Erin Hunt

Disarming humanitarian, banning landmines, cluster bombs, killer robots & nukes, working @MinesActionCan and loving the fights I lose.

Erin Hunt's latest activity
published Humanitarian Disarmament in Learn 2024-04-11 14:42:19 -0400

Humanitarian Disarmament

Humanitarian disarmament seeks to prevent and remediate arms-inflicted human suffering and environmental harm through the establishment and implementation of norms. This approach to disarmament puts people at the centre of policy and practice. Humanitarian Disarmament is an umbrella term for a collection of disarmament initiatives driven by humanitarian imperatives to strengthen international law and protect civilians. By advancing disarmament from a humanitarian perspective, governments and civil society work together to prevent further civilian casualties, avoid socio-economic devastation, and protect and ensure the rights of victims. The main purpose of humanitarian disarmament is the prevention of needless suffering and injury through the regulation and restriction of weapons that pose significant risks for civilian populations both during and after conflict. 

Humanitarian disarmament prioritizes protecting the security and well-being of people rather than states which sets it apart from traditional approaches to disarmament. It often focuses on the impact of weapons – what they do to people and the environment. Humanitarian disarmament research helps identify which weapons are indiscriminate or inhumane by nature and which cause problems due how they are used, their trade and proliferation, or their lingering effects.

Humanitarian disarmament tries to prevent suffering and environmental harm but it also recognizes that we can help mitigate the harm that has already happened. Prevention can include international law and treaties to prohibit certain kinds of weapons. Mitigation actions can include things like victim assistance or clearing weapons contamination and environmental contamination.

Humanitarian disarmament standards have often been adopted in international treaties but political declarations and national laws can be very helpful as well. Humanitarian disarmament initiatives have included the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, the Arms Trade Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Humanitarian disarmament helps set norms to protect civilians and the environment before, during and after armed conflict. We know it works!

Humanitarian disarmament allows all of us to have a say in global peace and security. No one needs to be an expert on security theory to understand that weapons which are indiscriminate and inhumane should not be used. Communities affected by these weapons are the experts but everyone can speak up. Together, we can make change. 

Within Humanitarian Disarmament, MAC focuses on two cross-cutting themes, youth and gender

Read all our news about Humanitarian Disarmament here and learn more about Humanitarian Disarmament at:

published Lavender Haze in What's New 2024-04-10 11:07:22 -0400

Lavender Haze: AI and the bombing of civilians in Gaza

Last week +972 Magazine and Local Call reported on a new artificial intelligence system being used by Israel to identify targets in Gaza. Unlike the previously reported on Habsora /Gospel system which identified buildings and infrastructure, this system, called Lavender, is using artificial intelligence to identify individual people as targets. In the six months since Hamas’ massacre of Israelis on October 7, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed and injured by bombing and shelling and these reports indicate that many of them were targeted based on information provided by AI systems.

These new systems are raising serious concerns and questions about the role of artificial intelligence in weapons. As a co-founder of Stop Killer Robots, MAC has long been advocating against the growing use of AI in warfare and calling for new international law to prohibit autonomous weapons and to ensure meaningful human control over the use of force. The Lavender system is very concerning for several reasons but many of those concerns are obscured by a haze of techno-confusion about what the new technology is and is not.

First, is Lavender an autonomous weapon?

No, it is not. Lavender is using artificial intelligence to identify and list people who fit a certain profile so they can be targeted but the weapons used are traditional conventional weapons. The weapons themselves are not autonomous and it still requires humans choosing which target from a list to attack and overseeing that attack. Lavender is doing the work of a human intelligence officer, not the work of a targeting artillery officer or the guidance system in a weapon.

Lavender, like Habsora, is not an autonomous weapon system.

If it’s not an autonomous weapon, what are you worried about?

The reporting on this system has raised several very serious concerns. To cut through the fog let’s break down the concerns into those related to technology and those related to International Humanitarian Law and to our work on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.


MAC has serious concerns about the digital dehumanization that such a system is based on. The reporting indicates that Lavender lists targets based on analysis of data obtained through mass surveillance – boiling down a person to just their data is a problem that Stop Killer Robots has been discussing for a while.

Turning people into data dehumanizes them and makes it much easier to kill them or even kill the wrong person. Statements from Stop Killer Robots on Lavender and Habsora as well as analysis from Dr. Lucy Suchman and Dr. Branka Marijan highlight the serious technological concerns about these AI driven target identification programs.

The use of AI to create targeting lists has been a concern from campaigners for years. From the very beginning of talks at the CCW, campaigners have been talking about the risk of systems where a human has only seconds to confirm a target selection from military systems. Starting in 2013, SKR has been telling states that advancing technology would result in a situation where the AI is not questioned. This appears to be happening with Lavender with disastrous results for Palestinian civilians.

Taking humans out of the loop of targeting decisions is a major problem morally, ethically and for International Humanitarian Law.

International Humanitarian Law

Artificial Intelligence has been the headline in the reporting about Lavender but once you dig deeper into the article, some serious concerns emerge about International Humanitarian Law (IHL) particularly on accountability and two key requirements – proportionality and precaution in attack.

The use of Artificial Intelligence in systems like Lavender have serious implications for accountability under IHL by delegating some decision-making to an algorithm. As we can see from the reporting, there are questions about who is responsible for the decision-making process when Lavender is used to create the list of potential targets. This ambiguity is problematic – AI should not be used to shield individuals from accountability under IHL. When mistakes are made, who will be held accountable?

Accountability is not the only IHL principle that is challenged by Lavender and similar technology.

Proportionality is one of the more difficult to understand concepts in IHL. The International Committee of the Red Cross says, “The principle of proportionality prohibits attacks against military objectives which are “expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated”. So what that means is that IHL recognizes that sometimes even attacks on military targets that follow all the rules of IHL can result in harm to civilians so military commanders have to make sure the expected civilian harm is not excessive to the military benefit.  

There is no prescribed acceptable ratio between military benefit and civilian harm in IHL, so each country comes up with their own guidelines to help military personnel make this decision. With every military operating under their own proportionality math, it can be difficult to understand proportionality. The guidelines are often kept confidential which further blurs things.

However, the reporting on Lavender indicates that proportionality has been seriously skewed regarding the conflict in Gaza. The +972 article quotes two Israeli sources and reports that:

“for every junior Hamas operative that Lavender marked, it was permissible to kill up to 15 or 20 civilians; in the past, the military did not authorize any “collateral damage” during assassinations of low-ranking militants. The sources added that, in the event that the target was a senior Hamas official with the rank of battalion or brigade commander, the army on several occasions authorized the killing of more than 100 civilians in the assassination of a single commander.”

A ratio of one combatant to 15 civilians is exceptionally high while a ratio of 1 commander to over 100 civilians is unheard of among responsible militaries. Civilians must be protected in times of armed conflict and such ratios stretch the concept of proportionality beyond recognition.

The report on Lavender also raises questions about the requirement under IHL referred to as precaution in attack. Precaution in attack is exactly what it sounds like - the ICRC summarizes it as “even when an attack directed at a military objective is not expected to have excessive effects on the civilian population, all feasible precautionary measures must be taken to minimize those effects.

The mention of intentionally targeting individuals identified by Lavender in their homes without confirming the number of civilians present seems to overlook the principle of precaution in attack. Precaution in attack and proportionality are key principles of International Humanitarian Law designed to protect civilians trapped in armed conflict. These challenges to IHL need to be thoroughly investigated by experts in international humanitarian law to ensure accountability.

Use of Explosive Weapons in Population Areas

Beyond discussions of autonomy in weapons and IHL the coverage of Lavender raised a number of major concerns regarding the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. As a co-founder of the International Network on Explosive Weapons, Mines Action Canada has been working to limit the civilian harm caused by bombing and shelling in cities for over a decade now.

The report indicates that many of the targets identified by Lavender were targeted by so called “dumb” bombs. Dumb bombs have wide area effects that are known to frequently cause immediate harm to civilians and reverberating harm to civilian infrastructure like housing, hospitals, shops, markets and schools.

These dumb bombs are then used on residences identified as the homes of Lavender’s targets by another AI system, called “Where’s Daddy?”. Where's Daddy? is a system that uses surveillance data to determine when individuals on the target list returned to their homes in real time. That combination of Lavender, Where's Daddy? and dumb bombs has resulted in a huge number of civilian deaths and injuries. Bombing or shelling homes full of civilians with one identified target is problematic under the requirement to take precautions against civilian harm in attack and the principle of proportionality and then the use of large dumb bombs “meant literally destroying the whole house on top of its occupants.

The very large explosive weapons used to target Hamas officials have huge impact areas leading to destruction of large numbers of civilian buildings and hundreds of deaths.

This type of death and destruction is not an inevitable consequence of warfare or necessarily a result of the use of systems like Lavender.

Military personnel have choices about when to target the people on the lists compiled by AI, about how many civilians could be harmed, when to fire, and what weapons to use. The  choices made by the Israeli military have been responsible for the deaths and injuries of thousands of civilians in Gaza.

Lavender is an immensely problematic system. It is  not an autonomous weapon, but it dehumanizes people, it reduces meaningful human control over the use of force, and is known to make mistakes. There is a possibility that states will decide that they want to include such intelligence systems in the discussion.

In the meantime, Mines Action Canada calls on all parties in Gaza to protect civilians. INEW’s call to stop bombing civilians has never been more needed. The international community must pressure Israel to meet its obligations under IHL, especially precaution in attacks. Aid needs to be able to reach those who are suffering.

Above all, when it comes to new technology in warfare, we all need to be able to see through the hazy techno-confusion and recognize that systems like Lavender dehumanize others, obscure accountability, and weaken international humanitarian law but civilians are dying because of human decisions. While the world focuses on the high-tech aspects of this conflict, unimaginable harm to civilians continues.

We cannot let the Lavender haze distract us from the human decisions that lead to massive civilian casualties.

published MAC Store 2024-03-27 19:40:01 -0400
published Youth Address 21MSP in What's New 2023-11-24 05:17:29 -0500

Youth Address 21MSP

Today, the Mine Action Fellows Addressed the 21st Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in English and Spanish.


Thank you Mr. President.

More than 20 years after the treaty entered into force, we still see  States and non State armed groups, using these inhumane weapons. As young activists, we condemn the use of landmines by all actors and we call on all State Parties to do the same. For those who continue to use landmines remember you are not just attacking your enemy, but also the people you want to protect and future generations.

Besides their humanitarian impact, landmines also affect a community’s socioeconomic development. Many people are unable to access their land and essential services such as health care and education. Among us there are Fellows who have had to leave their homes because of mines and still cannot return. 

The impacts go beyond humanity to the natural world as well. We want to thank the president of the 21st MSP for the steps taken to include environmental considerations in mine action. We further urge the international community to continue their work and include an environmental mainstreaming approach in their mine action strategies. 

We have noticed that funding is often concentrated on clearance but we urgently need global support and funding for Victim Assistance and Mine Risk Education, including for community-based local organizations who are leading these efforts on the ground. 

Remember the effects of a mine injury reverberate throughout the international community from individual survivors and their families to global actors. Even after the mines are cleared, we must commit to support for victims and deminers during demobilization. 

Like VA, Mine Risk Education (MRE) often receives inadequate attention in many countries, hindering prevention efforts in providing lifesaving information. 

Information is at the foundation of this treaty. Article 7 reports are a crucial component of maintaining transparency and providing information. It is the state’s parties’ duty to update these reports annually. By transparency, we mean that you should provide disaggregated data and thorough reporting which will highlight the needs of under-resourced activities, like victim assistance, and help donor countries provide targeted funding. 

More transparency through reporting leads to better funding, which should be guided by cooperation between donor countries and mine-affected countries.  At the same time, donor countries, states parties or not, are responsible for understanding the needs of mine-affected countries and distributing funding based on these needs.  

We know what we have to do but how we do it matters as well. 

Queremos destacar el papel que juega el enfoque de género y diversidad en la Convención… La mujer desminadora de Colombia que atraviesa constantemente territorios devastados por el conflicto... El niño que va en bicicleta a la escuela en Zimbabue... La facilitadora que trabaja como voluntaria en las aulas de Camboya y que perdió una pierna a causa de una mina antipersonal… sus experiencias nos da un indicio de los múltiples efectos que las minas antipersonal pueden tener sobre las comunidades. Las políticas nacionales deben tener en cuenta las necesidades diversas de todos los grupos poblacionales y mejorar la accesibilidad a los servicios de la Acción Contra Minas. Necesitamos un enfoque integral que dé respuesta a los efectos de las minas antipersonal en las comunidades en situación de vulnerabilidad, sin dejar a nadie atrás. Debemos asegurarnos de que todo el mundo tenga la oportunidad de contar su propia historia, incluidas las víctimas de las minas.

Además, el enfoque de diversidad debe tener una lógica descendente. Una vez más, reconocemos los inquebrantables esfuerzos por contribuir y fortalecer la representación de las mujeres en el diálogo diplomático y los valiosos aportes del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Género y Diversidad. Sin embargo, este equilibrio de género no significa necesariamente que las voces de todas las personas están siendo realmente escuchadas. Debemos asegurarnos de que el género y la diversidad no sean concebidos como conceptos limitados, por el contrario, deben estar orientados en torno a comunidades con necesidades diversas.

Una mayor sinergia y coherencia política entre la acción humanitaria contra las minas y otros marcos jurídicos de derechos humanos, incluida la agenda sobre mujeres, paz y seguridad, los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible y la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos de las personas con discapacidad, son cruciales para comprender las diversas perspectivas de las comunidades afectadas por las minas antipersonal.

Tanto para los que están en terreno como los que brindan apoyo desde las oficinas, garantizar el enfoque de género y diversidad podría conducir a una mejor apreciación y consideración de las distintas realidades y obstáculos a los que se enfrentan todos los actores de la acción contra minas, generando nuevas ideas y destruyendo barreras para lograr un mundo libre de minas antipersonal. A medida que se acerca el final del Plan de Acción de Oslo, debemos proponer indicadores más específicos que tengan un impacto real en la construcción de una mayor igualdad. 

We are here this week because we are already leaders in the field - we recognize and promote the importance of the Mine Ban Treaty and implement its provisions. Among us, some are involved in mine risk education, advocacy, victim assistance and clearance. However, we know that youth are seldom included in these decision making processes but are deeply impacted by mines. 

We thank the governments of Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom for their support which allows us to be here today. 

As young people, we envision a world where state parties follow their obligations and support civil society in our work. Demining is essentially youthful, hopeful, and abolitionist. The act and outcome of demining requires us to think beyond geopolitical and resource constraints in aspiring for realities free of violence, conflict, and suffering. Such a revisionist view brings out the best of humanity – our ability to imagine, rebuild, and maintain peace and is an effort that requires all states to participate and everyone to be included, literally leaving no one behind in mine action. 

At this crucial moment with a review conference next year, we must support the treaty and its norms. A mine free world is possible and we will stand with you the states parties as you take the next steps. When things get difficult over the next year refer to the purpose of this treaty; it seeks to put an end to suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines through the pursuit of four core aims: universalization, clearance, destruction of mines, and victim assistance. When all these aims are fully achieved, we will have a mine free world where children can run freely, the environment can be restored,  and all  people can live in peace. 

Thank you.

Is mine clearance more dangerous than other jobs?

Check out our new infographic about demining versus other workplace injuries:



published By the Numbers 2023 in What's New 2023-11-19 05:30:56 -0500

Women's Employment in Mine Action By the Numbers 2023

Today, Mines Action Canada released a new paper on women's employment in mine action. 

Gender and Employment in Mine Action by the Numbers: An Update contains the results of a follow up study on employment of women by non-governmental organizations in landmine clearance and related fields. This new 2023 survey shows an increase in women's employment between 2019 and 2023. Bénédicte Santoire, a PhD Candidate from the University of Ottawa, carried out the research and analysis this year. The paper is also available in French: Genre et emploi dans la lutte antimines en chiffres: Une mise à jour. 

Gender and Employment in Mine Action by the Numbers: An Update builds on the results of short survey carried out in the first quarter of 2019 and published in early 2020.  

MAC is sharing the results of this survey as the international community meets in Geneva for the 21st Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty. 

In addition to providing some limited answers to questions like how many women work in mine action, Mines Action Canada hopes to shed some light on the success of gender mainstreaming in mine action and highlight areas of improvement for the sector. 

The paper is available here and will be officially launched at a briefing event during the 21st Meeting of States Parties on 23 November 2023. An A4 version of the paper is also available for those printing copies internationally.

Taking Action on Ending Explosive Weapons Use in Palestine

In the month since Hamas’ horrific attack on civilians in Israel and the start of Israel’s operations in the Gaza Strip, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas has risen to the top of the international agenda with civilians paying the price. Civilians should never be the target of war but over the past month civilians and civilian homes, hospitals, businesses and schools have been destroyed. The level of violence and the increasing death toll has left those of us far away feeling helpless. We can condemn Hamas’ attack on civilians and Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate attack on Palestinian civilians and we do, but what other actions can be taken?

The tragic results of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas cannot be ignored and this is why the EWIPA Political Declaration was endorsed by 83 states last year, including Canada. The Political Declaration provides a tool for action as we see horrific bombing that has killed an approximately 10,000 people in less than a month. The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), which MAC helped co-found,  released an open letter to political declaration signing states, and encourages all States and members of the public to read this urgent call for the protection of civilians. This letter calls upon all parties to stop firing in areas populated by civilians and for signing States to undertake their commitment to “actively promote the declaration.” Canada needs to follow the EWIPA Political Declaration they signed and condemn any use of explosive weapons in populated areas.  Mines Action Canada fully supports and echoes INEW’s calls for action in their open letter: 

  • Publicly acknowledge and call for action to address the devastating impacts on civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and to support our call to stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas;
  • Use diplomatic means and influence to promote specific actions in line with the Declaration including to:
  • Call on parties to the conflict to take into account both the direct and indirect effects on civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
  • Call on parties to the conflict to facilitate rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need;
  • Call on parties to the conflict to provide, facilitate or support assistance to victims – which includes people injured, survivors, families of people killed or injured as well as communities affected by the armed conflict;
  • Call on parties to the conflict to facilitate the work of the United Nations, the ICRC, and civil society organisations aimed at protecting and assisting civilian populations from the humanitarian impacts of explosive weapon use.

For Canadians, we can take action in support of protecting civilians by sharing the INEW Open Letter with our representatives. Building on the public calls for action from Canada, the Open Letter offers some very clear actions that Members of Parliament and Senators can work towards. By linking our calls for action to one of Canada’s international agreements, we have the opportunity to talk about Canada’s obligation to speak up. Mines Action Canada is also urging all combatants to implement "an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities" as called for by the majority of UN member states in Emergency Resolution ES-10/23 on 27 October 2023 so you can share that resolution with parliamentarians as well. We encourage you to email your MPs the INEW open letter or call their office to tell them how you feel. If you need help with what to say, you can always reach out to ask us. For calling, it can help to have a script of what you want to say if they answer or if you end up leaving a message. Here is how you find your Member of Parliament's contact information using their name, your constituency or your postal code. 

Another way you can help is by donating to organizations who are providing humanitarian support to Palestinians. Some examples include UNICEF Canada, the Humanitarian Coalition, Canadian Red Cross, and our partner Humanity and Inclusion who supports persons with disabilities in Palestine.  

The Political Declaration makes it clear, civilians should never be the target of conflict. Canada needs to step up and condemn all use of explosive weapons in populated areas and promote peace. 

Mines Action Canada Concerned by US Decision to Transfer Banned Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

(Ottawa, 7 July, 2023) –Mines Action Canada, a member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, is appalled by the United States’ plans to transfer banned cluster munitions to Ukraine, as reported today in the New York Times. The transfer of the weapon, prohibited under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, follows repeated requests by Ukrainian officials for cluster munitions to counter the Russian invasion.

Since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine in February, Russia has used cluster munitions extensively, causing civilian harm, damaging civilian infrastructure, and contaminating agricultural land. Ukrainian forces have used cluster munitions on several occasions in the war according to the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other reporting. Russia, Ukraine and the United States remain outside of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

“The Biden administration’s decision to transfer cluster munitions will contribute to the terrible casualties being suffered by Ukrainian civilians both immediately and for years to come. Russia and Ukraine’s use of cluster munitions is adding to Ukraine’s already massive contamination from explosive remnants and landmines,” said Paul Hannon, International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition Governance Board Vice Chair.

The exceptional move was authorized by a presidential waiver allowing the US to transfer cluster munitions that have a greater than one percent unexploded ordnance rate.

States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, like Canada, should oppose any transfer and use of the weapon, and urge Russia and Ukraine to not use cluster munitions due to the foreseeable harm to civilians.

Cluster munitions are delivered by artillery, rockets, missiles, and aircraft. They open in mid-air and disperse dozens or hundreds of submunitions, also called bomblets, over a wide area. Cluster munitions not only kill at time of impact, they also leave a lethal trail of unexploded ordnance threatening lives for years to come.

“The humanitarian harm caused by cluster munitions is undeniable. The experience of other militaries also shows that cluster munitions pose a threat to Ukrainian soldiers who will be forced to advance through territory contaminated with failed submunitions,” said Mines Action Canada’s Executive Director, Erin Hunt. “Choosing a weapon that is proven to kill civilians and prevent displaced persons from coming home will not help win the peace.”

Since the Russian invasion in February 2022, Mines Action Canada has consistently and successfully advocated for Canadian support to Ukrainian efforts to clear unexploded ordnance and landmines from their territory. Adding more cluster munitions to the deadly contamination in Ukraine will make the process of making farmland and communities safe much more difficult.

Mines Action Canada and the Cluster Munition Coalition call for an immediate halt to transfers of the internationally banned weapon, and urges the United States, as well as Russia and Ukraine, to join the Cluster Munition Convention as soon as possible to guarantee protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law.

- End -

For Interviews

To arrange interviews please contact: Erin Hunt, Executive Director, Mines Action Canada, +1 236 638-8188, erin [at] minesactioncanada [dot] org (Victoria, BC)

About Mines Action Canada

Mines Action Canada is Canada’s humanitarian disarmament campaign and a co-founder of the Cluster Munition Coalition. MAC envisions a world in which individual and communal rights and dignities are no longer ravaged by the devastating impact of armed conflict.  



published New Strategic Plan in What's New 2023-04-04 13:58:21 -0400

MAC Launches a New Strategic Plan

On International Mine Action Day, Mines Action Canada is launching our new Strategic Plan 2023-2026. Today is a day to celebrate successes by the mine action community and to recommit ourselves to finishing the job on landmines and cluster munitions so there is no better day than this to launch our Strategic Plan. This plan is our guide for our humanitarian disarmament work over the next three year which will cover a time of transition for both MAC and the agreements we work on. The Ottawa Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions will have Review Conferences, the Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will build strong foundations for implementation and the international community will come together to address the threat from autonomous weapons. There is a lot of change coming and with this plan we will be ready for it.

MAC’s belief in ‘Ordinary people having an extraordinary impact’ has been a key driver of our success thus far and continues to be a guiding principle for this Strategic Plan. We know that embracing inclusivity and empowerment while putting people at the centre of our work will lead to better outcomes. Inspired by our values, our five Strategic Directions encompass our priorities for the future internally and externally. 

MAC remains committed to a vision of a world in which individual and communal rights and dignities are no longer ravaged by the devastating impact of armed conflict. This strategic plan is our three-year roadmap to achieving that vision.

Read the summary of our Strategic Plan here. 

published Parliamentary Petition Launched in What's New 2023-03-10 11:23:26 -0500

Parliamentary Petition Launched

Today the first half of the 2023 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) meeting on autonomous weapons ended. Once again, little to no progress was made towards a new legally-binding instrument on autonomous weapons. Despite growing international momentum for a treaty and excellent statements from some states this week, we are not hopeful those statements will translate into action because the structure of the CCW allows for just one state to block all progress. We need to get out of this stalemate, and make real progress towards a treaty. And you can help!

While we cannot do much about the structure of the CCW, we can call on Canada to lead negotiations under the United Nations General Assembly and for that reason….

We are launching a new autonomous weapons petition to Parliament!

The new petition calls upon the Government of Canada to:

  1. "Prohibit the domestic development, importation and use of autonomous weapon systems that do not allow for meaningful human control.
  2. Develop national regulations so that other autonomous weapon systems will be used only with meaningful human control.
  3. Take an active leadership role in international negotiations to prohibit autonomous weapons systems through new international law under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly or another inclusive multilateral forum” 

If you want our government to take action against killer robots, print out the attached paper petition and encourage 25 people to sign. You can ask your friends, family, co-workers, neighbours - anyone who doesn’t want to see a world where autonomous weapons exist.

Once you have 25 signatures, you can mail the petition to your Member of Parliament for them to present in the House of Commons. If you do not know who your MP is, you can find their name and phone number here. It’s always a good idea to call their constituency office to ask if they will support the petition. If they won’t or you do not want to call them, that’s ok. Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Island, is sponsoring this petition and will present any submissions in the House of Commons.

Mailing letters to MPs is free, so it requires no stamp. Just put the MP’s name and the following address on your envelope and drop the letter in your local mailbox.

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario,
K1A 0A6

Petitions are a great way for supporters, like you, to get involved with our work on killer robots. By signing and sharing a petition, you are making your voice heard to decision-makers. Members of Parliament want to know what their constituents care about, and petitions are an excellent way of showing them that Canadians care about banning autonomous weapons!

We are doing this as a paper petition and not an e-petition because e-petitions are only presented once to parliament, while paper petitions get presented every time at least 25 people sign it.

Get involved with Mines Action Canada by sharing this petition and collecting 25 signatures. Together, we can show the Government of Canada that Canadians are saying NO to autonomous weapons. 

Download the petition here. 

Don’t think you can get 25 signatures? That’s ok, get as many as you can and send them in to MP Elizabeth May. Her office can combine your signatures with another petition to make sure your voice is heard!

published Ukraine One Year On in What's New 2023-02-24 15:03:19 -0500

Ukraine One Year On

One year later, our comments on Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine are just as relevant today.
Over the past year, cluster munition strikes have killed and injured hundreds. The bombing and shelling of cities and towns has forced millions to flee, killed and maimed civilians, and decimated civilian infrastructure. Landmines contaminate vast amounts of land with global implications for food security.
As always, it is the civilians who have borne the brunt of these inhumane weapons. The Ukrainian casualties have been horrific and will continue to rise until the land is clear of all mines and explosive remnants of war.
On the one year anniversary of the invasion, we pay tribute to the brave Ukrainian deminers clearing land, to the risk education officers teaching safe behaviors and to the medical personnel treating the injured. MAC welcomes Canada's support for demining in Ukraine and encourage the Government of Canada to continue this support long term. Lives and livelihoods depend on it.
We reiterate our call for all parties to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and for Russia to cease the use of landmines and accede to the Ottawa Treaty immediately.
published Changes to MAC in 2023 in What's New 2023-01-10 11:05:47 -0500

Changes to MAC in 2023

We're so excited to start 2023 with an important announcement for Mines Action Canada and our community. The Board of Directors is pleased to share that beginning this month, Erin Hunt will take on the role of Co-Director, alongside Paul Hannon.

Erin's journey with MAC started in 2003 as a youth volunteer and over twenty years she's built her career in disarmament, with notable expertise in policy, programs, and gender. Erin's deep commitment to MAC and our partners will offer continuity in this transition and her new ideas for MAC's future will bring opportunity. The Board is inspired by the vision that Erin has presented for Mines Action Canada and we are honored to have her lead the organization forward.

Paul's legacy is represented in this transition. Paul has led MAC with integrity, kindness, and dedication for 25 years. During his tenure, we've proven to be a sustainable and impactful organization. Among his many important contributions, Paul's lasting impacts are seen through his service as a coalition builder and mentor to emerging professionals. Having built exceptional youth programs, half of our board members and Erin have all been trained by the programs that Paul founded and nurtured. After serving in a co-leadership model, we will celebrate Paul's retirement in July and Erin will take on the role of Executive Director.

In the coming months, we look forward to sharing MAC's new organizational strategy. We have so much hope in MAC's future and we can't wait to see the organization build on its strong foundation and grow its impact in fresh and dynamic ways.


Statement from the Co-Directors

As the Co-Directors of Mines Action Canada, we are looking forward to this transition. When Paul informed the board of his plans to retire, the Board undertook a thoughtful and independent succession process, and we are very pleased with the outcome.

Our current co-directorship will ensure a smooth transition building off years of working together. During this time of change, MAC will also be releasing a new strategic plan which will guide our work going forward.

Paul is retiring after career that has an indelible mark on the field of humanitarian disarmament. These next few months will offer an opportunity to ensure his knowledge is passed on and he is able to successfully bring his 25 years in disarmament to a close.

Erin will bring new energy, commitment, creativity, perspective, and drive to the position, in addition to experience and knowledge. These traits and experience will help her and MAC move forward by building on the past successes. Under Erin’s leadership, MAC will continue to a leader on humanitarian disarmament issues and campaigns.

The future of MAC is bright.

Press Release – Urgent Action Needed to Ban Fully Autonomous Weapons

Non-governmental organizations convene to launch Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

(London, April 23, 2013) – Urgent action is needed to pre-emptively ban lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention, said a new campaign launched in London today. The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots is a coordinated international coalition of non-governmental organizations concerned with the implications of fully autonomous weapons, also called “killer robots.”

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots calls for a pre-emptive and comprehensive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. The prohibition should be achieved through an international treaty, as well as through national laws and other measures.

“Allowing life or death decisions on the battlefield to be made by machines crosses a fundamental moral line and represents an unacceptable application of technology,” said Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. “Human control of autonomous weapons is essential to protect humanity from a new method of warfare that should never be allowed to come into existence.”

Over the past decade, the expanded use of unmanned armed vehicles or drones has dramatically changed warfare, bringing new humanitarian and legal challenges. Now rapid advances in technology are permitting the United States and other nations with high-tech militaries, including China, Israel, Russia, and the United Kingdom, to move toward systems that would give full combat autonomy to machines.

“Killer robots are not self-willed ‘Terminator’-style robots, but computer-directed weapons systems that once launched can identify targets and attack them without further human involvement,” said roboticist Noel Sharkey, chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. “Using such weapons against an adaptive enemy in unanticipated circumstances and in an unstructured environment would be a grave military error. Computer controlled devices can be hacked, jammed, spoofed, or can be simply fooled and misdirected by humans.”

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots seeks to provide a coordinated civil society response to the multiple challenges that fully autonomous weapons pose to humanity. It is concerned about weapons that operate on their own without human supervision. The campaign seeks to prohibit taking a human out-of-the-loop with respect to targeting and attack decisions on the battlefield.

“The capability of fully autonomous weapons to choose and fire on targets on their own poses a fundamental challenge to the protection of civilians and to compliance with international law,” said Steve Goose, Arms Division director at Human Rights Watch. “Nations concerned with keeping a human in the decision-making loop should acknowledge that international rules on fully autonomous weapons systems are urgently needed and work to achieve them.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Professor Christof Heyns, is due to deliver his report on lethal autonomous robotics to the second session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, starting May 27, 2013. The report is expected to contain recommendations for government action on fully autonomous weapons.

“One key lesson learned from the Canadian led initiative to ban landmines was that we should not wait until there is a global crisis before taking action.” said Paul Hannon, Executive Director of Mines Action Canada. “The time to act on killer robots is now”

“We cannot afford to sleepwalk into an acceptance of these weapons. New military technologies tend to be put in action before the wider society can assess the implications, but public debate on such a change to warfare is crucial,” said Thomas Nash, Director of Article 36.  “A pre-emptive ban on lethal autonomous robots is both necessary and achievable, but only if action is taken now.”

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots believes that humans should not delegate the responsibility of making lethal decisions to machines. It has multiple moral, legal, technical, and policy concerns with the prospect of fully autonomous weapons, including:

  • Autonomous robots would lack human judgment and the ability to understand context. These human qualities are necessary to make complex legal choices on a dynamic battlefield, to distinguish adequately between soldiers and civilians, and to evaluate the proportionality of an attack.  As a result, fully autonomous weapons would not meet the requirements of the laws of war.
  • The use of fully autonomous weapons would create an accountability gap as there is no clarity on who would be legally responsible for a robot’s actions: the commander, programmer, or one of the manufacturers of the many sensing, computing, and mechanical components? Without accountability, these parties would have less incentive to ensure robots did not endanger civilians and victims would be left unsatisfied that someone was punished for wrongful harm they experienced.
  • If fully autonomous weapons are deployed, other nations may feel compelled to abandon policies of restraint, leading to a destabilizing robotic arms race. Agreement is needed now to establish controls on these weapons before investments, technological momentum, and new military doctrine make it difficult to change course.
  • The proliferation of fully autonomous weapons could make resort to war and armed attacks more likely by reducing the possibility of military casualties.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots includes several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with the successful efforts to ban landmines, cluster munitions, and blinding lasers. Its members collectively have a wide range of expertise in robotics and science, aid and development, human rights, humanitarian disarmament, international law and diplomacy, and the empowerment of women, children, and persons with disabilities. The campaign is building a worldwide network of civil society contacts in countries including Canada, Egypt, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Steering Committee is the principal leadership and decision-making body for of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and is comprised of nine NGOs: five international NGOs Human Rights Watch, International Committee for Robot Arms Control, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and four national NGOs Article 36 (UK), Association for Aid and Relief Japan, Mines Action Canada, and IKV Pax Christi (The Netherlands).

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots was established by representatives of seven of these NGOs at a meeting in New York on 19 October 2012. It is an inclusive and diverse coalition open to NGOs, community groups, and professional associations that support the campaign’s call for a ban and are willing to undertake actions and activities in support of the campaign’s objectives. The campaign’s initial coordinator is Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch.

On Monday, April 22, the Steering Committee of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots convened a day-long conference for 60 representatives from 33 NGOs from ten countries to discuss the potential harm that fully autonomous weapons could pose to civilians and to strategize on actions that could be taken at the national, regional, and international levels to ban the weapons.

Contact information for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots:

To schedule a media interview (see list of spokespersons), please contact:

  • UK media – Laura Boillot at Article 36, +44(0)7515-575-175, [email protected]
  • International media – Kate Castenson at Human Rights Watch, +1 (646) 203-8292, [email protected]

Video Footage

For more information, see:

  • Human Rights Watch “Losing Humanity” report on fully autonomous weapons:
  • Human Rights Watch “Review of the New US Policy on Autonomy in Weapons Systems” briefing paper:

List of Spokespersons

The following campaign spokespersons will be speaking at the launch events in London on 22-24 April and are available for interview on request. In addition, raw interview footage of Williams, Sharkey, Goose, and Docherty is available here:

Principal Spokespersons

Ms. Jody Williams – Nobel Women’s Initiative, @JodyWilliams97 @NobelWomen

Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize. In January 2006, Jody established the Nobel Women’s Initiative together with five of her sister Nobel Peace laureates. In an April 2011 article for the International Journal of Intelligence Ethics, Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams calls for a ban on “fully autonomous attack and kill robotic weapons.” In March 2013, the University of California Press published a memoir on her work entitled My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize. Williams can speak on why civil society is coming together and partnering with other actors to pursue a pre-emptive ban on fully autonomous weapons. Longer biography available here:

Prof. Noel Sharkey – International Committee for Robot Arms Control, @StopTheRobotWar

Roboticist Noel Sharkey is Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Sheffield. He is co-founder and chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC), a group of experts concerned with the pressing dangers that military robots pose to peace and international security. Sharkey can speak on the technology that the campaign is seeking to prohibit and its ethical implications. See also:

Mr. Steve Goose – Human Rights Watch, @hrw

Steve Goose is executive director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch and chair of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). Goose and Human Rights Watch were instrumental in bringing about the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, the 1997 international treaty banning antipersonnel mines, the 1995 protocol banning blinding lasers, and the 2003 protocol on explosive remnants of war. Goose can speak on why a ban on fully autonomous weapons is necessary and achievable, and explain current US policy and practice. See also:

Mr. Thomas Nash – Article 36, @nashthomas @article36

Thomas Nash is director of Article 36 and joint coordinator of the International Network on Explosive Weapons. As Coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition from 2004 to 2011, Nash led the global civil society efforts to secure the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Nash can speak about civil society expectations of UK policy, practice, and diplomacy on fully autonomous weapons.

Ms. Mary Wareham – Human Rights Watch, @marywareham, @hrw

Mary Wareham is advocacy director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch and initial coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. She worked on the processes that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty, and has worked to ensure their universalization and implementation.  Wareham can speak about the new Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and its initial plans.

Technical Experts

Dr. Jürgen Altmann – International Committee for Robot Arms Control

Jürgen Altmann is co-founder and vice-chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. He is a physicist and peace researcher at Dortmund Technical University in Germany. Altmann has studied preventive arms control of new military technologies and new methods for the verification of disarmament agreements. He can speak about Germany’s policy and practice on fully autonomous weapons.

Dr. Peter Asaro – International Committee for Robot Arms Control, @peterasaro

Peter Asaro is co-founder and vice-chair of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. He is a philosopher of technology who has worked in Artificial Intelligence, neural networks, natural language processing and robot vision research. Asaro is director of Graduate Programs for the School of Media Studies at The New School for Public Engagement in New York City. See also:

Ms. Bonnie Docherty – Human Rights Watch, @hrw

Bonnie Docherty is senior researcher in the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch and also a lecturer on law and senior clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. She has played an active role, as both lawyer and field researcher, in the campaign against cluster munitions. Docherty’s report Losing Humanity: The Case against Killer Robots outlines how fully autonomous weapons could violate the laws of war and undermine fundamental protections for civilians. See also:

Mr. Richard Moyes – Article 36, @rjmoyes @article36

Richard Moyes is a managing partner at Article 36 and an honorary fellow at the University of Exeter. He was previously director of policy at Action on Armed Violence (formerly Landmine Action) and served as co-chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. Moyes can speak about civil society expectations of UK policy, practice, and diplomacy on fully autonomous weapons. See also:

 Steering Committee members

Human Rights Watch,

Human Rights Watch is serving as initial coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. Over the past two decades, the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch has been instrumental in enhancing protections for civilians affected by conflict, leading the International Campaign to Ban Landmines that resulted in the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the Cluster Munition Coalition, which spurred the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. It also led the effort that resulted in the pre-emptive prohibition on blinding laser weapons in 1995. In November 2012, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic launched the report Losing Humanity: The Case against Killer Robots, the first in-depth report by a non-governmental organization on the challenges posed by fully autonomous weapons.

Article 36 (UK),

Article 36 is a UK-based not-for-profit organization working to prevent the unintended, unnecessary or unacceptable harm caused by certain weapons. It undertakes research, policy and advocacy and promotes civil society partnerships to respond to harm caused by existing weapons and to build a stronger framework to prevent harm as weapons are used or developed in the future. In March 2012, Article 36 called for a ban on military systems that are able to select and attack targets autonomously.

Association for Aid and Relief Japan,

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan is an international non-governmental organization founded in Japan in 1979. As a committed member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan played a central role in convincing Japan to ban antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

IKV Pax Christi  (The Netherlands)-

IKV Pax Christi is a peace organization based in the Netherlands. It works with local partners in conflict areas and seeks political solutions to crises and armed conflicts. In May 2011, Dutch NGO IKV Pax Christi published a report entitled Does Unmanned Make Unacceptable? Exploring the Debate on using Drones and Robots in Warfare.

International Committee for Robot Arms Control,

The International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of scientists, ethicists, lawyers, roboticists, and other experts. It works to address the potential dangers involved with the development of armed military robots and autonomous weapons. Given the rapid pace of development of military robots and the pressing dangers their use poses to peace, international security, the rule of law, and to civilians, ICRAC supports a ban on armed robots with autonomous targeting capability.

Mines Action Canada,

Mines Action Canada is a coalition of over 35 Canadian non-governmental organizations working in mine action, peace, development, labour, health and human rights that came together in 1994. It is the Canadian partner of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and a founding member of the Cluster Munition Coalition.

Nobel Women’s Initiative,

The Nobel Women’s Initiative was established in January 2006 by 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate and five of her sister Nobel Peace laureates. The Nobel Women’s Initiative uses the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and of courageous women peace laureates to magnify the power and visibility of women working in countries around the world for peace, justice and equality. In an April 2011 article for the International Journal of Intelligence Ethics, Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams calls for a ban on “fully autonomous attack and kill robotic weapons.”

Pugwash Conferences on Science & World Affairs,

A central main objective of Pugwash is the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological) and of war as a social institution to settle international disputes. To that extent, peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and mutual understanding is an essential part of Pugwash activities, that is particularly relevant when and where nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are deployed or could be used.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is the oldest women’s peace organization in the world. Its aims and principles include working toward world peace; total and universal disarmament; the abolition of violence and coercion in the settlement of conflict and their substitution in every case of negotiation and conciliation; the strengthening of the United Nations system; the continuous development and implementation of international law; political and social equality and economic equity; co-operation among all people; and an environmentally sustainable development.

#          #          #

published A successful 20MSP in What's New 2022-12-01 15:44:00 -0500

A historic 20MSP

Last week, Mines Action Canada and six Mine Action Fellows attended the 20th Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty (20MSP) at the UN in Geneva.

The meeting was historic in a number of ways. It comes just before the 25th anniversary of the signing of The Treaty in Ottawa so the mine action community had the opportunity to reflect on our progress thus far and assess what else needs to be done. 

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines was also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and MAC was pleased to see more campaigners at this meeting than had been at any meeting since the pandemic started.

Beyond the anniversaries, 20MSP was historic for the level of youth participation. While the number of Fellows was smaller, their voice was louder.

Along with the Government of Ireland, Mines Action Canada hosted a side event on "Youth Action for Universalization and Implementation" where three of the Mine Action Fellows presented their work in their home communities. Delegates heard from Mine Action Fellows from Colombia, Lebanon and Sri Lanka who shared their experiences and their work on the ground in their countries. One government representative who attended referred to the side event as very "moving". The Fellows also had two private peer learning sessions where they got to discuss key topics of interest for their own work.

We also got to meet with the Colombian presidency of the meeting who shared the importance of hearing from the Fellows and others who can help delegates to think about the realities on the ground. The Fellows also met with five other government representatives as a group and carried out numerous lobbying meetings as individuals or in pairs.

For MAC, the most memorable part of the 20MSP was the statements from the Fellows. For the first time, youth campaigners collectively drafted and delivered statements on individual agenda items. All Mine Action Fellows were able to participate in the brainstorming process for the statements which was

then formed into a draft and each of the six Fellows was assigned one draft to make their own and deliver.

You can read the statements here: 

Angelica on Victim Assistance

Kendahl on Mine Clearance

Maria on Risk Education

Natalia on International Cooperation and Assistance (on behalf of the Gender and Diversity Working Group)

Roza on Universalization

Nimaya on Transparency

In addition, the Mine Action Fellows had the opportunity to go to the Canadian Mission and meet with Canada's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Her Excellency Leslie Norton. All the Fellows (and MAC staff) left Geneva inspired to do more in 2023.

donated via 2022-11-30 10:10:13 -0500

MAC Congratulates the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize Winners!


Mines Action Canada congratulates this year's Nobel Peace Prize Laureates! Civil society activism for peace, human rights and democracy is crucially important to creating a safer more peaceful world. We are so pleased that the courageous work of Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties is being recognized with this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

published Immoral Code Canadian Premiere in What's New 2022-09-12 12:40:46 -0400

Immoral Code Canadian Premiere

Mines Action Canada and the Stop Killer Robots Campaign is pleased to present the Canadian Premiere of Immoral Code on September 19 at Ottawa's SAW Gallery (67 Nicolas Street).

Immoral Code is a documentary that contemplates the impact of killer robots in an increasingly automated world - one where machines make decisions over who to kill or what to destroy. The film examines whether there are situations where it’s morally and socially acceptable to take life, and importantly - would a computer know the difference?

After the documentary we will be joined by a panel of experts to discuss the film and what Canadians can do to ensure that autonomous weapons are never used.

Moderated by our Project Officer, Gillian Flude, the panel will include:

  • Paul Hannon, Executive Director of Mines Action Canada
  • Dr. Jason Millar, Canada Research Chair in the Ethical Engineering of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Director of the Canadian Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Ethical Design Lab (
  • Charlotte Akin, Projects & Logistics Officer for Stop Killer Robots Campaign

After the panel, we’ll have a reception with a cash bar so we hope to see you there!

Get your FREE tickets here.

published No Place for Cluster Munitions in What's New 2022-09-06 16:14:09 -0400

No Place for Cluster Munitions

On the final day of the 10MSP of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Mine Action Fellows lead by Plamedi from DR Congo and Noor from Iraq delivered a strong statement to the delegates. Here is the text.

Your excellency, distinguished delegates, attendees of this plenary.

We, the representatives of the Mine Action Fellows gathered in Geneva for the 10th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions,

 express our firm commitment and determination, towards creating a world free of suffering and casualties caused by cluster munitions.

We recognize the progress towards the implementation of the Convention, with millions of stockpiles destroyed, large areas of land cleared, and the stigmatization of the use of cluster munitions. However, we are deeply concerned about the increase in the use of this horrible and indiscriminate weapon around the world in recent years, especially in the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and Yemen. And, we must not forget the suffering endured by many other communities affected by cluster munitions.

In this context, we urge States Parties to ensure the rights of all cluster munition victims, we also strongly call on States Parties to provide and guarantee adequate, accessible and sustainable assistance, including psychological, psychosocial, and socio-economic support and inclusion.

As young leaders, most from cluster munition affected communities, we are very concerned that the proportion of child casualties of cluster munitions increased alarmingly in 2021, rising to two-thirds of total recorded casualties. 

We demand the States Parties implement context-specific, tailor-made risk education activities, while taking into account age, gender and diversity, as well as disability considerations.

On this note, we would like to express our delight with the statements focusing on the importance of gender and diversity as highlighted in the Lausanne action plan. Yet, we strongly advocate to see action being taken towards the inclusion of everyone, in making the world a safer place.

We recognize that the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated economic, social, and political obstacles in many countries. As a result, clearance on the ground has slowed, funding for mine risk education, victim assistance, and field activities remains insufficient, and gender and diversity perspectives have been pushed aside. 

We, as Mine Action Fellows, insist that States do not lose their humanitarian path and make the necessary efforts to fulfill their obligations. And we call on those, who have the resources, to increase support for countries that need assistance.

Moreover, we are concerned about rising tensions around the world especially involving non-state parties, which could lead to conflicts with the use of cluster munitions. For this reason, universalization has to continue and States Parties should make it clear to allies that any use of cluster munitions ever by anyone is unacceptable.

We call upon all signatory states to ratify and Non-Signatory States to join the Convention in support of mitigating the devastating effects of these weapons on people’s lives, the environment and the economy.

We also encourage States Parties to promote the convention by supporting the work of institutions, such as the UN and civil society organizations in their advocacy for universalization on the national and regional levels.

We demand that States Parties fulfill their obligations, namely the submission of the transparency reports. We are disappointed that such a large number of states have not submitted their reports for the year 2022. We believe that annual transparency reports are a great tool to show the level of commitment to the convention’s humanitarian goal. 

Finally, we would like to thank all delegations that were open for conversation about their states’ positions, and thank the President for meeting us and hearing our testimonies. We would like to express our gratitude to Mines Action Canada and the Governments of Canada and Switzerland for making our participation here today possible, as well as the donors who have supported this program in other ways.

We, the Mine Action Fellows, commit to supporting States Parties and the Convention on Cluster Munitions in achieving our shared goal of ending the suffering caused by cluster munitions. As current and future leaders, we believe there is no place for cluster munitions in the future we are building. 



published Mine Action Fellows Lead at 10MSP in What's New 2022-09-06 15:31:46 -0400

Mine Action Fellows Lead at 10MSP

The 10th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions was the first Meeting of States Parties MAC had attended in-person since 2019 due to the global pandemic and we made sure to make our mark.

MAC hosted a Mine Action Fellows Forum with 22 young people from around the world. These Fellows had training sessions on leadership and diplomacy; heard from experts on gender and diversity; making change and research. They had a Model Review Conference to negotiate a statement to the States Parties and had multiple peer learning sessions where they got to learn from each other. In addition, they participated fully in the Meeting of States Parties talking to delegations about transparency reporting, treaty universalization and condemning the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine. The Fellows also met with the President of the Convention, UK Ambassador Aidan Liddle (see photo).

The Fellows delivered a statement in French and English to the plenary at the end of the meeting which was met with applause and excellent feedback from delegates. You can read the statement here in English or here in both languages. The MAC delegation including the Mine Action Fellows made their presence known by being the largest and most diverse delegation to the MSP. The Fellows were a clear example of how powerful civil society can be with their tireless outreach to governments.

Mines Action Canada also had the pleasure of delivering a statement on behalf of the Gender and Diversity in Mine Action Working Group. You can read the statement here and below is a video recording of Program Manager, Erin Hunt, delivering the statement. 

Your support will help ensure we can continue this unique program developing future leaders in mine action and humanitarian disarmament.

Sign in with Facebook or email.