COMING UP – Handicap International for strong provisions on victim assistance in the context of explosive weapons in populated areas | May 6, 2016

On 11th of May, Handicap International will host a workshop in Sarajevo with civil society experts and survivors, to feed the work of the States drafting a Political Declaration on preventing harm from explosive weapons in populated areas. An international mobilization to prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated areas The humanitarian impact of […]

On 11th of May, Handicap International will host a workshop in Sarajevo with civil society experts and survivors, to feed the work of the States drafting a Political Declaration on preventing harm from explosive weapons in populated areas.

An international mobilization to prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

The humanitarian impact of the use of the explosive weapons in populated areas has attracted growing attention these last years: about 50 countries have publicly expressed concern on this issue, and the UN Secretary-General and the International Committee of the Red Cross have called on states to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in densely populated areas. A group of governments, UN Agencies, and civil society organizations met in Vienna on 21-22 September 2015 to discuss how to prevent harm from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Ensuring that the needs and rights of survivors and indirect victims are essential elements of the future political declaration

At the end of the meeting, many of the participating governments indicated support for developing a Political Declaration on this issue and supported the call by Handicap International to include a strong section on victim assistance in the future declaration. Therefore, Handicap International is gathering representatives from affected regions and relevant areas of technical expertise, for a workshop in Sarajevo on 11 and 12 May 2016.

Its objective is to draft specific recommendations on victim assistance provisions, for the upcoming Political Declaration. The recommendations will be published and presented in relevant fora and circulated among states and relevant stakeholders.

Ensuring the voices of survivors are heard

ParticipationDon Carlos est agriculteur. Un jour comme les autres, il travaille au champ avec d?autres agriculteurs. Il est en train de nettoyer une partie du champ lorsque son pied se pose sur une mine, qui explose. Il faut lui amputer sa jambe gauche. Un an après l?accident, il reçoit sa première prothèse. Handicap International lui fait suivre un traitement kiné et lui procure de l?assistance psychologique. Handicap International l?aide également à trouver un nouveau travail pour subvenir aux besoins de sa famille. Don Carlos aime son nouvel emploi, même s?il ne peut plus cultiver sa terre. Témoignage complet disponible sur demande (aurore.vanvooren@handicap.be) . // Don Carlos is a farmer. One day just like others, he is working in the fields with other farmers. He is cleaning the field when he puts his foot on a mine and it explodes. He will have his left leg amputated. One year after the accident, he gets a prosthesis. Handicap International has him follow a physical therapy and a psychological therapy. Handicap International helps him to find a job to provide for the family?s upkeep. Don Carlos loves his new job even if he cannot work in the fields anymore. The complete testimony is available by request (aurore.vanvooren@handicap.be) of survivors will be facilitated during the workshop. Due to restrictions of movement some of the invited survivors are not able to come to Sarajevo; however video-conference will be organized in order for them to share their experience of the impact of explosive weapons on their life and the life of their relatives, and to explain what they expect from this mobilisation of States in regards to assistance to victims of explosive weapons.

© Gaël Turine – VU / Handicap International

The choice of the location of the workshop is symbolic since Sarajevo is a populated area which was strongly affected by explosive weapons during the Bosnian war. Participants will be invited to visit a site bombed during the siege of Sarajevo, accompanied by Bosnian Red Cross members who intervened at that time to rescue the victims, in order to better understand the impact of explosive weapons in populated areas on civil population and the constraints faced by emergency teams to access and provide support to victims.


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