A Triumph of Humanity: 1st August, Entry Into Force of the Cluster Munitions Convention

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Andy Rachmianto as keynote speaker

 “I had a normal life, a family life. And then suddenly all of that was gone. I am no longer the same person. The bombs fell kilometers off target, directly in a residential area of town where there were absolutely no military targets. I would go in first to clear the bombs so that no civilians would be hurt. But instead it happened to me. In some way it’s better like this. Better me then some innocent child. When I was lying on the ground I did not feel any pain. I saw immediately that my right arm was missing. It was horrible. Horrible.” shared Sladjan Vuckovic, one of thousands of cluster munitions survivors in the world during a film screened at Kolese Kanisius Jakarta to mark the Entry Into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

It is the 1st of August and today the ban of these weapons is becoming valid international law. The ban prohibits the production, use, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs and provides obligations to governments to clear contaminated areas and assist survivors of cluster munitions accidents.

A group of around 50 people including students, NGO representatives and members of the media came together to celebrate this day and express their support for a ban of this indiscriminate and inhuman weapon in Indonesia and the world.

In over 80 countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia and even in Antarctica, drummers and campaigners came together beating traditional drums in support of the international campaign “Beat the Drum to Ban Cluster Bombs”.

“We are happy to be playing on this occasion as we care about peace and the suffering caused by this weapon” stated … a member of the drumming group Kunokini, from Jakarta, who participated in the event.

The event followed an earlier Sunday mass held in the Cathedral of Jakarta for 300 people where Fr Suyadi led a prayer for peace and the survivors of landmine and cluster munitions accidents. Thousands of civilians including women and children have fallen victim to this kind of bomb in recent decades. They have lost limbs, lives and loved ones from their encounters with the funny shaped and coloured bomblets that failed to explode. Long after a conflict or war is over these bombs continue to claim victims, half of whom are children who are attracted to the shape and color of the weapons.

The campaign to ban this weapon began only in recent years as a reaction by the international community to horrific images of the injuries caused by the bombs and through NGO’s making public their experiences of this “deadly legacy of war”. JRS, as an agency which accompanies people displaced by conflict in over 50 countries, became a part of this campaign after witnessing the terrible injuries of refugees arriving in camps. Apart from the physical injuries they suffered refugees also held fears of returning to their homes and their fields which were still contaminated with unexploded parts of cluster bombs.

“Today we have come together to celebrate a very important step for humanity. This day, the 1st August 2010, is a special day for us and peace loving people all around the world. We celebrate this day because it is the day a new international treaty will enter into force to ban the use of cluster bombs which are a danger to the lives and health of innocent civilians” Fr Suyadi, director of JRS Indonesia stated during the celebrations of the Entry Into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The event was also attended by Andy Rachmianto from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia, who spoke about Indonesia’s participation during the drafting and promotion of the convention. Indonesia has “a small number of cluster munitions and will have to destroy them in 8 years (once ratifying the convention)” he stated.

The 1st August event was the highlight of a one week program which included film screenings at KINEFORUM Jakarta, inviting a wider audience to learn via film about the impact of the weapon on people’s lives and families. The aim of this event was to create a momentum for Indonesia’s swift ratification of the treaty.

“Indonesia has no contaminated areas and has to my knowledge never used this weapon but it has a stockpile and for the safety of the civilian population. It should destroy this stockpile as soon as possible and, as a leading example in the Asia Pacific region, ratify the Convention on cluster munitions” states Lars Stenger from JRS Indonesia.

The campaign to ban cluster munitions has achieved a goal many thought impossible years ago. The entry into force of the convention is an important event for everybody, but especially for all the people who are affected by this weapon or could be affected by it in the future. It is also an example of how a coalition of committed campaigners, the UN and governments can successfully advocate and implement humanitarian standards on an international level.

Lars Stenger

Refugees: An opportunity to grow together

If we, as a human family, insist on only ever seeing refugees as a burden, we deprive ourselves of the opportunities for solidarity that are also always opportunities for mutual learning, mutual enrichment, and mutual growth. Continue reading

Australia: shutting the door in the face of a global humanitarian crisis

Yogyakarta, 20 November 2014 – The Jesuit Refugee Service observes with deep sadness yet another sudden retroactive change in the policy of Australia towards people seeking international protection in Southeast Asia. Yesterday, the government of Australia announced its decision to … Continue reading

Kelud Emergency Response

Together with the Community of United Volunteers Yogjakarta, JRS Indonesia took part in the emergency response in Kelud. The Community of United Volunteers Yogjakarta, comprised of a diverse group of individuals and students from Yogyakarta, work together in humanitarian disaster response, being present and providing support in the form of accompaniment, counseling activities or delivering urgently needed goods. JRS Indonesia provided funds to support the operational and expenditure of urgently need goods, also presence in the field for two days, on February 26-27, 2014. Continue reading

33 Years on, the Needs of Displaced are bigger than Ever

Celebrating 33 years of being with and serving refugees, JRS would like to encourage you to extend your hospitality and support to our brothers and sisters that are here to seek protection. Continue reading

Vatican: Pope Francis appeals for hospitality and justice during visit to Jesuit Refugee Service

“It’s not enough to give a sandwich if it isn’t accompanied by the possibility of learning to stand on one’s own two feet. Charity that does not change the situation of the poor isn’t enough. True mercy, which God gives and teaches us, calls for justice, for a way in which the poor can find a way out of poverty.” Continue reading

JRS joins multi-faith call for refugee protection

The Jesuit Refugee Service joined together with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and representatives of a number of faith-based organisations to call for greater protection for refugees.

The multilingual, 16-page declaration, known as an Affirmation of Welcome, is the first to involve UNHCR and a spectrum of faith-based organisations. Continue reading

JRS Indonesia Accompaniment to Refugees and Asylum Seekers 2013

In May 2013 JRS supported the SUAKA Diplomat briefing on the situation of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Indonesia. SUAKA and JRS participated in a Focus Group Discussion at the National Human Rights Commission discussing and promoting Indonesia’s ratification of the convention on the status of Refugees and its protocol. SUAKA continues to provide legal advice and accompaniment to Asylum Seekers during the RSD process mostly referrals from JRS. Currently a more comprehensive referral system is developed in a collaboration of JRS and SUAKA. Continue reading

Futsal

It was Sunday evening of 9 September 2012. Twelve African men were walking toward a rather big shop in Cipayung. They were some asylum seekers from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. Their destination, a place on the third floor of that … Continue reading

31st Anniversary of JRS

Yogyakarta, 14 November 2011 – 31 years is not short measured on a lifetime. After a 31 year journey JRS is proud of the heritage of spiritual insights from Pedro Arrupe who arouse the concern of people for the refugees. This year, JRS Indonesia celebrated its 31st anniversary in many simple ways. Continue reading

World Refugee Day 2009

It was the 20st of June, World Refugee Day, and JRS had invited to come to Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta. About 50 people including lecturers, representatives of civil society and students from Indonesia, Thailand and Burma/Myanmar had gathered here to watch the film describing the experiences and challenges faced by refugees in their home country and in the country of asylum (Malaysia). “Personally I appreciate everyone that helps them (refugees) and accepts them in their country … these people fleeing and their voices touched everyone of us” states Lorence a student from Myanmar/Burma at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta still touched by the stories shared through the film. Continue reading