Indonesia: Students rally to support landmine survivors

25 April 2013|Lars Stenger

Forty university students from University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, spent their April 4th in 2013 campaigning for greater public awareness of landmines and its impact on peacebuilding (JRS Indonesia).

Bogor, 25 April 2013— Forty students between the ages of 18 and 20 years old from University Gadjah Mada  (UGM) based in Yogyakarta lent their legs as a show of solidarity with landmine survivors for International Mine Awareness Day and Assistance in Mine Action earlier this month.

After attending the UGM and JRS hosted seminar “Ban Landmines, Build Peace”  inspired students took to the streets with a newfound enthusiasm for awareness raising in the general public.

The seminar included: a 20-minute Skype chat with Tun Channareth,  the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) Cambodia ambassador, a reflection on the convention, the campaign, and its impact on peace building, entitled “Ban Landmines, Build Peace” by Lecturer Titik Firmawati.

Finally, Lars Stenger, the JRS Indonesia Information and Advocacy Officer, gave a presentation entitled “The Sad Legacy of Landmines and Cluster Munitions in ASEAN.”

Following the seminar, students identified potential actions to encourage the Indonesian government to encourage more countries in the Asia Pacific Region to become signatories to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Advocacy activities include: writing letters to Indonesian or other ASEAN governments to compel them to sign the two conventions, establishing landmines as a theme of study and research in different faculties of UGM, and exploring the option of setting up a student group to advocate for disarmament and peace initiatives in Indonesia.

Two days after the seminar, on the 6 April, the UGM Institute for International Studies together with Disability Rights Campaigners, students and JRS staff, held a Flash Mob – Smart Mob in the centre of Yogyakarta to raise awareness about landmine issues and the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

Participants mingled casually with the crowd, then —at a sign from one of the students— members of the group scattered around the area and rolled up one leg of their trousers to symbolise the tragic loss of limbs caused by landmines throughout the region. They held Lend Your Leg signs and flyers, freezing for five minutes and gaining the attention of passersby. A few members of the public spontaneously joined in, while others posed for the photo session “Lending their Legs” after learning about the impact of landmines on communities.

The successful event builds upon JRS’ work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines since the early 1990s.

Lars Stenger, JRS Indonesia, Advocacy and Communications Officer

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