27 May 2008

Killing kids -- around South Africa and around the world

Is this us? Is this really what the "New South Africa" has become -- mobs killing kids the the townships, and our government conniving at killing kids around the world?
Final negotiations are underway right now in Dublin, Ireland on a treaty to ban cluster bombs. Arms manufacturers are pushing governments to riddle the treaty with loopholes and delays -- and the final text will be decided in the next 72 hours.

Cluster munitions don't just kill during war. They scatter small, shiny, unexploded "bomblets" on the ground that hold their deadly charge for years. When children pick them up, they are often maimed or killed. Most governments agree that these weapons should be outlawed, but back-room pressure is rising to undercut a strong ban. We're hearing the South African delegation is one of the problems -- so we need to send an avalanche of messages from South African Avaaz members to Thabo Mbeki.

If enough of us act before the treaty is signed on Friday, we can drown out the weapons merchants and convince governments around the world, South Africa among them, to ban cluster bombs once and for all. Click below to send a message, and then send this email on to friends and family:


The treaty to ban cluster munitions is the result of an inspiring, years-long campaign by citizens from around the world -- with victims and survivors of cluster bombs leading the way. One spokesman for the effort, Branislav Kapetanovic, lost his hands, legs, and some of his hearing and eyesight in a cluster-bomb explosion in his native Serbia. He is now in Dublin, pushing for the treaty -- but he took a moment to sent this message to the Avaaz community (you can see a video on the the Avaaz site):
Cluster bombs are one of the most dangerous weapons of today. The majority of their victims are civilians, affecting millions worldwide. They have absolutely no place in a conflict situation.

This week governments have gathered together in Dublin to outlaw this dangerous weapon. This is a historic meeting of the international community. Some governments are trying to undermine and weaken the treaty with loopholes and exceptions. They are trying to position the arms trade over the importance of lives of people like me.

Rich governments don't always listen to victims, but they will listen to you -- their citizens. Please send a strong message to your government now that calls for a treaty with no exception, no loopholes, and no delays.
Advocates like Kapetanovic have faced down enormous odds to reach this point, the brink of victory. Now, as citizens around the world, we can do our part, and raise a massive cry as the negotiators spar over the final text of the treaty. Watch the video, check out a map of countries that produce or use cluster bombs and send a message to your leaders, all from this link:


In 1997, the people-powered International Campaign to Ban Land Mines won a victory for humanity, earning a Nobel Peace Prize by ending the barbaric practice of laying mines in conflict zones. It would not have been possible without the efforts of thousands of ordinary people. This week, we can take the next step towards a more just, more peaceful world -- a world safer for children, and for generations to come.
really what we are?

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