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International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2018 – Advocacy & Lobbying

Advocacy is Action

This International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL) would like to highlight major initiatives that have been taken and commitments that have been made. However, this week is not just about what our organization has done, but what anyone can do.

Since its foundation in 1995, NCBL has had advocacy as one of its primary pillars, along with Victim Assistance and Mine Risk Education. On 4 April 2018, the organization believes that the best way to increase awareness about the mine movement for the long term is to promote the power of advocacy, whether it be political lobbying, public demonstrations or social media presence.

NCBL plays a valuable role in the pressuring of government, security officials, and  parliamentarians to accede to the Ottawa Treaty (Mine Ban Treaty) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. However, that sort of political advocacy work is only the preliminary vision of NCBL’s conviction to mine action. In fact, NCBL embodies an extensive humanitarian stance as they seek to emphasize the significance and prioritization of victim assistance.

Following the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Maoists and the government, casualty numbers continued to rise. Humanitarian agencies estimated that half of the 31 IED casualties in 2011 were from new devices after the conflict. Even Nepal’s declaration on 14 June 2011 as a mine field free country steers a common misunderstanding that the clearing of landmines equates to the completion of the mine action duty. According to the 2017 Landmine Monitor, the continued “violence… in the Terai region of southern Nepal has led to additional IED use and new victims.” Moreover, it claims that all known casualties from 2003 to 2013 included 698 injured individuals while in 2013 alone, 19 were injured by outcome. In 2018, small armed groups in the Terai belt still express their dissatisfaction with the government by instilling fear and terror among the people through the placement of explosions, such as socket bombs, tiffin box bombs and Sutali bombs. NCBL refuses to accept any milestone as conclusive. Consequently, victim assistance and mine risk education are the cornerstones of the organization’s advocacy efforts.

The propagation of knowledge regarding IEDs, ERW, and landmines and the dangers associated with the inhumane and indiscriminate devices is imperative for minimizing and ultimately eliminating casualties. Likewise, NCBL’s dedication to victim assistance entails their outreach and networking efforts to collect funds that would provide support, education, livestock programs, and disability materials for all Nepali regions. NCBL would like to applaud and felicitate all the national organizations of the International Ban Landmine Campaign that work day in and day out advocating for mine action.

Advocacy is what changes legislation. It is what requires the power of the masses. It is the result of finding passion in a cause worth championing for. You do not need special training to be an advocate, so why not be one?

Being an advocate does not just mean blurting out, “I believe in equality, freedom, sustainability, and so and and so forth”.  It is not just another noun used to describe an individual who merely verbally expresses pity from the latest tragic new story. The honourable role of an advocate is defined by one’s deeds of entrenching themselves in an imperfect reality that merits attention and reform. A few examples of sheer, selfless, and meaningful engagement include staying informed on the cause of interest by reading academic sources and newspapers, signing petitions, organizing fundraisers, writing opt-eds and/or participating in rallies. Actions always speak louder than words, but when combined with qualities of assertiveness and eloquence, it gives space for roaring expressions of victory.

Advocacy is the gift that keeps on giving on the condition that your contributions are sincere and persistent. The utilization of the concept “sincere” refers to the intention of an act coming from the kindness of the heart without expectation of recognition or reward, but rather with a vision that appraises the greater good.

In the following three weeks, NCBL will continue to create online posters, as part of the Spring 2018 Poster Campaign, that illustrate the organization’s sincere services to mine awareness and assistance in mine action just on time for the day of their acknowledgement on 4 April 2018.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Bahram Jam says:

    I live in Canada. What specifically can people living outside of Nepal do to assist the NCBL?

  2. Nadia Jam says:

    Hello Mr. Jam,
    Thank you for your great question! As a Canadian myself, I have wondered why there are not more direct ways of contributing to the mine action movement. You can stay informed with our sister campaign, Mines Action Canada: http://www.minesactioncanada.org/.

    NCBL relies on its generous donations to sustain their initiatives, whether it be capacity building events in rural communities, purchasing support materials, providing seed money, coordinating livelihood programs or giving vulnerable girls education subsidies. NCBL’s latest online fundraiser to construct 2 accessible toilets in 2 schools is made with the purpose of receiving funds from outside of Nepal for the first time. Feel free to donate: https://www.youcaring.com/studentswithdisabilitiesinnepal-1144709