OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FAILS LANDMINE SURVIVORS AT 13MSP

December 5th, 2013
Today the United States of America failed to stand with landmine survivors and against the destruction of landmines.

Below is the statement from the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines:

December 5, 2013

The Obama administration is failing in its humanitarian duty and failing to keep its promises by its inability to conclude its review of US landmine policy more than four years after it began.

One year ago, at the 12MSP, the U.S. delegation assured States Parties that it would conclude the long-delayed review “soon.” At a later public briefing, the head of the delegation clarified that “soon” would be consistent with a reasonable understanding of the word, and that he believed—at the outside—that an announcement of the decision of the review would take place no later than this Meeting of States Parties.

Yet at the meeting today, the head of the U.S. delegation provides us with no other information than that the policy review is “pressing forward.”

The Bush administration concluded its review in three years. Yet four plus years later, we are still waiting on the Obama administration to complete its active and ongoing review. Essentially, this administration has spent another year ignoring this issue, choosing instead to delay a decision on joining a treaty that is saving so many lives every day. There is no excuse for such inaction and the humanitarian costs it entails.

The U.S. continues to opt to stand outside the Mine Ban Treaty, alongside notable outsiders, instead of inside it with all of its NATO and European Union allies. The administration’s apparent unwillingness to commit to no further use of these weapons and to destruction of its existing stockpile of more than 10 million landmines is unacceptable—and additionally provide cover for other countries to defer accession and justify future use. There is simply no scenario in 2013 in which it is realistic that landmines are the only acceptable or even logical military alternative.

The further postponement of the conclusion of this review demonstrates that this administration is just not taking this process seriously—not treating this process as a priority. Yet during these same four years, more than 16,000 men, women, and children have been killed or maimed by a landmine—many by U.S. munitions, and ten more casualties continue to occur every day. This issue is important and needs to be a priority.

Below is the statement from the US delegation:

Statement by Steven Costner
United States Delegation to Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their destruction
December 5, 2013

Thank you , Mr. President,
The United States is pleased to attend the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Ottawa Convention. We congratulate those states that reported completing anti-personnel mine clearance this year.
The United States shares the concern of Parties to the Ottawa Convention and continues to demonstrate our commitment to addressing the humanitarian consequences caused by landmines, both anti-personnel and anti-vehicle. We understand many supporters of the Ottawa Convention both here at this meeting and around the world are interested in the progress of the U.S. landmine policy review, and we assure you that we are pressing forward to conclusion.
As always, the United States applauds the significant accomplishments to date by Parties to the Ottawa Convention in addressing the humanitarian impact of anti-personnel landmines, and we remain committed to a continuing partnership with other States and non-governmental organizations in this effort.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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NOW AVAILABLE ON HULU: “THE EYES OF THAILAND”
November 8th, 2013
We are thrilled to announce that the 10-time award-winning documentary, “The Eyes of Thailand“, is now available on Hulu, as well as iTunes, Amazon and DVD.

Narrated by Ashley Judd, “The Eyes of Thailand” tells the true and inspirational story of Soraida Salwala’s quest to help two elephant landmine survivors–Motala and Baby Mosha–walk on their own four legs. Treating their wounds was only part of the journey; building elephant-sized prostheses was another.

Get some E-LOVE-PHANT. Download, stream or purchase “The Eyes of Thailand” today!

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PRESS REACTION OF CONTROL ARMS ON US SIGNING ARMS TRADE TREATY
September 25th, 2013
September 25, 2013

US Government Signs Arms Trade Treaty – Over 100 countries have now signed
the historic agreement

New York, NY – The Control Arms Coalition welcomed today’s signing of the
Arms Trade Treaty by the United States. As the world’s biggest arms
exporter, the United States joins more than half of UN member states who
have already signed the treaty. So far, 89 have joined the treaty, only 4
months since the treaty opened for signature, and this number is expected
to rise to over 100 by the end of the day

The coalition, which has over 100 member organisations around the world,
urged the US to now live up to the spirit of the treaty by not authorizing
any transfer of weapons where there is a major risk of international human
rights and humanitarian law, such as in the current conflict in Syria.

The Arms Trade Treaty is the first ever multilateral treaty on the global
trade in conventional arms and ammunition, requiring governments to
establish common standards for the international trade of weapons. It is
the first ever global answer to the inadequate patchwork system of national
laws, regional initiatives, and country-specific embargoes that have failed
to effectively control the world’s deadliest trade up to now.

A group of over a dozen countries signed the Arms Trade Treaty in New York
at a ceremony on the margin of the UN General Assembly. Recent signatories
to the Treaty have included Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

“Today’s signing of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United States is a
significant victory for human rights and development,” said Raymond C.
Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “The US is the world’s foremost
arms exporter, and US signature is a powerful step demonstrating the United
States’ commitment to preventing mass atrocities and protecting civilians
from armed conflict.”

Speaking at a High-Level meeting on the Arms Trade Treaty later, Oxfam
International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima:

“The most powerful argument for the Arms Trade Treaty continues to be the
call of the millions who have suffered from armed violence around the
world. No-where is the need for an effective treaty so apparent as in the
devastating humanitarian crisis in Syria. More than two years of war has
killed more than 100,000 people and over seven million are in dire need of
humanitarian aid. The Arms Trade Treaty will not reverse history in Syria
but the past shows us that it can prevent the fuelling of future
conflicts.”

The Treaty creates binding obligations for governments to assess all arms
transfers against the risk that weapons will be used for human rights
abuses, terrorism, transnational organized crime or violations of
humanitarian law. It will require governments to refuse any transfers of
weapons if there is a major risk countries would use them to violate human
rights or commit war crimes.

Allison Pytlak of the Control Arms Coalition said: “Just three months after
opening for signature, more than 100 governments have signed this
groundbreaking agreement and many are making progress toward ratifying it.
Today is a tremendous milestone. We urge all countries to take their
obligations seriously and pass national laws that will enforce the Treaty
and transform the words on the page into action on the ground. Control Arms
will continue to advocate for the Treaty’s universalization but also stands
ready to monitor and assist with implementation.”

Control Arms now calls on the more than 100 countries who have signed the
ATT to swiftly to incorporate the agreement into their national law and
ratify the text. The treaty, which was agreed in April by an overwhelming
majority of the UN membership, will become international law after 50
countries ratify the text.

“It is not enough to sign the treaty. Governments must take their role of
implementing it very seriously. This is a text about saving lives and
transforming the way the arms trade operates. It will require changes in
legislation, and even more importantly, changes in behavior,” said
Saferworld’s Roy Isbister.

Contact: Louis Belanger on +1 917 224 0834

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PRESS RELEASE: CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS CELEBRATES THIRD ANNIVERSARY
August 5th, 2013
Convention on Cluster Munitions Celebrates Third Anniversary:

Senators and Congressman Call on Administration to Review Cluster Munitions Policy and Join Ban Treaty

Washington, D.C. – On the third anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the United States Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs joins Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Patrick Leahy, and Rep. James McGovern in calling for the U.S. to review its existing cluster munitions policy and to take immediate steps toward joining the Convention.

“Every year cluster bombs kill and maim hundreds of innocent men, women, and children,” said Zach Hudson, coordinator of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Cluster Bombs. “The Convention on Cluster Bombs is saving lives every day as more and more states join and promise to never again use these devastating weapons. We echo this call for the United States to take these first steps towards joining the treaty.”

In a letter to President Obama dated July 17, Feinstein, Leahy, and McGovern urged the Pentagon to stop using cluster munitions immediately and requested a review of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) current policy on cluster munitions. They wrote, “Cluster munitions are indiscriminate, unreliable and pose an unacceptable danger to U.S. forces and civilians alike. The U.S. government’s cluster munitions policy is outdated and should be immediately reviewed.”

They further explained, “While we continue to advocate for the current congressional restrictions on the export of cluster munitions, we firmly believe that we must do more. DOD should immediately renounce its use of cluster munitions with submunitions that have a failure rate of greater than one percent. That would be an important step in putting the United States on a path to join the international Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).”

Campaigners in the United States also issued a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Aug. 1, urging U.S. participation as an observer at the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention. The meeting will take place in Lusaka, Zambia, from September 9-13, 2013.

“U.S. attendance at the conference would demonstrate to the many nations impacted by cluster bombs that the U.S. is committed to ending the tragic legacy of these weapons,” said Hudson. “It’s time for the United States to assume a leadership role, join the conversation, and take significant action.”

The Convention on Cluster Munitions comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and places obligations on countries to clear affected areas, assist victims, and destroy stockpiles. To date, 112 states have joined the treaty, including most of the U.S.’s closest allies; 18 NATO countries have signed, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The DOD’s policy on cluster munitions was issued in July 2008, and states that by the end of 2018, the U.S. will no longer use cluster munitions with a failure rate higher than one percent. Only a miniscule percentage of the U.S. stockpile meets that standard.

In February 2013, Feinstein also re-introduced the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act (S. 419) in the Senate, and McGovern re-introduced a companion bill (H.R. 881) in the House. The bill immediately prohibits U.S. funds from being appropriated for the development or use of cluster munitions with a failure rate of greater than one percent and mandates that cluster munitions can only be used against clearly defined military targets and will not be used where civilians are known to be present or in areas normally inhabited by civilians.

For more information, visit www.uscbl.org.

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CONTACTS:

Zach Hudson, Coordinator, USCBL

Phone: +1 (917) 860-1883

E-mail: [email protected]

Alicia Pierro, Outreach & Advocacy Officer, USCBL

Phone: +1 (347) 623-2779

E-mail: [email protected]‑international.us

Follow the USCBL on Facebook and Twitter!

About the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (USCBL):
The USCBL, currently coordinated by Handicap International, is a coalition of thousands of people and U.S. non-governmental organizations working to: (1) ensure no U.S. use, production, or transfer of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions; (2) encourage the U.S. to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions; and (3) secure high levels of U.S. government support for clearance and assistance programs for victims of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.

The USCBL is the U.S. affiliate of the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC). Cluster bombs (cluster munitions) are large weapons which are deployed from the air by aircraft including fighters, bombers and helicopters. These bombs open in mid-air and release dozens or hundreds of smaller submunitions.

About the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC):
The CMC is an international coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in around 100 countries to encourage urgent action against cluster bombs. The CMC facilitates NGO efforts worldwide to educate governments, the public and the media about the problems of cluster munitions and to urge universalization and full implementation of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. http://www.stopclustermunitions.org/

About the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM):
The Convention on Cluster Munitions bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires countries to clear affected areas within 10 years and destroy stockpiles of the weapon within eight. The Convention includes groundbreaking provisions requiring assistance to victims and affected communities. Signed in Oslo in December 2008, the Convention entered into force as binding international law on August 1, 2010 and is the most significant international disarmament treaty since the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.

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SENATOR FEINSTEIN CALLS ON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO END USE OF UNRELIABLE CLUSTER MUNITIONS
July 18th, 2013
JUL 17 2013
Feinstein Calls on President to End Use of Unreliable Cluster Munitions
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) in sending a letter to President Obama calling on the Pentagon to stop using cluster munitions with high failure rates.

Feinstein in February introduced the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act (S. 419) restricting the use of these munitions. McGovern introduced a companion bill in the House.

The letter read: “We write to request that your Administration undertake a review of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) policy on cluster munitions. Rather than waiting until 2018, as is current DOD policy, we believe the U.S. military should immediately halt the use of cluster munitions that have an unexploded ordnance rate of greater than one percent.”

It continued: “Cluster munitions are indiscriminate, unreliable and pose an unacceptable danger to U.S. forces and civilians alike. The U.S. government’s cluster munitions policy is outdated and should be immediately reviewed.”

Full text of the letter follows:

July 17, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

We write to request that your Administration undertake a review of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) policy on cluster munitions. Rather than waiting until 2018, as is current DOD policy, we believe the U.S. military should immediately halt the use of cluster munitions that have an unexploded ordnance rate of greater than one percent.

In April 2010, in a letter to us, former National Security Advisor Jim Jones committed to reviewing the government’s cluster munitions policy after the Administration completes its review on U.S. landmine policy. The Administration’s landmine policy review was completed in late 2011, yet it has not begun a review of its cluster munitions policy. We therefore request that you undertake such a review expeditiously.

As you know, cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that cause unintended harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure, in many cases long after the cessation of hostilities. In fact, cluster munitions dropped by U.S. aircraft over Laos during the Vietnam War continue to pose a danger to civilians nearly forty years after the end of that conflict. 8,750 square kilometers in Laos remain riddled with unexploded ordnance, and estimates of annual casualty figures are as high as 300 civilians. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, unexploded submunitions have killed or injured some 11,000 people in Laos, more than 30 percent of whom have been children.

Not only do cluster munitions threaten civilians, they have been responsible for many U.S. casualties even when used by U.S. forces. During Operation Desert Storm, U.S.-dropped cluster submunitions caused more U.S. troop casualties than any single Iraqi weapon system. More recently, during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division described cluster munitions as “battlefield losers” because U.S. forces were often forced to advance through areas contaminated with unexploded submunitions.

While we continue to advocate for the current congressional restrictions on the export of cluster munitions, we firmly believe that we must do more. DOD should immediately renounce its use of cluster munitions with submunitions that have a failure rate of greater than one percent. That would be an important step in putting the United States on a path to join the international Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). Eighteen NATO countries have signed the CCM, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the June 2008 DOD policy on cluster munitions requires the Services and Combatant Commands to initiate the removal from active inventory all cluster munitions stocks that exceed or do not satisfy operational planning requirements. We ask that you instruct DOD to provide our offices an unclassified report detailing the number of cluster munitions that have been removed from the active stockpile, as well as how many remain, to include a classified annex if necessary.

Finally, current DOD policy requires Combatant Commanders to approve the use of cluster munitions that exceed a one percent unexploded ordnance rate. In June 2010, according to media reports, the U.S. may have used cluster munitions in a strike against an al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, which reportedly killed 14 women, 21 children and 14 alleged members of al-Qaeda. In addition to information on the reduction of U.S. stockpiles, we request that DOD provide detailed information on the use of cluster munitions since the implementation of current DOD policy.

Cluster munitions are indiscriminate, unreliable and pose an unacceptable danger to U.S. forces and civilians alike. The U.S. government’s cluster munitions policy is outdated and should be immediately reviewed. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senator

Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

James McGovern
U.S. Representative

###

Mary Wareham

Advocacy Director, Arms Division

Coordinator, Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

Human Rights Watch

1630 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 500

Washington DC 20011

Tel. +1 (202) 612-4360

Tel. +1 (646) 203-8292 (mobile)

@marywareham

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SPECIAL OFFER: SAVE 50% ON YOUR “EYES OF THAILAND” SCREENING WHEN YOU BOOK BY JULY 31, 2013.
July 9th, 2013
You’ve probably heard of the “Summer of Love”. Well, we want 2013 to be known as the “Summer of ELE-Love”!

That’s why we’ve negotiated to offer THE EYES OF THAILAND Special Screenings at a 50% Discount if you book by July 31st.

The Eyes of Thailand DVDWe’re calling it THE EYES OF THAILAND “Summer of ELE-Love” Package, and if you book your screening by July 31st, you’ll lock in the Special Screening price of US $250.
“Summer of ELE-Love” Screening PACKAGE: $250.00
A 50% Discount!!!
Your screening fee includes:
(1) THE EYES OF THAILAND Screener DVD

(1) Screening License for one Private Screening
(1) Online PR Kit, including: poster art, logo, trailer, press kit.
Facebook and/or Twitter posts from the filmmakers to help promote your screening.
You save 50%.
Your community gets inspired.
The filmmakers will donate 10% of the Screening Fee to FAE’s Elephant Hospital.
It’s a Win-Win-Win scenario!
THE EYES OF THAILAND screening is perfect for schools, colleges, churches, synagogues, temples, yoga studios, businesses, organizations and community fundraisers.
And if you charge $10 per ticket, you start making a profit after only 25 people!
Book by July 31st.
Screen the film anytime before December 31st.
Ask about the Special Option to add a Post-Screening Skype or Facetime call with Director/Producer Windy Borman.
Offer expires July 31st, so don’t wait!
Book your screening of THE EYES OF THAILAND by July 31st, to save 50% on the screening fee and start spreading the “ELE-Love” to your community.
We look forward to bringing the film elephants everywhere give “2 Trunks Up!” to a group, organization or school near you! Email us today!
Sincerely,
Windy, Tim and “The Eyes of Thailand” Team
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ELEPHANT SURVIVORS FEATURED AT BANGKOK SYMPOSIUM FOR LANDMINE COOPERATION AND ASSISTANCE
June 25th, 2013

“The Eyes of Thailand” screened in Bangkok for an international symposium on landmine victim assistance.

Thailand hosted a Special Screening of “The Eyes of Thailand” at an international symposium to enhance assistance and cooperation among mine-affected countries.

The three-day Bangkok Symposium on Cooperation and Assistance: Building Synergy towards Effective Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation began on June 23 with a field visit to the Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Centre, which provides care for persons with disabilities, including landmine survivors.

At the welcoming reception that evening, more than 100 experts and diplomats representing over 35 countries and 10 international and non-governmental organizations attended a Special Screening of “The Eyes of Thailand”, featuring Soraida Salwala, founder of the world’s first Elephant Hospital (FAE), which has treated 15 elephant landmine victims since opening in Thailand in 1993.

“It was a big honour to FAE and me that there was the request to have ‘The Eyes of Thailand’ screened at the welcoming reception,” writes Soraida. “In the welcoming speech by the Deputy Director General of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, kindly talked about how ‘The Eyes of Thailand’ was made and the inspiration it has caused to many that have seen it. I was so overwhelmed, tears filled my eyes.”

Narrated by Ashley Judd, the 10-time award-winning documentary shows Salwala’s quest to help two elephant landmine survivors walk again on their own four legs. Treating their wounds was only part of the journey; building the world’s first elephant prostheses was another.

His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Al Hussein of Jordan, Special Envoy of the Convention, gave a keynote address and highlighted the “need to strengthen national ownership and seek efficient and creative ways to implement mine clearance and assist landmine survivors.” He congratulated Soraida’s achievement and innovation to heal and protect Thailand’s elephant casualties.

Soraida Salwala, Founder of FAE’s Elephant Hospital, and His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Al Hussein of Jordan, Special Envoy of the Convention.

“His Royal Highness kindly enquired how Motala and Mosha were doing, their prosthetic legs and other victims of landmines,” she writes. “I am so honoured and could not help but feel that the world needs more people who care deeply about the victims of landmines, be them human or animals—and in this case the elephants.”

The needs and rights of landmine survivors, including the plight of the elephant landmine survivors, featured prominently in the Symposium, sponsored by Australia and Thailand and supported by the Convention’s Implementation Unit (ISU).

“I could never thank you enough for the hard work you did and the work and support of so many people who have made ‘THE EYES OF THAILAND’ reach out to the world,” Soraida said.

To order a DVD or learn how you can host a Special Screening of “The Eyes of Thailand”, visit http://eyesofthailand.com

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HOST A PRIVATE SCREENING OF “THE EYES OF THAILAND”
May 15th, 2013
“An inspiring and unique documentary that will open up hearts and minds.”
-The Humane Society of the United States

The Eyes of Thailand DVDThe 10-time award-winning documentary, THE EYES OF THAILAND, narrated by Ashley Judd, about Soraida Salwala’s quest to help two elephant landmine survivors walk again on their own four legs, is now available for Private Screenings for your organization or group.

As a young girl, Soraida saw an injured elephant lying on the side of the road because it had been hit by a truck. In 1993, Soraida opened the World’s First Asian Elephant Hospital to treat elephants who were ill or injured from work, abuse or neglect. Six years later, they faced their most difficult challenge: how to save an adult elephant who stepped on a landmine.

A true story of sacrifice and perseverance, THE EYES OF THAILAND shows how far one woman will go to save an endangered species from threats above and below the surface. Soraida’s story is the perfect example of what happens when you Dream BIG. When you combine compassion, human ingenuity and determination, you can make the “impossible” possible.

The film illustrates Soraida Salwala’s “dedication, her insistence that elephants not be forgotten.”
-PopMatters

Create an exciting and powerful event.
Host your own THE EYES OF THAILAND private screening for your group.
Include a Special Guest: the star/subject Soraida Salwala and/or the filmmakers!
Be inspired. Dream BIG.
“World’s largest landmine survivors walk again with human help and ingenuity… The video… [is] an emotional tripwire.”
-TakePart.com

Please email Director/Producer Windy Borman or Producer Tim VandeSteeg for additional information or to book your Private Screening.

“I hope [the film] will raise awareness to protect Asian Elephants–and all beings–from the terror of land mines.”
-Ashley Judd

We look forward to helping you bring the powerful and inspirational THE EYES OF THAILAND to a group, organization or school near you!

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SEATTLE UNIVERSITY HOSTS SPECIAL SCREENING OF “THE EYES OF THAILAND” ON INTERNATIONAL MINE AWARENESS DAY
March 28th, 2013

125 students, faculty and staff “lend their legs” to ban landmines at a Lend Your Leg USA screening of “The Eyes of Thailand”. (c) Seattle University.

Albers Student Clubs ask students to “Lend Their Legs” at a film screening about elephant landmine survivors.

Seattle University Albers Student Club presents a Special Screening of “The Eyes of Thailand” as part of the Lend Your Leg celebrations on International Mine Awareness Day. The Film will screen on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 12:30pm at The Quad, Seattle University. (In case of rain, meet at the PACCAR Auditorium, Pigottt Building). For more information visit .

“The Eyes of Thailand” is directed/produced by Windy Borman and produced by Tim VandeSteeg. The 10-time award-winning documentary, narrated by Ashley Judd, tells the heartwarming and heroic true story of Soraida Salwala, who dedicated 10 years of her life to help two Asian elephants—Motala and Baby Mosha—walk again after losing their legs from stepping on landmines.

Judd writes, “The Eyes of Thailand is a story of sacrifice and perseverance that shows how far one woman will go to save an endangered species from threats above and below the surface. I hope it will raise awareness to protect Asian Elephants—and all beings—from the terror of landmines.”

Seattle University joins the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and hundreds of activists around the world in the global Lend Your Leg campaign, which asks individuals to roll up their pant leg in solidarity with landmine survivors in order to urge decision makers to take action. Lend Your Leg was launched by the Colombian NGO Fundación Arcángeles in 2011 to call attention to the issue of landmines and their devastating effect on communities in Colombia and throughout the world.

Lend Your Leg campaigners urge governments that remain outside the Mine Ban Treaty to join immediately and all governments to take steps towards achieving a mine-free world including: speeding clearance of contaminated land; providing more and better assistance to survivors, their families and communities; and destruction of all remaining stockpiles of antipersonnel mines.

“The Eyes of Thailand” was awarded the “ACE Documentary Film Grant” from The Humane Society of the United States and “Best Documentary” Awards from the FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. The film has also garnered Humanitarian, Green, Rising Star, Animal Advocacy and Animation awards since its World Premiere in April 2012.

The filmmakers have created a successful and loyal following through the film’s social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter , and the film’s website .

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A HEALING TOUCH FOR FAE’S ELEPHANTS
March 7th, 2013

Patty Coggan, Soraida Salwala and Anne Snowball at FAE’s Elephant Hospital. (c) Eyes of Thailand, LLC.

We had the honor of traveling to FAE’s Elephant Hospital with practioners of TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy in 2010 and 2012. Below is a conversation with two of them, Anne Snowball and Patty Coggan, about their work on FAE’s elephants, including Mosha, Motala and Boonmee, who are featured in “The Eyes of Thailand” now available on DVD.

What is TTOUCH? What types of animals was it designed for?

Anne Snowball: TTOUCH™ is part of the Tellington Method which aids in rebalancing both animal and human mentally, emotionally, and physically. The method incorporates the TTOUCH™ body work and ground exercises to build confidence, overcome negative behavior patterns, and release pain and fear. It differs from massage as it works with the nervous system and the body at the cellular level. Further, TTOUCH™ involves gentle, non-habitual, movements of the skin bringing sensory awareness and trust. Originally developed for horses, its universality has expanded into companion animal and wildlife rescue communities.

How did you hear about the elephant landmine survivors at FAE?

Anne: I was volunteering at a major wildlife symposium focusing on endangered African species when Director/Producer Windy Borman approached me and posed the question of the plight of the Asian elephant. During our conversation, I was fascinated by the work that she was doing with the Asian elephant in Thailand and immediately realized this was an ideal place to apply TTOUCH™ .

Patty Coggan: I was part of the team that Anne put together to go to Thailand and work on the elephants and teach the mahouts techniques that would help the elephants heal. [Anne and I] had met in an advanced training of craniosacral therapy for equines. Anne and I work together on large animals combining both TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy. The synergy of both methods has proven to be very effective.

Why did you think TTOUCH™ and Craniosacral Therapy might help Mosha, Motala …