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First Lao American to Lead Efforts for the Ban on Cluster Bombs and Landmines in the U.S.

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. January 6th, 2023 — Legacies of War has been selected to hold the position of Chair of the US Campaign to Ban Landmines - Cluster Munition Coalition with Legacies’ CEO, Sera Koulabdara representing the organization in this role. Sera will be the first BIPOC, millennial, and person with lived experience in an impacted country to take on this role.

This new year marks the 50th year since the last American bombs were dropped on Laos during America’s ‘Secret War’ in Laos. Legacies of War is an organization working to address the impact of the ‘Secret War’ and the conflict in Southeast Asia ,including advocating for funds to remove all unexploded ordnance (UXO) and in support of assistance for victims of UXO.

Since 2020, Legacies of War has been a proud Steering Committee member of the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL), a coalition of non-governmental organizations working to push the U.S. to ban the use of antipersonnel mines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, with more than 160 other nations. The USCBL is the national affiliate of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines - Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL - CMC). This is a global network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and dedicated individuals working in more than 100 countries to promote adherence to and implementation of the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions.

“We welcome the announcement that Legacies of War (LoW) has been selected to Chair the United States Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-CMC), 50 years after the end of the US bombing campaign in Laos. LoW’s work, bringing visibility to the longstanding and deadly legacy of explosive remnants of war (ERW) and landmines in Laos, illustrates the broad range of mine action advocacy work undertaken by USCBL-CMC members. Their work is a great example of the global collaborative efforts of ICBL-CMC members in supporting communities affected by landmines and cluster munitions, and working to bring more states on board the treaties banning the weapons.” -Héctor Guerra, Director, International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)

“The US Campaign to Ban Landmines – US Cluster Munition Coalition has always had at its heart the perspective of survivors. This important focus is a strong part of Legacies of War’s history and its future, and as Chair, Legacies will ensure this is never forgotten. At Humanity & Inclusion (HI), we welcome Legacies’ leadership for our network, and we are glad to know the survivor perspective will help guide the Campaign and Coalition for the foreseeable future.” -Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion

“There could not be a better placed organization to coordinate the US Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition than Legacies of War. Its small, but mighty team works with authority and humility to address the devastating and long-lasting impact caused by US use of cluster bombs and other weapons more than five decades ago in Laos and Southeast Asia. Legacies of War is committed to ensuring that the US joins and adheres to the international treaties prohibiting antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.” - Mary Wareham, Arms Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

“The USCBL-CMC is fortunate to have Sera Koulabdara as Chair of USCBL-CMC, as she is uniquely qualified as a leader in mine action. Her family heritage in Laos is the basis of her passion, as she brings a renewed spirit of hope to the landmine/UXO campaign.” -Heidi Kuhn, Founder & CEO Roots of Peace

"I am delighted that Sera and Legacies of War will provide leadership for this important work. How fitting that a child of Laos, where unexploded U.S. cluster bombs still litter the soil, should lead the effort to ban these indiscriminate weapons from the U.S. arsenal." -Titus Peachey, Legacies of War, Emeritus Board Chair

If you would like to learn more about Legacies of War, please contact:

Danae Hendrickson,

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