Over seven hundreds teenagers took part in the actions of writing letters to the Polish parliament members, regarding the ratification of the Ottawa Treaty (Mine Ban Treaty) by Poland, in the framework of the campaign “Poland Free from the Landmines!” The campaign activities were organized by EIYN in partnership with 3 local (Polish) organizations, that is: Polish Red Cross, Club of Catholic Intelligentsia, Jewish Association Czulent. Campaign was finished with a conference attended by representatives of Polish army, Polish Ministry of Foreign Affaris, Polish Ministry od Defense, academic experts in the field of humanitarian law.
The Ottawa Treaty aims at eliminating anti – personnel landmines (AP-mines) around the world and 158 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.
Anti-personnel landmines are tricky weapons that kill and injures primarily civilians , not soldiers. 15.000-20.000 people every year, worldwide, fall as victims of the landmines. 90% of landmine’s victims are civilians, of which 50% are teenagers and children. Children are particularly vulnerable to the tragic encounter with the landmine, as- the youngest children – can not read the warnings, the older ones – cannot refrain from the temptation of playing with the dud. Most mined countries in the world are: Cambodia, Angola, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina. 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).
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?
Campaign coordinators: Ms Julia Maria Koszewska (RfP EIYN’s Core Team member, vicepresident of KIK), Ms Daniela Malec (RfP EIYN’s Programme and Development Consultant)
Campaign organizer: RfP European Interfaith Youth Network
Polish partners: Club of Catholic Intelligentsia (KIK), Jewish Association Czulent, Polish Red Cross (PCK).
Campaign has been financed by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC): Local Campaign Support Project grant and Religions for Peace funds.