FOCUS ON – The compelling human cost of explosive weapons in populated areas: a testimony | February 25, 2016
Handicap International’s teams, working alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in more than 60 countries and territories, are confronted on a daily basis to the human cost of explosive weapons. Most of Handicap International’s operations take place in conflict or post conflict situations, and our teams are confronted on a daily basis with the […]
Handicap International’s teams, working alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in more than 60 countries and territories, are confronted on a daily basis to the human cost of explosive weapons.
Most of Handicap International’s operations take place in conflict or post conflict situations, and our teams are confronted on a daily basis with the consequences of explosive weapons on civilian populations: providing care and rehabilitation in Gaza, risk education in Afghanistan or clearance in Iraq, to name a few.
We have documented the impact of explosive weapons in Syria in recent field based publications, namely an assessment on injuries encountered while working with IDPs inside Syria. Analyzing more than 1800 interviews conducted in internal displaced persons camps, hospitals and communities inside Syria, we could get a snapshot of the huge physical impact of the use of explosive weapons. At the moment of the use, the blast and/or fragmentation of explosive weapons, when it is not killing people, generates serious injuries and often impedes access of those injured to needed services, in particular emergency health care. Another direct consequence of the use of explosive weapons is the psychological suffering and trauma, for those injured as well as others who have experienced bombing. And the other long term consequences for survivors of explosive weapons are the same than those faced by survivors of other weapons: poverty, loss of means of life, barriers to accede services, discrimination as a person with disability etc.
Historically, Handicap International has always been committed to ensure that the voice of the survivors themselves and their communities are heard. Indeed, we believe that encouraging survivors and families of those killed and injured to speak and campaign is necessary to bring the human impact and the long term consequences for the people at the fore, and thus to make a difference in the policy debate.
Adnan, a survivor, was invited to share his experience during an international event
This is why we invite you to read the story of Adnan Piric, from Bosnia-Herzegovina. On 25 May 1995, what was in ex-Yugoslavia celebrated as a Youth Day, a shrapnel shell fired by an artillery piece, was fired and exploded in the city centre of Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were 71 people killed and 240 wounded. All of the victims were civilians and the majority were between the ages of 18-24. Adnan was among them.