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Trip to Lebanon: The humanitarian impact of cluster bombs of people in the South of Lebanon

During the July war, after endless sleepless nights and the constant worry for family and friends in Lebanon, a group of Australian Lebanese established ’Australians for Lebanon’, led by Dr. Hadia Mukhtar, in response to the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon.

Australians for Lebanon held their first press conference on the 20th of July 2006, during which the group called on the Australian Government to support an immediate ceasefire.

The second press conference held on the 8th of September, aimed to create awareness of the effect of cluster bombs on the inhabitants of South Lebanon, who had just returned to their homes. After the July war, South Lebanon was littered with over one million unexploded bomblets dropped by the Israeli Defence Forces in the last 72 hours of the war.

On the 14th of October 2006, a Memorial Service was conducted in Sydney at the Sydney Town Hall to commemorate the victims of the recent war.

With the support of Aid Lubnan, The Australian Lebanese Youth Association, the Australian Lebanese Historical Society of Victoria and the sponsorship of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the City of Melbourne, a fundraising night “Sahra” was held on the 30th of October 2006 at the Melbourne Town Hall. It was attended by over 550 guests. $80,000 was raised for Red Cross Lebanon and about $20.000 for World Vision Australia programs in Lebanon. The food was donated by 15 of Melbourne's most celebrated Lebanese restaurants and food suppliers. Guest speakers included Reverend Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia John Rodsted, photo - journalist and Austcare's Ambassador on Landmines.

A delegation from ‘Australians for Lebanon’ with members of the ‘Medical Association for Prevention of War’ (MAPW) and the ‘Australian Lebanese Youth Association’ (ALYA) supported by ‘Architects for Peace’ (arch-peace) will be visiting Lebanon in December 2006. The delegation aims to undertake a fact finding exercise on the impact of cluster bombs on people’s health and lives. A press conference is scheduled on the 18th of December in Beirut along other meetings with the United Nations Mine Action Centre, Red Cross Lebanon and World Vision Programs in Lebanon.

On return to Australia ‘Australians for Lebanon’ will hold a photographic exhibition and a film screen to raise public awareness on cluster bombs and to advocate for much needed community and Government funding to treat and rehabilitate victims of land mines and cluster bombs.

Architects for Peace aim to encourage our Government to ban cluster bombs. An exhibition will be held in April 2006 to showcase John Rodsted Photographs and a short film reporting on the Lebanon visit.


Anonymous said...

how can we, members, assist in this work?

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