FEEDBACK – Handicap International’s report “Qasef: escaping the bombing” presented at the United Nations | October 6, 2016

Handicap International’s latest report ‘Qasef: Escaping the Bombing’ was presented today to states representatives to the United Nations, in an event co-organised with the mission of Luxembourg to the UN. In the perspective of the discussions in the First Committee of the General Assembly on disarmament and international security and as a contribution to the […]

Handicap International’s latest report ‘Qasef: Escaping the Bombing’ was presented today to states representatives to the United Nations, in an event co-organised with the mission of Luxembourg to the UN.

In the perspective of the discussions in the First Committee of the General Assembly on disarmament and international security and as a contribution to the political process underway to address the harm caused on civilians by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, Handicap International documented the link between forced displacement in Syria and the use of explosive weapons in its report “Qasef: Escaping the bombing“.

The organisation is responding to the humanitarian crisis in Syria since 2012, and works on a daily basis alongside refugees or displaced families. This presentation was another opportunity to ensure that the testimonies of the refugees are heard and that Handicap International’s recommendations are taken into account.

Delegates from more than 18 states attended the event, chaired by Ambassador C. Brau, Permanent representative of Luxembourg to the UN. He expressed the support of his government for Handicap International’s work in response to the Syrian crisis.

Handicap International’s Area Coordinator for Central Syria presented the main findings of the report:

NYQasef_presentation_05102016_10In populated areas in Syria, bombing is often indiscriminate and continuous,

The use of explosive weapons not only injures and kills civilians, it also induces long term traumas, and damages civilian infrastructure.

This pattern of violence creates a long term pattern of displacement, namely due to the contamination by unexploded ordnance that it leaves behind.

The compelling testimony of Sami, a Syrian refugee living in Germany, was shared with UN delegate to illustrate this reality.

Sami screenshot

Richard Moyes, Managing Partner of Article 36 and joint Coordinator of the International Network on Explosive Weapons, explains the humanitarian concern raised by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and gave elements on the international process towards a political declaration to end the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.

Alma Taslidzan Al-Osta reaffirmed Handicap International’s recommendations towards parties to the conflict and the international community:

  • Parties to the conflict should immediately cease all attacks on civilians and civilian facilities,
  • The international community should strongly condemn the use of explosive weapons, especially those with wide-area effects, in populated areas in Syria,
  • All warring parties and the international community should ensure unhindered access to principled humanitarian aid,
  • The international community should support the implementation of risk education and clearance efforts in Syria in the short- and long term.
  • The international community should ensure that all forcibly-displaced people are given a haven, and in the long run, a durable solution that fully respects their dignity.
  • The international community should ensure that the rights of victims of explosive weapons are recognized.

Interventions from the room were very supportive of Handicap International’s efforts to raise awareness on the human consequences of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.  We hope that these recommendations will be taken into account and will result in definitive changes regarding the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.


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