The View covers breaking news and media on the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World.

From November 30th to December 4th, 2009, hundreds of international organizations will meet in Cartagena, Colombia to assess the impact of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty, a watershed agreement between states and nations to ban all anti-personnel mines.

The blog is an initiative of Survivor Corps, a leading advocate for the rights of conflict survivors. Created by landmine survivors, Survivor Corps believes those who have survived war are most invested in building peace.

Meet the Survivor Corps Team

    Related Links

    Cartagena Summit

    Survivor Corps

    International Campaign to Ban Landmines

    Cluster Munition Coalition

    Mine Ban Treaty

    We were all excited to witness this long-awaited occasion, the day our government officially declared Rwanda a mine-free country.

    The bombs which had littered our schools, markets, bridges, and coffee lands were terrifying and deadly reminders of the Tutsi genocide of 1994.  Once again, our children may walk to school without fear, our farmers may grow coffee without fear, and all may finally enjoy the peace, and peace of mind, that this news has brought us.

    I would like to thank everyone at Survivor Corps for all they have done to assist victims of genocide and landmines.  Above all, congratulations to the people of Rwanda and our government for this wonderful accomplishment. We may now move on to focus on victim assistance, to heal those injured by the past.

    Albert Nzamukwereka, Rwanda Country Coordinator, responding to the government’s declaration that Rwanda is finally mine-free.

    December 02, 2009, 6:15pm   Comments

    Get ready to Rumble in Cartagena!

    • Event: “Rumble in Cartagena” Quad Rugby Match
    • Hosted by: Survivor Corps, the ICBL, the CMC and Fundacion Arcangeles
    • Date: Wednesday, December 2
    • Time: 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    • Location: Colegio Salesianos

    December 3 marks the anniversary of the signing of both the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions as well as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. On the eve of this day, a celebratory event will take place that weaves a memorable sports game with words by key figures in promoting victim assistance and the rights of persons with disabilities. After the game, spectators will have the chance to have a hands-on experience with quad rugby. They will be encouraged to jump in the chairs and have a friendly game with the athletes. The exhibition will end with a cocktail and live music.

    For more information: olivia@icbl.org

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    December 02, 2009, 12:01pm   Comments

    Rumble In Cartagena: Trailer

    December 02, 2009, 10:20am  Comments

    Meet the Survivor Corps Cartagena Team: Tirza Leibowitz

    Tirza Leibowitz leads the rights advocacy team, carrying out the Survivor Campaign for Disability Rights and promoting the rights of conflict survivors worldwide.  Before joining Survivor Corps, Leibowitz worked as Legal Advisor at Bizchut–The Israel Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities.  She spearheaded efforts to influence legislation, litigation, and the public forum, which resulted in major advances in disability rights in Israel, such as accessibility, living in the community, inclusion in education, and access to justice.  Leibowitz brings to Survivor Corps extensive experience in rights advocacy both on the national and international front.  She holds an LLB from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

    December 01, 2009, 6:06pm   Comments

    Zeljko Valas educates Bosnia and Herzegovina delegation on victim assistance

    Today we are very proud of Zeljko Valas, our Bosnia and Herzegovina representative at Cartagena.

    He was asked by the BiH delegation to co-present BiH’s government victim assistance intervention, and he unflinchingly explained where BiH was falling short from a rights-based approach to victim assistance and how to remedy that, even as he was speaking on behalf of the delegation. In his part of the intervention, Zeljko also gave a nice demonstration of what a rights-based approach means, for example, how the four years people are asked to wear out their prosthetics affects their right to health, and how gaps in assistance in being included in the workforce relates to the right to work.

    To read the full text of his speech to the BiH delegation, continue reading.

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    December 01, 2009, 12:05pm   Comments

    A Letter from Tirza: Update from the Summit

    Tirza Leibowitz, Survivor Corps’ Director of Rights Advocacy, gives an update on the progress of Cartagena Summit.

    It’s a pleasure to have met up with everyone — Kim Hoa, Shireen,
    Albert, Zeljko, Ramiz, Jesus, Bekele, Jairo, Riley, (Nate joining this
    evening) — and to work together as a team.

    Highlights from today’s events:

    1. Our side event on Towards Survivorship — From Victim to Citizen —
    facilitated by Jairo, was a smashing success: Full house, very
    interesting discussion. Jairo did a wonderful job facilitating. Riley,
    Shireen, Kim Hoa, and Nerina were all helping behind the scenes.
    Participants were left with a desire for more. The subject is
    pertinent to victim assistance discussed here at the Conference, and
    beyond.  Zeljko was one of the panelists, together with two of our own.

    2. The ICBL just made the closing remarks in the plenary discussion,
    on victim assistance. We were notable authors of this intervention —
    which won applause at the end, and more importantly, pressed forth
    three clear messages to states parties, about the need to support and
    implement the Cartagena Action Plan, continue substantial victim
    assistance funding and earmark it so its allocation to victim
    assistance programs is assured, and to use the CRPD as the human
    rights framework for implementing victim assistance including signing,
    ratifying and implementing it.

    3. In general, the CRPD has been very prominent in most of the states’
    interventions, and in the ICBL one. We can attribute this development
    very much to our efforts over the years and in the last few months
    leading up to the Summit.

    A few more highlights from the last few days:

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    December 01, 2009, 12:00pm   Comments

    Survivor Corps and CIREC to host roundtable discussion

    • Event: Towards Survivorship: From victims to citizens
    • Date: Monday, November 30,
    • Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    • Location: Comisión 4

    Victim assistance can be provided in a way that promotes victimhood. It can highlight reparations alone as a condition for recovery. It can lack the end-goal of creating a true opportunity for full and effective participation in all walks of society.  Or, it can be provided in a way that addresses long-term recovery, facilitates victims’ full reintegration into society and furthers empowerment and self-reliance, with the goal of enabling survivors to themselves define and carry out their life visions.

    In this roundtable discussion, survivors of conflict, experts in the field of victim assistance, and policy makers from around the world will share their experiences in order to identify key issues and propose lines of action for creating effective assistance plans.

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    November 10, 2009, 12:55pm   Comments

    Meet the Survivor Corps Cartagena Team: Kenneth R. Rutherford

    Kenneth R. Rutherford lost both his legs to a landmine in Somalia in 1993. He is currently an Professor Pubilc Affairs at Missouri State University and travels worldwide to promote the economic and social rights for persons with disabilities. He is co-founder of Survivor Corps, formerly the Landmine Survivors Network,. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania, UNHCR in Senegal, and the International Rescue Committee in Kenya and Somalia. He has testified before Congress and published articles in numerous academic and policy journals. He earned his doctorate at Georgetown University.  In 1997, Ken help guide Diana, Princess of Wales, on her final humanitarian trip to Bosnia to meet with a range of landmine survivors and their families. In 2004, Rutherford was inducted into the University of Colorado Hall of Fame for distinguished alumni.  Dr. Rutherford currently serves on the board of directors of Survivor Corps (www.survivorcorps.org)  (Washington, D.C.) and board of experts at the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs (http://www.cusa.uci.edu) at the University of California at Irvine. In 2005, Dr. Rutherford served on a State Department Fulbright Fellowship in Jordan, where he was appointed to the faculty at the University of Jordan in Amman. He taught International Politics and researched Jordan’s leadership role in the Arab in alleviating the negative effects of landmine use and promoting the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.  He is the author of the book Humanitarianism Under Fire: The US and UN Intervention in Somalia (Kumarian Press, 2008).

    October 09, 2009, 1:26pm   Comments

    Meet the Survivor Corps Cartagena Team: Zeljko Volas

    I started working for LSN/LSI in 2000 and I am working as Outreach Coordinator covering Banja Luka region. To date I have participated to many conferences and I will mention some of them here: participation to the 7th Ad Hoc Committee meeting on CRPD in New York in 2006; Intersessionals meeting and RTV training in Geneva in 2006; Regional Conference on CRPD in Belgrade in 2006; development of the National Disability Policy and Entity Disability Strategy in BiH where I coordinated one of the working groups; coordination of Art Colony “Balkana” and member of the Health Insurance Fund for monitoring existing situation of prosthetic devices.

    As for my expectations from participating to Cartagena Summit, I am looking forward to see and learn about progresses countries have achieved in dealing with mine issues, what their plans are for time to come, work with my government to identify realistic objectives and support programmes for landmine survivors, lobby our government to provide more support to landmine survivors and of course to learn new advocacy skills.

    It goes without saying that I am looking forward to see friends that I know and meet new ones in our organizations ;-)

    October 09, 2009, 1:22pm   Comments