Project “Poland Free from the Landmines!”

EIYN is currently working on project “Poland Free from the Landmines!”
The activities of the project will take place in Poland, 7-29 November 2011.
Over thousand teenagers will take part in the action of writing letters to the Polish parliament members, regarding the ratification of the Ottawa Treaty by Poland. The Ottawa Treaty aims at eliminating anti – personnel landmines (AP-mines) around the world., and 157 countries are the state parties so far. Poland is the only member of the EU and the only country in the region, which has not ratified the Ottawa Convention, even though Poland was one of the first countries to sign the Treaty in 1997. Polish prime minister has declared that Poland will ratify the Treaty in 2012 and Polish youth want to remind the parliament members that it is them, now, responsible for adoption the Treaty as the state law.

Every year Polish sappers find and remove several hundred mines and dozens of other unexploded ordnance on Polish territory. Every year in Poland there are people being killed or injured in the result of the explosion of unexploded ordnance and mines: in 2006, 21 people (in 2005: 29 people). Poland does not use mines anymore but there is still mines left over from the time of the Second World War.

Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the tragic encounter with landmines. A lot of times young people and children become victims of the mines around the world fall, this is because – the youngest of them – can not read the warnings, the older ones – can not refrain from the temptation of playing with the misfire.

The vast majority of Polish neighbors, including Belarus and Ukraine are Parties to the Convention. Young people in Poland want the ask politicians the question: Why Poland has not yet ratified the Convention?

Several schools in Warsaw and Krakow, youth and student organizations will participate and lead workshops on anti-personnel mines and will write letters “from the heart” to Polish politicians, especially those who won the recent parliamentary elections. Youth representatives will arrive Nov. 28 to Warsaw to give letters to parliamentary members. Some letters will be handed to parliament members in person, during the final event of the campaign, attended by politicians, experts and activists.  Some letters will go to the mailboxes of parliamentarians in the parliament building.

The final gala of the campaign  will take place on 28 November, the same day, that Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of Landmines starts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and 4 days before the 11th anniversary of the first signing of the Treaty. The gala will be attended by: experts in the field of disarmament, humanitarian law, representatives of Polish Army, NGO activists, youth, and parliamentarians. The meeting will take place in the Press Center Foksal in the Journalist House. Foksal 3/5 , in Warsaw.

The project is organized by Religions for Peace, EIYN with 3 partners: Polish Red Cross,  Jewish Association Czulent, Club of Catholic Intelligentsia in Warsaw.

Projekt is financed by the grant from International Campaign to Ban Landmines Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC): “ICBL-CMC Local Campaign Support Project. Investing in Action: Supporting universalisation and implementation of the international treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions” and the funds of 
Religions for Peace.
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