Geneva – A new publication by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit launched 23 January in Geneva, highlights the supporting role that national demining authorities can play in integrating landmine victim assistance into broader approaches to healthcare, disability and human rights.
“By documenting good practices from around the globe, the publication Five Key Examples of the Role of Mine Action in Integrating Victim Assistance into Broader Frameworks illustrates how mine action entities can contribute to assisting the victims of landmines and other explosive remnants of war,” said the Director of the Implementation Support Unit, Kerry Brinkert.
“The mission of landmine victim assistance is the full and effective participation of survivors in society on a basis equal to others. Mine action structures cannot fulfil this mission on their own and humanitarian demining programmes are intended to eventually end,” said Kerry Brinkert. “However, if mine action structures play their niche role effectively, considerable gains can be made within the limited time-frame of their existence,” added Kerry Brinkert, noting that mine action can assist in the following ways:
Mine action entities can raise awareness within their governments of the important commitment that states have made to landmine and other explosive remnants of war survivors.
With awareness having been raised, mine action structures can support or initiate an inter-ministerial process to address the needs and guarantee the rights of victims and survivors in the broader context of a state’s response as concerns disability and development.
Mine action programmes can leverage international interest in assisting victims to advocate for advances that should benefit all persons living with disabilities. This could include supporting accession to, and implementation of, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
International interest in the landmine cause can be used by mine action programmes to mobilise resources to benefit not only victims and survivors but also the broader community of women, girls, boys and men who live with disabilities.
Mine action programmes can promote effective coordination between landmine survivors and their representative organisations, those interested in assisting them, and those state entities with lead responsibility for health care, social services and disability.
Age- and sex-disaggregated data on mine and other explosive remnants of war casualties collected by a national mine action programme can be fed into broader national injury surveillance and disability information systems.
The publication documents examples of states in which the role of mine action programmes in landmine victim assistance has been played well:
In Afghanistan, the mine action coordination centre filled a void by taking the initiative to support and build the capacities of the government to address the rights of survivors in the broader context of health care, rehabilitation, education, and disability.
In Albania, the mine action executive body leveraged the landmine issue to enhance medical and rehabilitation capacities in the poorest region of the poorest country in Europe.
In South Sudan, mine action supported an initiative to obtain disability data where little before had existed.
In Tajikistan, the mine action centre was instrumental in promoting the rights of survivors in the broader context of disability and development.
In Thailand, the mine action centre delegated responsibility to ensure the rights and address the needs of victims and survivors within broader State responses to injury and disability.
The publication was made possible thanks to a grant from the Government of Australia to the Convention’s Implementation Support Unit.
Improving the quality of life for victims of explosive remnants of war is a significant focus of Australia’s mine action assistance. In order to enhance the sustainability of victim assistance efforts, Australia is seeking to ensure that these efforts are integrated within national level health and disability programs.
The full publication, Five Key Examples of the Role of Mine Action in Integrating Victim Assistance into Broader Frameworks, which can be of help to national mine action authorities, United Nations advisors and partner governments can be downloaded here.
The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997, opened for signature in Ottawa the same year and entered into force on 1 March 1999. The Convention was the first disarmament instrument to take into consideration the rights of the survivors of a particular weapon. Since entering into force, millions of square metres of once dangerous lands have been released for normal human activity and over 44.5 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed.