, August 2002]More than 20 years ago, thousands of destitute, sick, and wounded Cambodians fled across the Thai-Cambodia border to take sanctuary in refugee camps. They were met by a group of young French doctors who were appalled to discover that hundreds of their patients had become permanently disabled because they had the great misfortune to step on a landmine while fleeing. Many were struggling to care for themselves and their families while attempting to move about on homemade devices from whatever they could find in the jungle.

Handicap International France, born of that crisis in 1982, is now the largest international NGO of its kind, specializing in providing crucial assistance programs to men, women, and children disabled by armed conflict, diseases like polio or HIV/AIDS, natural disaster, or poverty. Handicap International France now works in over 50 post-war or low-income countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Balkans.

Handicap International France staff work at the local level with the individual and his or her family to ensure access to health services, education, and employment; at the village level to change attitudes about the inclusion of people with disabilities; at the national level to help people learn to develop and implement policies that open opportunities to all citizens; and at the international level to stop the use of indiscriminate weapons that continue to wound years after conflicts end and to help develop policies that open the way for recovery and reintegration.

Handicap International France currently implements mine action programs in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Philippines, Senegal, Serbia-Montenegro, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam -- working to clear landmines from civilian areas, providing mine risk education programs aimed at civilians living or traveling through mined regions, and providing assistance to those unfortunate enough to have been injured.

In 1996, Handicap International France won the Nansen Medal, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ highest honor given for exemplary work with refugees. Handicap International France was also one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. For more information on the work of Handicap International France, visit www.handicap-international.org or contact Wendy Batson at WendyBatson@msn.com.

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The Polus Center Delegation Visit To Albania
By Stephen Meyers, Polus Center

The Polus Center and LSN with representatives from the Victims of Mines Association and the Albanian Mine Action Executive in Tirana. [Stephen Meyers, Polus Center, June 1, 2005]The Polus Center for Social & Economic Development organized a visit to Albania May 28 to June 4, 2005. With the participation of two other public-private partnership organizations, Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) and C King Associates, Polus sought to better understand the landmine situation in Albania and develop partnerships with local organizations to help fulfill remaining mine action needs.

The purpose of the visit was to learn about the current mine action projects and organizations in Albania, and to interview landmine survivors throughout the northern border area to learn about their lives, needs, and goals. The delegation found significant efforts already in place and governmental and grassroots leadership dedicated to all aspects of mine action. However, they also discovered a great need for more support for landmine survivor assistance in the areas of prosthetic rehabilitation and economic assistance. The Polus Center is currently developing project plans with local organizations in the Kukes region to address those needs.

The international delegation included Christine Manula and Dragana Bulic from LSN’s Washington, D.C. and Bosnia-Herzegovina offices; Colin King of C King Associates; Esteban Barahona from Walking Unidos Prosthetic Outreach Center in Leon, Nicaragua; and Michael Lundquist, Stephen Meyers, and two volunteers from the Polus Center. During the week-long visit, the delegation was hosted by the Albanian Mine Action Executive and the Victims of Mines Association and was assisted by the U.S. Embassy in Albania and PM/WRA.

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Youth Join Efforts to Clear Landmines for Migrating Elephants
The Jane Goodall Institute’s California Roots & Shoots Network and Roots of Peace launch youth program partnership

Heidi Kuhn, Jane Goodall, and Kyleigh Kuhn. [Roots of Peace, June 24, 2004]On June 24, 2005, Roots of Peace announced a new partnership between its Pennies for Peace Campaign and the Jane Goodall Institute’s California Roots & Shoots youth network to clear landmines from a wildlife sanctuary in southern Angola in a bid to give thousands of local villagers new hope and to aid elephants as well.

Through this exciting collaboration, every penny collected by Roots & Shoots members will help remove landmines and restore an elephant migration corridor across a four-nation trans-boundary area in Angola, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia. Landmines sown during the Angolan civil war have created deadly barriers for man and animal throughout Angola. An estimated 130,000 elephants, whose numbers are growing annually, are trapped in northern Botswana and are not able to access historical foraging areas in Angola and Zambia due to landmines. Because they cannot move, the elephants are causing serious environmental harm and damaging local villages’ crops.

Clearing the elephant migration routes is part of a wider plan aimed at creating a vast trans-frontier conservation area, which is supported by the governments of Switzerland and the U.S. "Once completed, it would create a continuous wilderness, wetland and wildlife area in southern Africa with significant eco-tourism potential and chance for local people to earn a sustainable livelihood," said Heidi Kühn, founder of Roots of Peace. "We’re delighted to have California Roots & Shoots members join our efforts."

Founded by primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, the Roots & Shoots program inspires youth to make a difference by becoming involved in their communities. Each Roots & Shoots group plans and implements service-learning projects that promote care and concern for animals, the environment, and the human community. Roots of Peace’s Penny Campaign inspires youth to collect pennies and spare change to help war-torn countries restore safe schools and playing fields for youth on former minefields. For more information, visit www.janegoodall.org, www.rootsandshoots.org, and www.rootsofpeace.org.

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Mine Action Part of Rotary International Convention
By Sally Bader Mackle, Rotary Club of Seattle (#4)

Rotarians at Chicago Convention 2005. [June 20, 2005]Rotarians for Mine Action (RFMA) were out in full force for the Rotary International Convention in Chicago this past June. Celebrating 100 years of Rotary, the convention had the largest attendance in its history: 51,000 people from 123 countries. For the first time, mine action was included in the official symposia of the convention. RFMA, an officially recognized action group within Rotary, also hosted a special networking meeting and let its presence be known with four booths during the conference.

Begun by Rotarians attending the international convention in Barcelona in 2003, RFMA now has over 100 members. It also has an interactive web site and a database of projects to allow Rotarians to post and share their efforts and work together. RFMA has created a PowerPoint presentation and an explanatory video, "To Walk in Safety," specifically for Rotary use. RFMA aims to increase awareness and knowledge of landmine issues among Rotarians and Rotaractors (younger members of Rotary) and encourage them to become involved with mine action projects.

With help from a grant from PM/WRA, RFMA organized and held a networking meeting on the first day of the convention. Sixty-two Rotarians and NGO representatives attended from Adopt-A-Minefield, Center for International Rehabilitation, HALO Trust, Handicap International France, Marshall Legacy Institute, PeaceTrees Vietnam, Prosthetics Outreach Foundation, and Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. Participants heard from Rotary Clubs funding demining in Sri Lanka and Cambodia, survivor assistance programs in India, and mine risk education in Vietnam. The NGOs talked about their projects and availability to partner with interested Rotary Clubs.

RFMA had four booths at the convention’s Friendship Hall: Canadians for Mine Action highlighted Night of a Thousand Dinners; the Chicago Coalition for Mine Action featured prosthetics information; Rotary Club of Seattle #4 displayed information about two villages they helped demine in Cambodia; and RFMA featured displays from the U.S. State Department and PeaceTrees Vietnam.

As part of the official program of the convention, Richard Clarke, President of RFMA and a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto, chaired a Mine Action Panel featuring Martin Barber of the United Nations Mine Action Service. Fumio Tamamura of the Tokyo Club, Mahendra Mehta of the Bombay Club, and Scott Fairweather of the Toronto Club talked about their group’s activities in Cambodia, provision of survivors’ assistance with the Jaipur Foot, and the Canadian Landmine Foundation’s work, respectively.

All of us involved with the Chicago Rotary Convention felt it was a huge success for RFMA. We are pleased that two Rotarians from the Copenhagen Club, which has supported mine action in Sri Lanka, have agreed to lead the RFMA work at the June 2006 convention.

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U.S. Department of State Mine Action Partners

Adopt-A-Minefield ; Center for International Rehabilitation ; Center for Teaching International Relations ; Chicago Coalition for Landmine Action ; Children of Armenia Fund ; CIREC ; Clear Path International ; C King Associates ; Cranfield University ; Danish Church Aid ; DC Comics ; Freedom Fields ; Global Care Unlimited ; Golden West Foundation ; Grapes for Humanity ; HALO Trust ; Handicap International - France ; Health Volunteers Overseas ; Humpty Dumpty Institute ; Julia Burke Foundation ; Kids First Vietnam ; Landmine Survivors Network ; Landmines Blow! ; Lipscomb University ; Marshall Legacy Institute ; Medical Care Development International ; Messiah College ; Mine Action Information Center ; Mines Advisory Group ; Newsweek Education Program ; One Sri Lanka Foundation ; Peace Trees Vietnam ; People to People International ; Polus Center ; Prestige Health Care Technologies ; Prosthetics Outreach Foundation ; Roots of Peace ; Rose Charities ; Save the Children ; SFLAG ; Southwest Missouri State University ; Spirit of Soccer ; Students Partnership Worldwide ; Survey Action Center ; United Nations Foundation ; Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation ; Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund ; Warner Bros. ; World Education ; World Rehabilitation Fund.

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More Information

For more information on mine action initiatives, please contact:

U.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) 663-0093
Fax: (202) 663-0090
E-mail:
SteveJE@state.gov

[Also see previous editions.]


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