Civil society campaigns have driven humanitarian disarmament since its inception in the 1990s. While each campaign focuses on a different type of weapon or related activity, they all engage in “citizen diplomacy” in their efforts to end civilian suffering. The campaigns operate through global coalitions consisting of nongovernmental organizations from around the world that have joined forces to advance a common humanitarian goal. They actively involve survivors in their advocacy and partner with like-minded governments and international organizations. The campaigns seek to effect change through the establishment of new norms. Some of the humanitarian disarmament campaigns have achieved treaties and turned their attention to implementation and universalization; others are still in the process of norm building. Together they have shifted the focus of disarmament by placing people, not nations, at its center.
Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots was established to provide a coordinated civil society response to the multiple challenges that fully autonomous weapons pose to humanity. It was formed by 10 nongovernmental organizations in October 2012 and launched in April 2013.
The campaign calls for a preemptive and comprehensive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapons systems or killer robots. This goal should be achieved through new international law (a treaty) as well as through national laws and other measures.
The campaign is concerned about weapons that operate on their own without meaningful human control. The campaign seeks to prohibit taking the human “out-of-the-loop” with respect to targeting and attack decisions on the battlefield.
Cluster Munition Coalition
The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) is a global civil society coalition of hundreds of organizations working for a world without cluster munitions, in which the suffering caused by these weapons has ended, and the rights of victims are upheld and realized. The CMC works through its members to change government policy and practice on cluster munitions, especially through promoting universal adherence to and full compliance with the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The CMC raises public awareness and advocates at the national, regional, and international levels. Through its global membership the CMC brings the reality of cluster munition-affected communities into the diplomatic arena. CMC campaigners around the world work in a spirit of cooperation with their governments and other partners to ensure countries join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and live up to the letter and spirit of the treaty.
The CMC was formed in 2003, and in 2011 it merged with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines to become the ICBL-CMC, one organization with two separate campaigns on cluster munitions and on landmines. The campaign work of both the CMC and the ICBL is underpinned and supported by the research work of the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.
With more than 300 civil society partner organizations in all regions of the world, Control Arms successfully campaigned for the creation and adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty. The campaign involved coordinated advocacy, research and policy analysis, international popular mobilization, clear digital and media communications, the participation of a wide range of stakeholder organizations, and a partnership approach with supportive governments.
The goals of the Control Arms Coalition now are to ensure that more states join the Arms Trade Treaty to advance universalization and that governments robustly implement the treaty, thereby establishing high international norms for future arms transfer decision-making.
The individuals and organizations that have consistently called for a bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty come from diverse sectors of society, demonstrating the broad-based support that exists for strong regulations on arms trade. The Control Arms Secretariat, established in 2011, is the coordination body for Control Arms Coalition.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of nongovernmental organizations in more than 100 countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on July 7, 2017.
ICAN began in Australia and was formally launched in Austria in April 2007. The campaign’s founders were inspired by the tremendous success of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Since its founding, ICAN has worked to build a powerful global groundswell of public support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. By engaging a diverse range of groups and working alongside the Red Cross and like-minded governments, the campaign has helped reshape the debate on nuclear weapons and generate momentum towards elimination.
ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its “work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” and its “ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Since its launch in 1992, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) has been the voice of civil society in the diplomatic arena, pushing for changes in government policies and practices to address the suffering caused by landmines. The campaign includes national and international nongovernmental organizations, as well as dedicated individuals, across many disciplines including human rights, development, refugee issues, and medical and humanitarian relief.
The ICBL raises awareness and advocates at the national, regional, and international levels. Through its global membership the ICBL brings the reality of mine-affected communities into the diplomatic arena. ICBL campaigners around the world work in a spirit of cooperation with their governments and other partners to ensure countries join the Mine Ban Treaty and live up to the letter and spirit of the treaty.
The ICBL and Jody Williams received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for their work to achieve a treaty banning antipersonnel landmines. In 2011 the ICBL merged with the Cluster Munition Coalition to become the ICBL-CMC, one organization with two separate campaigns on landmines and on cluster munitions. The campaign work of both the ICBL and the CMC is underpinned and supported by the research work of the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.
International Network on Explosive Weapons
The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) is a nongovernmental organization partnership, established in 2011, that calls for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
INEW believes that this suffering can be reduced, and unnecessary deaths and injuries prevented. INEW is calling on states and other actors to face up to the problem as a policy challenge, to meet the needs of victims and survivors, to review their national practices, and to come together to develop stronger international standards to curb this pattern of violence.
INEW members undertake research and advocacy to promote greater understanding of the problem and the concrete steps that can be taken to address it. They develop partnerships calling for improved policy at a national level and work together to develop stronger standards internationally. Many INEW member organizations also work in countries affected by explosive violence, providing development assistance, documenting the impact of violence, assisting the victims of explosive weapons, and clearing landmines, unexploded ordnance, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Toxic Remnants of War Network
The Toxic Remnants of War Network is a civil society network working to reduce the humanitarian and environmental impact of pollution generated by conflict and military activities.
The Toxic Remnants of War Network aims to work with organizations and experts active in the fields of humanitarian disarmament, the environment, public health, and human rights to ensure that the generation and impact of toxic remnants of war are properly documented and addressed. The network supports the development of improved legal protection for civilians, military personnel, and the environment from toxic remnants of war.
The Toxic Remnants of War Network was created in 2015. Its secretariat was originally housed with the Toxic Remnants of War Project and is now housed with the Conflict and Environment Observatory. Its Steering Group comprises Article 36, Green Cross International, the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), Norwegian People’s Aid, and PAX.