Yale Law School Hosts Nobel Peace Prize-winning Landmines Activist

How a small group of people from all over the world banded together to convince more than 100 countries to outlaw landmines – and won the Nobel Peace Prize in the process – is the subject of a Yale Law School panel on Thursday, April 23 at 4 p.m. in the Levinson Auditorium of Yale Law School at 127 Wall St. The event, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by Yale Law School and the Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights, which was established to further education and advocate in the human rights arena.

Titled “The International Campaign to Ban Landmines: How a Grassroots Human Rights Coalition Won the Nobel Prize for Peace,” the program will feature 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, Stephen Goose of the Human Rights Watch Arms Project and Bob Lawson of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Nobel Prize was awarded jointly to Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the organization for which she was founding coordinator.

The discussion will feature a hands-on, how-to approach for human rights groups to communicate, mobilize and effect change. New telecommunications technologies have enabled individuals and small groups to organize across traditional political boundaries and gain a louder voice in world affairs. The ICBL has been lauded for bringing together a unique and diverse coalition of humanitarian, human rights, children’s, peace, veterans, medical, development, arms control, religious, environmental and women’s groups in a common call for a complete ban on antipersonnel mines, and increased resources for removing mines and providing rehabilitation and assistance to mine victims.

There are at present more than 100 million antipersonnel mines scattered over large areas on several continents. Such mines maim and kill indiscriminately, and are a major threat to civilian populations and to the social and economic development of the many countries affected.

The ICBL was formally launched by six human rights groups in October 1992 and today encompasses more than 1,000 non-governmental organizations in more than 60 countries. Serving as the chief strategist and spokesperson for the campaign, Williams spearheaded a cooperative effort among governments, United Nations entities, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to achieve its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during the diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997.

Stephen Goose is program director of the arms division of Human Rights Watch, the largest U.S.-based, non-governmental human rights organization. The mission of the arms division is to monitor and curtail transfers of weapons to regimes or groups that violate human rights or the laws of war, and to seek prohibitions or restrictions on indiscriminate and cruel weapons. Human Rights Watch is one of the founders of ICBL. Goose serves on ICBL’s 16-member coordinating committee and is chairman of its treaty working group. He is also senior adviser to the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines. Goose is co-author of the book “Landmines: A Deadly Legacy,” a contributing author of six more books, and has written for numerous newspapers, magazines and journals.

Bob Lawson is currently the senior verification research officer and senior policy advisor for the landmine issue within the Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament Division of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Lawson has served for 12 years with the Canadian Army both in Canada and abroad. He has published numerous articles, book chapters and conference papers on issues related to arms control and international peace and security.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325