(London, 16 March 2011) – An original video news report on the devastating impact of cluster bombs in Lao PDR won the first-ever CNN iReport Community Choice Award, CNN announced on 15 March 2011.
The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) worked with reporter Samantha Bolton and an independent video production team to release the video, “Clearing cluster bombs on the Ho Chi Minh Trail,” from Lao PDR during during the historic First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in November 2010. The short video focuses on the decades-old cluster bomb problem in Lao PDR and documents the work being done today by civil society and governments to tackle the humanitarian problems caused by unexploded cluster bombs in affected countries around the world.
“To shoot this video, demining professionals walked us through forests infested with cluster bombs, where we saw how children playing and farmers ploughing still risk being blown up long after the Vietnam War ended,” said Bolton. “Getting the most votes to win the CNN iReport award shows just how many people and organisations care about eradicating cluster bombs in affected countries like Laos, and how good they are at mobilising. Great work everyone!”
The CNN iReport Community Choice award called on viewers to vote for the video they thought embodied the best of CNN iReport in 2010. Competition was stiff, with 30 nominees across six categories.
The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated land and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities. A total of 108 countries
Lao PDR hosted the Convention’s First Meeting of States Parties from 9-12 November 2010. This meeting was a defining moment in the life of the Convention, bringing together for the first time States Parties to the treaty, UN agencies, international organisations, civil society, and cluster bomb survivors. States shared progress and drew up an ambitious 66-point action plan to accelerate implementation of their treaty obligations.
As the most heavily cluster-bombed country in the world, Lao PDR was a highly appropriate venue for this meeting. Known locally as “bombies,” an estimated 80 million unexploded cluster submunitions remain in Lao PDR nearly four decades after armed conflict ended. Government surveys have recorded more than 50,000 civilian casualties caused by cluster bombs, landmines and other unexploded ordnance since 1964, and widespread contamination by explosive remnants of war hinders development. Holding such a meeting in an affected country helps to remind government officials and other participants why the treaty exists and why it must be implemented. The Convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties will take place in Lebanon, another heavily affected country, in September 2011.
The CMC calls on all countries – especially affected countries and former users and producers of cluster munitions – to join the Convention and work to implement its provisions.
To view “Clearing cluster bombs on the Ho Chi Minh Trail,” visit:
For more information on the CNN iReport awards, visit:
In Geneva, Samantha Bolton: +41-792392366
In Spain, Conor Fortune: +44-(0)7515575174 or firstname.lastname@example.org