messages filled with hope, dreams and wishes of peace flew over the Cambodian
city of Battambang after it was announced that the treaty to ban cluster
munitions will come into force later this year.
messages represented the number of countries that have signed the treaty so
far. Written on paper doves suspended from balloons, they were thrown into the
air by the more than one hundred people who gathered in the Arrupe Welcome
Centre to celebrate with joy that the treaty to ban cluster munitions will
enter into force on 1 September 2010.
guests, staff and children of the centre celebrated the passing of the treaty.
Most of these staff members and children are people with disabilities; most are
victims of landmines. The gathering served as a sign of solidarity to those
countries that continue to suffer the horror of cluster munitions. Though their
sufferings are not altogether the same, these countries share the sufferings of
war, much like Cambodia.
celebration opened with a song written by the children of the Arrupe Centre.
One of the students present was Channeng, the young man who represented the
Arrupe Centre in the Second Revision Conference of the Treaty to Ban Cluster
Bombs in Cartegena, Colombia last November. Channeng, who lost both legs and
one arm to a landmine, wrote a song that invited all of us to join together in
peace and to destroy cluster bombs.
this song, another student from the centre, Dieng, who suffers from polio in
one leg, gave a speech from the heart about all those who suffered due to the
many consequences of war. She spoke about not only feeling happy because of the
entrance of the treaty, but also thanked all the countries and people that
'made it happen'.
also appealed to the countries that still have not signed the treaty,
especially to her own country Cambodia, to do so as soon as possible. She
invited all the countries to join the meeting that would take place in November
this year in Laos, nowadays also a country much affected by cruel weapons of
gathering culminated with a dance for peace. Between laughs, hopes, and songs,
support and solidarity for the rapid progress of the treaty radiated from
everyone. The treaty now has 106 signatures and 30 ratifications from the first
meeting in Oslo only 15 months ago. The rapid progress of this treaty shows us
the repulsion of the world to the use of these inhumane weapons, which kill and
maim countless innocent people every day. With the signing of this treaty, we
are given hope that one day cluster bombs will be forever absent in our world.
our little corner in Cambodia, we will continue to hope and work for the day
that war will be a thing of the past and that the future will only have place