My friend and colleague Jo Becker joined Human Rights Watch in 1997, the year before I came on board. We’ve been there ever since–with the occasional break–leading advocacy for the organization’s respective “thematic” divisions on children’s rights and arms.

Under Jo’s leadership, Human Rights Watch and other NGOs founded the International Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (now Child Soldiers International) in May 1998. Exactly two years later, the coalition’s efforts paid off when governments adopted a protocol to prohibit the use of child combatants in the UN General Assembly on 8 May 2000. The story of this remarkable achievement is told in Chapter One of her new book Campaigning for Justice: Human Rights Advocacy in Practice. (more…)

A new documentary film by Mary Wareham screened for the first time on August 1st, 2010. The 21-minute film entitled Cluster Bombs: Banned in New Zealand looks at the role of government and civil society in the process to create the convention. Made by Next Step Productions in cooperation with the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition, the film screened at an event held in Civic Square, Wellington to celebrate entry into force of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. (more…)

Next Step Productions’ website is now back in action thanks to the talented Mr Jason Conny, who has helped us transition to a new server and system.  It had also become tricky to update several websites (from the Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition to Disarm) and simultaneously maintain a social networking presence on Facebook and elsewhere…

The extent to which online advocacy has become such a core aspect of our organising never ceases to amaze me. From Skype calls to urgent email alerts to the ever-sophisticated process of putting the annual Landmine Monitor report to print it seems like more than half my life is spent on my computer online. Not great when it’s summer outside!