Gender Balance for Better Disarmament

For International Women's Day, let's look back at some of our contributions this year to discussions about gender in disarmament and women's empowerment. The theme of this year's International Women's Day is #balanceforbetter and we know that the outcomes are better when disarmament efforts have gender balance.

In August, we were part of the first ever UN briefing on gender and autonomous weapons at the Convention on Conventional Weapons' Group of Governmental Experts meeting and launched a new briefing note on bias and autonomous weapons. We were so pleased to have the Canadian Ambassador chair the event. 

Canada and the European Union hosted the first ever meeting of Women Foreign Ministers in Montreal and we were there, working with Canadian civil society and our colleagues at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons to highlight humanitarian disarmament.

With the support of the Government of Ireland, we launched our new Mine Action Fellows program at the 17th Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty with two of our Fellows addressing a lunch time briefing.

Just last month, our Program Manager presented on gender equality and youth engagement in mine action during a plenary panel at the National Mine Action Directors Meeting in Geneva. 

Humanitarian disarmament is often led by women and the meaningful participation of women from around the world is crucial to making progress towards a safer, more peaceful world. International Women's Day gives us an opportunity to look back at what we've accomplished and reiterate our commitment to diversity in disarmament.



Stepping up for inclusive mine action

From February 5th to 8th, Mines Action Canada attended the National Mine Action Directors' Meeting for the first time. The National Mine Action Directors' Meeting is a technical meeting focused on field operations rather than the Ottawa Treaty but this year, our Program Manager, Erin Hunt, was asked to address the plenary during a panel discussion on Building Stronger Communities: Youth and Women in Mine Action. Her presentation focused on our youth programming and on gender equality. 

The presentation explored MAC's understanding of empowerment and our TEAM approach to youth engagement before speaking about how masculinity affects who belongs in mine action. This image which includes phrases from over 15 languages all outlining a narrow understanding of masculinity.

The presentation included the following ideas about how the mine action sector can step up for a more inclusive mine action which will be a more successful mine action.

  • One take away from our youth program is the importance of mentorship and action –getting to work with a leader who looks like you and seeing your work have an impact in empowering.
  • We need to seek out and hear from expertise that looks and sounds different.
  • We need to be careful that efforts to highlight diversity are not inadvertently cementing limiting stereotypes. For example, if you are profiling a female staff member, don’t refer to her as one of the few women or one of a select number of women working in mine action. Women in mine action are just regular women doing a job. Making it sound like women have to be special to work in mine action reduces the likelihood a woman would see themselves in the job and answer your job posting.
  • Please remember youth and women are not homogenous groups and make sure that all sorts of people from those demographics are consulted and included.
  • We should learn and talk about gender/diversity more. We often see the same faces at side events about gender or youth – and usually they are women. It would be great to see more people especially men showing up for these sessions so I’m issuing a challenge for everyone in this room to attend at least one meeting, lecture, side event, panel or training on gender or diversity this year.
  • When in doubt talk to the Gender and Mine Action Program.
  • Finally, if the structures, systems and environment we work in do not have space for youth, women or anyone else who doesn’t fit the current understandings of who belongs in mine action, we need to think creatively, adapt and change the structures.

 You can read the whole presentation here and the audio recording of the session is available here


The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is Hiring!!!

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and its co-founder Mines Action Canada are hiring! 

Join the groundbreaking Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and help us prohibit fully autonomous weapons. We are looking forward to welcoming a passionate, organized and energetic Campaign Outreach Manager to our global campaign based out of Mines Action Canada's Ottawa office.

Click here for the full job description or view it below. Application deadline is February 8, 2019.

No emails or phone calls please.



Position Title:  Campaign Outreach Manager, Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

Location:  Ottawa, Ontario

Reporting Relationships:   Reports to: Coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

Supervises: Volunteers, interns and consultants

Contract Period:  One year renewable depending on funding. This is a full-time position.

Salary Range:  We offer a competitive salary and benefits package.


Position Summary:

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is seeking to hire a Campaign Outreach Manager to support its rapidly-growing international coalition of non-governmental organizations working to pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is currently comprised of 89 non-governmental organizations in 50 countries, including roboticists, Nobel Peace Laureates, and ordinary citizens seeking to prohibit weapons systems that would select and engage targets without meaningful human control. Many people who led the NGO efforts to successfully ban antipersonnel landmines, cluster munitions, and nuclear weapons are involved in the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

This position will be based in Ottawa at Mines Action Canada (MAC), a co-founder of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. This position reports to the Campaign Coordinator, Mary Wareham at Human Rights Watch in Washington DC. It will work in a small team of Campaign staff and in close cooperation with MAC’s Program Manager.

This position involves supporting NGO members of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots as the coalition scales up its activities at the national, regional, and international level.

Major Responsibilities:

  1. Membership: Manage efforts to expand and strengthen the Campaign’s rapidly-growing and geographically-diverse network f non-governmental organizations including: identify and approach new organizations to join the Campaign; help receive and process applications for approval; draft materials to inform and guide campaigners; ensure key materials are translated; facilitate workshops and trainings; help organize and conferences and Campaign delegations; conceptualize and execute joint campaign actions.
  2. Representation: Represent the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots at events and meetings as necessary and manage outreach and networking activities, as directed by the Coordinator.
  3. Media & Public Inquiries: Respond to media requests and general inquiries as appropriate. Help the Media Manager to produce public content for all audiences and update the Campaign’s Facebook page, Twitter handle, and Instagram account.
  4. Campaign Grants: Manage with the Project Officer a small grant scheme to support national and regional Campaign outreach including: solicit, receive and log grant proposals; schedule and coordinate review and approval process; respond to applicants and arrange to transfer funds; receive and log expenditure reports; and monitor and report on the grant scheme and its impact.
  5. Digital Communications: Help build the Campaign’s digital communications capacity and presence, including: manage a contact database of campaigners and supporters; disseminate regular email updates on campaign activities and action alerts via MailChimp; produce and provide visual and written digital campaigning materials; and help to update and promote the campaign website in coordination with other staff.
  6. Travel Support: Work with the Project Officer to ensure campaigners have the tools and logistical support they need to conduct international and regional outreach, including: booking travel and accommodation; calculating and arranging payment of per diems; record payments and prepare financial reports; and assist with logistics at Campaign events as required.
  7. Policy Recording: As needed, assist the Coordinator’s monitoring of country positions, including: update and maintain country files on policy and practice on fully autonomous weapons.
  8. Other Duties as directed by the Coordinator of the Campaign or MAC’s Program Manager.



The ideal candidate will have:

Education: University degree in a relevant discipline.

Experience: A minimum of three years of relevant work experience is required.

** Mines Action Canada is committed to employment equity practices and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates with the legal right to work in Canada. **

Related Skills and Knowledge:

  • Fluent in English, other languages an asset, especially French;
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written;
  • Concrete cross-cultural experience and communications skills;
  • Familiarity with advocacy campaigns and/or international NGO coalitions is desirable;
  • Strong, demonstrated organizational skills;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Creativity and ability to take initiative;
  • Capacity to work in a self-directed manner and demonstrated ability to work well within a team setting;
  • Demonstrated critical thinking and analytical skills;
  • Excellent computer skills including familiarity with MS Office for a Windows-based environment, spreadsheet (Excel) and database (Access) management, email and internet (html).
  • Skills and experience in using social networking and online communication tools (e.g. running a webinar, virtual meeting rooms, updating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.);
  • Ability to travel internationally; and
  • Ability to complete work under tight timeframes.

To apply by sending a résumé and a cover letter explaining your qualifications for this position to by end of day, February 8, 2019. While we thank all applicants for their interest, only those selected for interviews will be contacted.




The Cluster Munition Coalition is 15!

We're celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). To mark this anniversary, we have been sharing facts about the CMC on our Facebook and Twitter. In 15 years, the CMC successfully campaigned for the negotiation and implementation of a ban on cluster munitions. The work isn't done yet but today we get to celebrate how far we've come.



Human Security Requires Environmental Security

NGOs including Mines Action Canada and academics have used the UN’s International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict to urge governments to increase the protection of people and ecosystems by strengthening measures to enhance environmental security before, during and after armed conflicts.

The 55 organisations and experts from the fields of the environment, health, human rights, humanitarian disarmament and sustainable development argue that protecting people and ecosystems means that governments and the international community must move faster and further to address the environmental causes and consequences of armed conflicts.

The statement comes as conflicts around the world, and their aftermath, are continuing to take an enormous toll on people and the environment through pollution, infrastructure damage and the collapse of governance. But it also comes as our understanding is increasing over how stresses linked to climate change, water and food insecurity, environmental degradation or the unsustainable use of natural resources can contribute to insecurity.

The concept of environmental security includes a variety of issues involving the role that the environment and natural resources can play across the peace and security continuum, and their relationship to human well-being, development and security.

Acknowledging the interconnection between the environment and security provides insights into how the societal tensions over natural resources that can lead to conflicts can be reduced, how civilians could be better protected during conflicts, and how peace can be built and sustained in their wake.

Environmental issues are increasingly visible in countries affected by conflict. In southern Iraq, protests erupted over water contamination that has affected 110,000 people and which had been caused by years of conflicts, increasing water scarcity and mismanagement.[1] The UN Security Council has recognised the role that climate change and environmental degradation have played in fuelling conflict in the Lake Chad region.[2] In Somalia, the long-running conflict is being sustained by a vicious cycle of overharvesting for the charcoal trade and the degradation of agricultural lands.[3]

The signatories argue that recognising the importance that environmental security plays for human security before, during and after conflicts is vital and should drive policy development. In doing so, they highlight the importance of properly integrating the environment into conflict prevention, into the analysis of conflicts, into humanitarian response and into post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding.

Find the statement here. 


[1] NRC (2018) Basra Fact Finding Mission Report #3:

[2] UN (2018) Better Governance of Underfunded, Poorly Managed Lake Chad Basin Key to Resolving Conflict, Suffering across Region, Speakers Tell Security Council:

[3] UN Environment (2018) Somalia calls for international cooperation to stop illegal charcoal trade


Mines Action Canada Congratulates the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

Mines Action Canada joins our colleagues in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in warmly congratulating Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-laureates. We are especially pleased to see that the Nobel Committee chose to recognize the impact of armed conflict on women this year. Both laureates embody our belief that ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact. 

Read more about these deserving laureates here.© Nobel Media


Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting a First in Two Ways

Feminist activists share issues and priorities with the first-ever meeting of Women Foreign Ministers

(Ottawa, September 26, 2018) A coalition of Canadian civil society organizations welcomes the successful conclusion of a fruitful exchange between participants in the first-ever women Foreign Ministers meeting and women’s rights activists.

The exchange was held during a working breakfast that was part of the official agenda of the Women Foreign Ministers Meeting co-hosted by Minister Chrystia Freeland (Canada) and High Representative Federica Mogherini (European Union). The meeting was held in Montreal, September 21 and 22, 2018.

Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons addressed the Ministers gathered from 16 countries. Informal roundtable discussions followed.

“It was important that the discussion was part of the official programme. This type of exchange is all too rare,” said Theo Sowa, CEO of African Women’s Development Fund. “The mood in the room was constructive. The sharing of information, ideas and strategies will help both the Foreign Ministers and the civil society organisations present to push for more inclusive security and development agendas.”  

Sowa was one of ten activists representing diverse feminist movements from around the globe. They raised concerns about the safety of women human rights defenders and violence against women. They urged a redefinition of security that puts the needs of people (especially women and girls) first. Discussions also focused on increasing women’s participation in peace processes, including in South Sudan; strengthening the voices of feminist activists in foreign policy discussions; and priorities for feminist foreign policy.

Razia Sultana, founder of Rohingya Women Welfare, shared her experiences of documenting sexual violence and working with Rohingya women and girls in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. “I congratulated Minister Freeland on the recent Canadian recognition of the crimes against my people as genocide. I urged the other women Ministers to follow Canada’s example. This is the first step towards ending the violence and ensuring justice.”

At the closing press conference Minister Freeland announced that Canada would create an Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security. “This is an exciting new development, one that we hope will accelerate the implementation of Canada’s ambitious Women, Peace and Security commitments and increase Canada’s support grassroots women peacebuilders,” said Beth Woroniuk, coordinator of Women, Peace and Security Network-Canada.

The Minister also announced $25 million for women, peace and security initiatives, including funding for several women’s rights organizations. Specific funding for these organizations has been a long-time policy ask of Canadian civil society organizations.

Over 200 organizations from around the world urged the Ministers to recognize, protect and support women human rights defenders, noting that these activists face grave and numerous threats. “We will be monitoring the response to this statement. We are optimistic that future meetings of women Foreign Ministers will build on the productive relationships established here in Montreal,” said Anne Delorme, Gender Equality Programme Manager, AQOCI.

An informal coalition organized a series of side events around this historic women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, including a public panel on Feminist Foreign Policy and a civil society dialogue.  Coalition members are: Amnesty International Canada (English), Amnistie internationale Canada francophone, Association Québecoise d’Organismes Cooperation Internationale (AQOCI), Canadian Foodgrains Bank, CARE Canada, Mines Action Canada, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Québec, The MATCH International Women’s Fund, World Federalist Movement Canada.


New Explosive Weapons Q&A

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) has released a new Question and Answer document. This publication tackles such questions as:

- Are some explosive weapons worse than others?

- If we are limiting the use of certain explosive weapons in populated areas, are we encouraging the use of other, more targeted weapons?

- Does international humanitarian law adequately address this problem?

- Won’t some armed actors/explosive weapon users take such a standard more seriously than others?

- What can be done?

For answers to these questions and more, check out INEW's new publication here


PeaceBoat Visits Canada

PeaceBoat, a Japan-based international NGO that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment, stopped in Halifax this week. On board were hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) who are travelling the world, sharing their experiences and calling on states to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as well as a replica of ICAN's Nobel Peace Prize.

Mines Action Canada was pleased to welcome our colleagues to Canada and our Program Manager, Erin Hunt, was on hand to meet the boat and help bring the message of peace and disarmament to Canadian decision makers. The Halifax Peace Afternoon brought three hibakusha together with representatives from civil society organizations in Halifax as well as parliamentarians.

Guests heard remarks from Akira Kawasaki of PeaceBoat, testimony from 2nd generation Hibakusha, Shinagawa Kaoru,a speech from Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Matt DeCourcey and remarks from our Erin Hunt where she called on Canada to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and highlighted what was needed to ban the bomb.

"I think it is especially poignant to be hearing from survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki here in Halifax. Halifax is the only city in North America and maybe the only other city in the world who can begin to understand what it is like to have your city destroyed by a single blast.

As Halifax learned in 1917, response, recovery and rebuilding after such destruction is difficult even without the radiation damage that Hiroshima and Nagasaki faced. The people of Halifax, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have all rebuilt their cities through courage, conviction and collective action.

Those three ingredients, courage, conviction and collective action also were crucial to the negotiation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and ICAN’s Nobel Peace Prize win."

You can read Erin's full remarks here

CTV also visited PeaceBoat and met with the Hibakusha. You can see their full coverage here.


Peace on the Korean Peninsula will require disarmament

As Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet in Singapore, humanitarian disarmament organizations are highlighting the importance of disarmament more broadly to a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Both nuclear weapons and anti-personnel landmines will need to be addressed by the states involved.

The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been a topic of much discussion. Working behind the scenes for the last month, a group of the world’s foremost nuclear disarmament experts have mapped out the best pathway for total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, determining that the existing international treaty framework is the most appropriate solution.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts to promote denuclearization through a treaty-based solution, presented the “Korean Peninsula Denuclearization Roadmap” at a press conference in Singapore ahead of the historic meeting between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

The plan begins by recognizing the horrific loss of life and suffering that would be caused by any use of nuclear weapons. Experts agree that even a limited nuclear engagement on the Korean Peninsula would see upwards of 30 warheads detonated causing massive loss of life and cataclysmic environmental damage in North Korea and South Korea, as well as the entire Northeast Asia region. Any solution to the crisis requires all parties to reject nuclear weapons outright on humanitarian grounds, through the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The roadmap outlines a solution to the question of how the Korean Peninsula will be denuclearized where states recognize the unacceptable humanitarian risk of nuclear weapons; reject weapons by joining the TPNW; remove existing weapons with verifiable and time-bound plans; ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); and rejoin the world community through the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“The existing treaty frameworks are the only way to make Korean denuclearization permanent,” said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN. “There has been little talk as to what an agreement could look like. This roadmap answers the question at the heart of negotiations: How do North Korea and South Korea denuclearize in a way that is verifiable, irreversible and won't unravel?”

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the central point of the plan and joining the Treaty would oblige North Korea to immediately cease any development, production, and manufacture of nuclear weapons. North Korea would also be obliged to eliminate its nuclear-weapon programme, to resume implementation of its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comprehensive safeguards agreement, and to conclude and implement an Additional Protocol with the IAEA.

The plan also calls on South Korea, which has not had nuclear weapons on their soil since the early 1990s, to denuclearize. South Korea must formally reject the United States’ extended nuclear deterrence in order to guarantee nuclear weapons will not be used on their behalf. This would not change existing military treaties between the US and South Korea, and the current “nuclear umbrella” security arrangement would be transformed to a general “security umbrella.” For its part, the US would take a practical step towards denuclearization by finally following through on its commitment to ratify the CTBT. North Korea and China would join the US in this step. Ultimately, ICAN calls on the US and all states to sign and ratify the TPNW and join the 122 nations who adopted the Treaty at the UN last July in moving towards a global nuclear weapons ban.

The plan at a glance:

Recognize the risk of nuclear use and unacceptable humanitarian consequences of such use.

Reject nuclear weapons by joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Remove – a verifiable and irreversible plan for disarmament

Ratify the CTBT and verify through the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization

Rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the world community

The full Korean Peninsula Denuclearization Framework is available for download here:

Beyond denuclearization, the issue of anti-personnel landmines should be on the agenda not just at the Kim-Trump summit but at other talks aimed at building peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Korean Peninsula is one of the most heavily landmine contaminated places on the planet. The Landmine Monitor has received reports of between 500 and 3,000 landmine casualties in South Korea but has no estimate of the number of casualties in North Korea. Despite the threat to civilians living near the Demilitarized Zone, landmines have not received much attention during this process.

Should this summit start a serious peace process, the United States of America, North Korea and South Korea will all need to deal with the landmines in the Demilitarized Zone. Similar to the calls from ICAN for North Korea and South Korea to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, both North Korea and South Korea should join the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines together. Acceding to the Treaty together will be a confidence and peace building measure. There is a proven track record of the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines being used to build confidence between states - Greece and Turkey joined the treaty simultaneously to further political trust between the two states. After joining the Ottawa Treaty, North and South Korea will have to demine the Demilitarized Zone. Working together to clear the landmines can further build trust and peace between the former adversaries as seen by the close cooperation between Ecuador and Peru to clear their formerly contested border of landmines. By joining and implementing the Ottawa Treaty together, North Korea and South Korea can begin to work towards a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Mines Action Canada hopes that the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore will bring renewed attention to the disarmament of the Korean Peninsula. We call on both parties to join the Ottawa Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as an immediate peace dividend. It is time to take the first in a number of steps towards a nuclear weapons and landmine free peaceful Korean Peninsula.


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