07 September 2009

Handicap International launches "Voices from the Ground" report: Landmine survivors call on governments to live up to their Mine Ban Treaty promises

A groundbreaking new report, "Voices from the Ground - Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Survivors Speak out on Victim Assistance", was released globally by Handicap International and other members of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) around the world. This is the first ever report surveying survivors' opinions on assistance, and shows that despite progress in stockpile destruction and landmine clearance, governments around the world are not living up to their promises to treat and reintegrate landmine survivors into society.One of the survivors profiled in the report is Aynalem, from Northern Ethiopia, who was injured by a cluster submunition on her way home from school in 1998. One of Aynalem's legs was amputated, and since 1998 she has had nine prosthetic legs. Aynalem knows that mines, just like the cluster submunition that injured her, are indiscriminate weapons. Cluster submunition survivors often require the same services and assistance and live in the same affected communities as other mine/ERW survivors. Since her injury, Aynalem has learnt about the VA (Victim Assistance) provisions of the Nairobi action plan, which do not discriminate between survivors from antipersonnel mines and ERW (other persons with disabilities). The report outlines that the Convention on Cluster Munitions drew heavily on the lessons of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Nairobi Action plan for its VA provisions. Under lesson 3 in the report, it is highlighted that the MBT "needs to re-establish its pioneering leadership by building on and extending the more specific language of the Convention on Cluster Munitions."Handicap International's Brussels-based Policy Unit has since 2001 conducted systematic advocacy and research on the human impact of landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war, as well as on efforts to assist survivors, their families, and affected communities. More information, and links to the full report can be found at http://en.handicapinternational.be/Voices-from-the-Ground_a616.html