CWS campaigns against the causes of poverty.
If we want a world where people have enough to eat, a decent standard of living and their dignity and independence, it is time to take action. Work with us for greater justice and an end to systems that make people poor.
Campaign for a Strong and Effective Arms Treaty
Negotiations ended on 27 July 2012 without a final document. Read what happened and what is required to reach an agreement.
The international community is negotiating a legally binding treaty on trade in conventional weapons. The World Council of Churches is leading an interfaith campaign in an effort to reduce the suffering caused by weapons. An update on the campaign reports on church action in the preparation for the final negotiations in July. Invite your church leader to sign up to the interfaith declaration.
Support efforts to Reinstate the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control
Peace Movement Aotearoa and the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition to which CWS belong have questioned the government's decision to disestablish the position of the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control. The responsibility has been allocated to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully. On 11 April 2012 the Dominion Post published an Opinion written by Mary Wareham and Angela Woodward calling for greater commitment to disarmament. You may like to write to the Prime Minister or Minister of Foreign Affairs telling them what you think.
“My sister was killed when she stepped on a land mine while herding cattle and my brother met a similar end while catching fish in a rice paddy. I have lost two brothers and one sister within just five years! My parents don't understand why all this had to happen to their children and they often blame themselves for it.”
Ling Phanh, a resident of Nipeach village, Cambodia.
The legacy of landmines is long lasting. The fear of injury or death is always present but the contaminated land stops development. Once the land is cleared Cambodians can grow food, build schools, clinics and water ponds. Until a few years ago land clearance was a major part of the Church World Service Cambodia programme, helping to identify contaminated land and setting up local trained teams to clear it. With less funding the work has diminished. Church World Service Cambodia works with these communities to make best use of the cleared land so that they can feed and care for themselves with confidence.
Cambodia has a reputation as one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. The landmines continue to kill. In 2009 they injured or killed 243 people, many times less than during the civil war. At the same time Chivv Lim who heads the office collating the relevant statistics reported that over 63,000 people had been killed or injured by landmines since 1979, the end of the Khmer Rouge government. The end of the civil war, a strong educational and awareness focus and demining operations have all helped to improve the situation.
By the end of 2009 600 square kilometres still needed to be cleared. Declining funds have meant that this work will still take some time. Once the land is cleared, people can reclaim it for farming the food that they need. Cambodia has been granted a ten year extension on its commitments under the UN convention banning landmines to complete the task (to 2019). Government and nongovernmental groups like Church World Service Cambodia have less money to do this vital work. More help is needed to make the country safe for its people. Read more about Church World Service Cambodia's demining work.
Help Ban Cluster Bombs
CWS is a member of the Aotearoa/New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition, part of a global movement calling for a total ban of cluster munitions.
Cluster munitions, also called cluster bombs, are now the conventional weapons that pose the gravest danger to civilian populations. They can be fired from air or land-based artillery and then fragment into small bomblets – sometimes hundreds of submunitions. They spread indiscriminately over a large uncontrollable area and are unable to distinguish between military targets and civilians.
The Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition - www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz - is part of the global Cluster Munition Coalition - www.stopclustermunitions.org - an international network of over 200 organisations in 50 countries working together to pressure governments to conclude an international treaty banning cluster munitions.
Help ban cluster munitions. The Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition provides regular actions that you can take to ban cluster munitions. See http://www.stopclusterbombs.org.nz/take-action