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SAFE PASSAGE: A Newsletter for the Humanitarian Mine Action and Small Arms/Light Weapons Communities, December 2007

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Released by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
December 2007
Banner:  Volume 2, Issue 12

In This Issue:

  • Public-Private Partnership Program Marks 10th Anniversary with Eight New Partners
  • Welcome New Partners
  • PeaceTrees Vietnam Celebrates 12 Years of Post-War Renewal at Embassy of Vietnam
  • Love is in Her Heart: Mary Wilson of the Supremes Helps Combat Global Landmine Problem
  • Alameda High School’s Pennies for Peace Campaign
  • Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative
  • Announcement of Adaptive Technology Catalog


Public-Private Partnership Program Marks 10th Anniversary with Eight New Partners 
Logo: 1997-2007 Public-Private Partnerships, Landmine Impact FreeThe Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is pleased to mark the 10th anniversary of its Humanitarian Mine Action Public-Private Partnership Program, which enlists civil society support for clearing persistent landmines and explosive remnants of war, teaching mine-risk education, and rendering assistance to survivors of landmine accidents around the world. [full story]
Welcome New Partners 
In the past few months, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has welcomed eight new partners to our decade-old Public-Private Partnership Program. We hope all partners will be able to network and collaborate with each other in the future. [full story


PeaceTrees Vietnam Celebrates 12 Years of Post-War Renewal at Embassy of Vietnam
Two Mekong musicians perform at the event. Photo by Drew KleibrinkPeaceTrees Vietnam, a nongovernmental organization based in Bainbridge Island, Washington, has been helping to strengthen ties between the United States and Vietnam by removing landmines, providing mine survivors benefits, teaching and mine-risk education (MRE), and planting trees in Vietnam for over a decade.  [full story

Love is in Her Heart: Mary Wilson of the Supremes Helps Combat Global Landmine Problem
Former Supremes member, Mary Wilson, recently visited Sri Lanka and Laos as HDI’s new spokesperson. Photo by HDIMary Wilson, one of the singers who formed the world-famous Supremes, visited the U.S. Department of State on September 26 to meet with Ambassador Stephen Mull, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, and members of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) to discuss the global landmine problem....She will help the HDI raise public awareness about the landmine threat and encourage civil society support to help solve it. [full story]
Alameda High School’s Pennies for Peace Campaign
Students collect spare change at Alameda High School. Photo by Roots of PeaceThe Roots of Peace Pennies for Peace Campaign has been running in Alameda High School (California) since the start of October 2006. Students of the Medical Society Club have actively advertised this campaign by putting up posters around the school and by using individual donation buckets, which capture everyone’s attention. [full story]
Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative
Schonstedt Instrument Company, based in Kearneysville, West Virginia, announced on October 10 that it would donate 15 of its most rugged magnetic locators to Laos to assist the country with clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO).  [full story]
Announcement of Adaptive Technology Catalog
The Mine Action Information Center and WRA are pleased to announce the Adaptive Technology Catalog is ready! To download a PDF or order a CD, visit www.maic.jmu.edu. 


Public-Private Partnership Program Marks 10th Anniversary with Eight New Partners

PM/WRA 10th Anniversary Public-Private Partnership LogoThe Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is pleased to mark the 10th anniversary of its Humanitarian Mine Action Public-Private Partnership Program, which enlists civil society support for clearing persistent landmines and explosive remnants of war, teaching mine-risk education, and rendering assistance to survivors of landmine accidents around the world. Since its founding in October 1997, this Public-Private Partnership Program has grown to include 61 nongovernmental organizations, civic associations, educational groups, and corporations.

These partners have contributed resources that reinforce United States government efforts to combat the global landmine problem. Recognizing that donor governments alone cannot solve the problem soon enough--even with the U.S. government’s more than $1.2 billion in mine-action assistance since 1993--these groups are speeding the pace at which affected countries can be freed from the humanitarian impact of landmines and other explosive hazards.

PM/WRA is especially pleased to welcome our newest partners to the program: Coalition Against Land Mines (CALM), Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA), Iraqi Mine & UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO), Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA, Afghanistan), Mine Detection Center (MDC, Afghanistan), Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR), Schonstedt Instrument Company, and the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD).


Welcome New Partners

In the past few months, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has welcomed eight new partners to our decade-old Public-Private Partnership Program. We hope all partners will be able to network and collaborate with each other in the future.

CALM (Coalition Against Landmines) is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to serve child landmine survivors and to promote awareness, education and rehabilitation. CALM focuses on facilitating vital rehabilitation services and education to child landmine survivors and also works to raise public mine awareness, particularly of the young people in the United States. To learn more, please visit www.calmint.org or e-mail calm@calmint.org.

The Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA) has been clearing hazardous and mine-contaminated areas in Afghanistan since 1990. DAFA operates with a complete tool box of manual-demining teams, mechanical-demining units, explosives-ordnance-disposal (EOD) teams, and mine-detecting dog sets. For more information please contact the Director of DAFA at sattar_dafa@yahoo.ca and dafafinance@yahoo.com.

The Iraq Mine and UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO) has performed a variety of humanitarian and reconstruction and economic-development clearance projects throughout central and southern Iraq, as well as unexploded ordnance (UXO) destruction projects since 2003. In 2008, IMCO plans to expand its operational capabilities to include small arms/light weapons (SA/LW) destruction and make an additional contribution to the internal security posture of Iraq. For additional information, please contact the IMCO Director, Zahim Jihad Mutar, at zahimmutar@yahoo.com.

The Afghanistan-based Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA), has specialized in humanitarian mine action, including surveys, mine-detecting dogs, clearance, EOD, mine-risk education (MRE) and training since 1990. MCPA also focuses on the development and maintenance of information-management systems for mine action. For more information please contact Haji Attiqullah at hajiattiqullah@hotmail.com.

The Mine Detection Center (MDC) was established in 1989 with the goal to make Afghanistan mine- and explosive remnant of war-impact free. From 1994 to 2006, MDC cleared over 169 million square meters of minefields, about half of what the Afghan Mine Action Program has achieved. MDC also has a large and well-established mine-detecting dog capability. It is especially proud that it helped establish the MDD capacity in Yemen and Tajikistan. For more information, contact Mohammad Shohab Hakimi at mdcafghan@hotmail.com or mdcafghan@yahoo.com.

The Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR) was established in 1990 to teach Afghan refugees and internally displaced Afghans about the dangers of landmines and UXO left behind by the Soviet and Afghan Communist Armies, and by Afghan insurgents. In addition to providing MRE by deploying community-based teams, OMAR conducts a demining program, hiring and training more than 1500 deminers. For further information, please contact Mr. Fazel Karim Fazel, CEO, at fazel02@hotmail.com, or visit the website at www.omar.org.af.

Schonstedt Instrument Company manufactures magnetic locators used in the detection of landmines and UXO. The company has teamed with the United Nations to make its demining tools available, at no cost, to world populations for which UXO clearance would not otherwise be possible. The tools are donated by Schonstedt in the name of its customers as well as individual donors. The initiative represents an open-ended commitment by Schonstedt to humanitarian demining efforts in underserved areas around the world. To learn more, contact Bob Ebberson at bebberson@schonstedt.com or visit www.schonstedt.com.

The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) is an international mine-action organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. This private, independent, and nonprofit organization was created in 1997. Since then, it has implemented a number of mine clearance projects in more than 15 different countries. FSD’s focus is on locating and destroying landmines and unexploded ordnance to prevent accidents. FSD’s overarching aim is to alleviate and diminish the social, economic and environmental impacts of landmines and unexploded ordnance, thus creating favorable conditions for the reconstruction and development of war-torn countries. For more information, visit www.fsd.ch.


PeaceTrees Vietnam Celebrates 12 Years of Post-War Renewal at Embassy of Vietnam
By Jerilyn Brusseau, Founder, PeaceTrees Vietnam

The author meets Tran Minh Dzung and Mekong musician at Embassy of Vietnam. Photo by Drew KleibrinkPeaceTrees Vietnam, a nongovernmental organization based in Bainbridge Island, Washington, has been helping to strengthen ties between the United States and Vietnam by removing landmines, providing mine survivors benefits, teaching and mine-risk education (MRE), and planting trees in Vietnam for over a decade. On Thursday, June 28, Vietnam’s Ambassador to the United States co-hosted with PeaceTrees Vietnam a reception at the Embassy of Vietnam to raise funds for the PeaceTrees Friendship Village, built on a former U.S. Marine combat base in Quang Tri province.

“More than three decades have passed since the end of the war in Vietnam, yet its consequences keep lingering in my country. People are still suffering and dying from landmines, unexploded ordnance, and Agent Orange,” said His Excellency Nguyen Tam Chien, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States of America. “Therefore we welcome and deeply appreciate efforts by PeaceTrees Vietnam along with other American organizations to help heal the wounds of war and to foster a new and lasting friendship between our nations.”

Guests gathered in celebration and support of PeaceTrees Village in Quang Tri province, where 100 homes for 650 residents are nearing completion on the safely cleared site of a former U.S. Marine combat base, once infested by landmines and various explosive remnants of war. The village, complete with running water and electricity, boasts a community center, library and kindergarten, and provides homes to several landmine survivors and their families.

The PeaceTrees Village Kindergarten was built and dedicated in memory of Dave Hackett and Steve Kelsey, U.S. Marine Corps veterans who served in Quang Tri province. Classmates from their Princeton class of 1965 funded the school in their honor.

Two Mekong musicians perform at the event. Photo by Drew KleibrinkPeaceTrees Vietnam was founded in 1995 by the family of 1st Lieutenant Daniel B. Cheney, U.S. Army helicopter pilot killed in action in 1969, as a citizens’ effort to express honor and respect for all the losses to families in wartime in an effort to build trust and understanding with the Vietnamese people.

PeaceTrees Vietnam was the first U.S. nongovernmental organization permitted by the Vietnamese government to support humanitarian mine action there, including the removal of landmines and unexploded ordnance, providing medical and social assistance to survivors and MRE, as well as citizen diplomacy tree planting efforts.

The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has provided grants to support PeaceTrees Vietnam’s humanitarian demining team in Quang Tri province. Richard G. Kidd IV, Director of that Office and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, welcomed guests in order to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to humanitarian mine action and peace-building in Vietnam and around the world.

“A major pillar of the U.S. Department of State’s humanitarian mine action effort is our Public-Private Partnership Program to encourage civil society support for alleviating the impact of persistent landmines and explosive remnants of war. We have over 50 valued Public-Private Partners at present, and PeaceTrees Vietnam is one of them.

“We appreciate PeaceTrees Vietnam’s efforts to raise widespread awareness of the issue and to mobilize resources to save lives and limbs, reinforcing friendly relations between the people of the United States and of Vietnam,” he noted.

The reception was made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Boeing Company and Firesteed Wineries of Oregon.

For more information about PeaceTrees, please contact Lindsay Herbst at 1-206-842-7986 or visit their website at www.peacetrees.org.


Love is in Her Heart: Mary Wilson of the Supremes Helps Combat Global Landmine Problem
By John Stevens, PM/WRA

Former Supremes member, Mary Wilson, recently visited Sri Lanka and Laos as HDI’s new spokesperson. Photo by HDIMary Wilson, one of the singers who formed the world-famous Supremes, visited the U.S. Department of State on September 26 to meet with Ambassador Stephen Mull, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, and members of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) to discuss the global landmine problem. Wilson, who was appointed Cultural Ambassador by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, is now a spokesperson for the nongovernmental organization, the Humpty Dumpty Institute (see http://www.thehdi.org/mary.htm). She will help the HDI raise public awareness about the landmine threat and encourage civil society support to help solve it.

In partnership with PM/WRA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Humpty Dumpty Institute, whose tagline is “Putting the Pieces Together Again,” has launched several initiatives over the years to raise over $9 million to clear landmines and render support to landmine survivors in Angola, Armenia, Eritrea, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Accompanied by Ralph Cwerman, the President of HDI, among others, Wilson traveled to Sri Lanka and Laos from November 1 to 10 to review HDI’s mine action programs and raise awareness of the continued devastation of landmines around the world. She visited former battlefields and mined areas where the government has fought with the terrorist group, the Tamil Tigers, for many years, as well as HDI’s two year, $4 million Food for Progress project to clear mines and redevelop the dairy industry on the war-ravaged Jaffna peninsula. The highlight of the tour was Wilson’s fund-raising concert to benefit Sri Lankan landmine survivors.

She then proceeded to Laos to learn first-hand about its significant problem with unexploded ordnance (UXO) that dates back to the Vietnam War, and to visit a UXO clearance and school-feeding program. HDI received a $2.93 million Food for Education grant from the USDA to improve basic education and address Laotian UXO as a barrier to school attendance.

As a Supreme, Wilson imagined a day in which “Every head would be held up high, there’d be sunshine in everyone’s sky…” Thanks to her humanitarian efforts and the love in her heart, more people in landmine and UXO-impacted countries will have sunshine in their days.


Alameda High School’s Pennies for Peace Campaign
By Charlene Chui, student

Students collect spare change at Alameda High School. Photo by Roots of PeaceThe Roots of Peace Pennies for Peace Campaign has been running in Alameda High School (California) since the start of October 2006. Students of the Medical Society Club have actively advertised this campaign by putting up posters around the school and by using individual donation buckets, which capture everyone’s attention.

Each Friday, two or three club members staff a booth in the main hallway by the school’s entrance. They spend their lunchtime greeting fellow students and convincing them to donate spare change for the cause. Our club has recognized the importance of making a difference in other people’s lives, especially those who have been heavily impacted by disaster. The campaign has served as an outlet for us to connect with other communities and to raise money for a good cause. It has been a productive learning experience for us all.


Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative

Schonstedt Instrument Company, based in Kearneysville, West Virginia, announced on October 10 that it would donate 15 of its most rugged magnetic locators to Laos to assist the country with clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Per capita, Laos is one of the most severely UXO-contaminated countries in the world, and the 3.5 pound Schonstedt handheld locators have proven to be particularly effective in detecting unexploded cluster bomblets which litter the country. Schonstedt President Mike Head hosted representatives of the Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), the U.N. Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the U.S. Department of State (PM/WRA), and several members of the media in commemorating the donation.

In total, Schonstedt has contributed 50 detectors to UNMAS, which has delivered them to Lao PDR, Tajikistan, Kenya and Somalia-- countries also afflicted by UXO but without the resources needed to cope with the problem. In addition, the company has recently joined the 10-year-old Public-Private Partnership Program for Mine Action at the U.S. State Department in order to find additional ways to provide demining tools to underserved areas of the world.

In its humanitarian matching program, Schonstedt currently donates one magnetic locator in the name of its customer when that customer purchases one of its underground pipe and cable locators. According to Head, the company is now receiving requests from individuals and groups who wish simply to buy a magnetic locator and donate it directly to a country where it is most needed for UXO clearance.

For more information, please contact Bob Ebberson, Director of Business Development, Schonstedt Instrument Company, at bebberson@schonstedt.com and visit Schonstedt’s website at: www.schonstedt.com.


U.S. Department of State Mine Action Partners

Adopt-A-Minefield | AVSI Center for International Rehabilitation | Center for Teaching International Relations | Children of Armenia Fund | CIREC | Clear Path International | C King Associates | Coalition Against Landmines | Cranfield University | DanChurchAid | DC Comics | Danish Demining Group | Demining Agency for Afghanistan | Freedom Fields USA | Global Care Unlimited | Golden West Humanitarian Foundation | Grapes for Humanity | HALO Trust | Handicap International--France | Health Volunteers Overseas | Humpty Dumpty Institute | HHI | International Eurasia Press Fund | Iraqi Mine and UXO Clearance Organization | Julia Burke Foundation | Kids First Vietnam | Landmine Survivors Network | Landmines Blow! | Lipscomb University | MAG | Marshall Legacy Institute | MCPA--Afghanistan | MDC--Afghanistan | Medical Care Development International | Messiah College | Mine Action Information Center | Newsweek Education Program | OMAR | One Sri Lanka Foundation | PeaceTrees Vietnam | People to People International | Polus Center | Prestige Health Care Technologies | Prosthetics Outreach Foundation | Roots of Peace | Rose Charities | Save the Children | Schonstedt Instrument Company | SFLAG | Dr. Ken Rutherford/Missouri State University | Spirit of Soccer | Students Partnership Worldwide | Survey Action Center | Swiss Foundation for Mine Action | United for Colombia | United Nations Foundation | Veterans for America | Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund | Warner Bros. | World Education | World Rehabilitation Fund


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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