Sudan: "Second National Workshop on landmine/ERW victim assistance"

Report
from UN Mine Action Office in Sudan
Published on 22 Aug 2007
KHARTOUM, 22 August 2007 - Landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) present physical, psychological and social threats to the human security of local populations and communities in Sudan. Twenty-one of Sudan's 26 states may be affected by landmines or ERW. The exact scope and impact of the problem, however, will remain unknown until the completion of the recently started landmine impact survey. During the past months a needs assessment was carried out in the areas of Wau and Juba (Southern Sudan) and over 1,000 mine/ERW victims were identified. There are over 3,400 documented victims either killed or injured, as revealed through more than four years of data collection. As more refugees and internally displaced persons return home in the coming months, the number of new victims could rise.

The UN Mine Action Service, UNICEF, the UN Development Programme and the UN Office for Project Services are jointly implementing a project in Sudan to help victims of mines and explosive remnants of war and to provide community-based mine-risk education services. The 18-month project is supported by a contribution of $1,698,341 from the Government of Japan through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security and it is implemented through the UN Mine Action Office in Sudan. The project, which was officially launched in 2006, has four main objectives:

- to support mine/ERW victims while promoting sustainable reconciliation and building of peace

- to conduct a needs assessment and provide technical support for victims' socio-economic reintegration

- to raise awareness of communities and returnees, especially children and young adults, about the threats of mine/ERW and to promote behaviours that will keep them out of harm's way

- to enhance understanding of the links between victim assistance, mine risk education and human security

The involvement by the most vulnerable populations, the enhancement of a community based and gender balance approaches, together with the advocacy for the rights of mine/ERW victims and persons with disabilities (PWDs) are crucial aspects of the project. In addition, the program supports the development of a National Strategic Framework and Work Plan. The documents will guide the design, implementation and monitoring of activities aimed at improving services for mine/ERW victims in Sudan.

In 2007 Sudan, together with the Austrian Government, is co-chairing the "Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration" whose mandate is to identify practical means to assist States in meeting their obligations under Article 6.3 of the Ottawa Convention. Programs and initiatives are ongoing to boost and streamline Victim Assistance interventions in mine/ERW affected areas in the Country.

UNMAS/UNOPS, the National Mine Action Centre & South Sudan De-Mining Commission together with relevant ministries and commissions, have developed a 2-year National Victim Assistance Work Plan. The final draft of the Work Plan will be officially presented and discussed during the Second National Workshop on Victim Assistance which will be held in Khartoum on the 28th and 29th August 2007.

The workshop will be attended by national and international NGOs, various organisations, authorities from the northern and southern areas of Sudan, mine/ERW victims, experts, representatives from various embassies, UN agencies and other organizations involved/interested in VA and disability.

The workshop will constitute a forum to advocate for VA and disability issues in Sudan and internationally, to promote the development of further and accessible services for mine/ERW victims and PWDs, to support the involvement of victims in VA related programs and to share ideas and experiences.

For further information, please contact:

Davide Naggi, UN Mine Action Office, Khartoum, Sudan, naggid@unops.org +249912177945.

In New York, contact: Richard Kollodge, UN Mine Action Service, kollodge@un.org, +1 212 963 5677