Ukraine Crisis: Help us deliver inclusive emergency aid.

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PS - Here is one of my favorite stories from 2015, showing the moment that two of our beneficiaries from the Nepal Quake got their first prosthetic legs from Handicap International:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-army-vet-helps-girl-injured-nepal-earthquake/story?id=34922624


  • Yemen | Alarming new report shows dire situation for persons with disabilities

    May 23, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    The conflict in Yemen has deepened the discrimination experienced by persons with disabilities across the spectrum of economic, social, health and civil rights. Humanity & Inclusion’s new report, “Unshielded, Unseen - The Implementation of UNSC Resolution 2475 on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict in Yemen,” paints a harrowing picture for more than 4.8 million people with disabilities living in the war-torn country.

    The government of Yemen is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and has a legal obligation to implement its provisions. But representatives from Yemeni organizations of persons with disabilities report that all efforts to implement a national strategy document to promote the rights of person with disabilities have ceased since the onset of hostilities in 2015. They say that momentum for the promotion of their rights was lost.

    Impact of armed violence on healthcare and humanitarian access

    The highest rates of deadly attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in over three years occurred in January 2022, showing the lack of progress in protecting civilians in Yemen from armed violence. Marginalized groups, such as persons with disabilities, are most at risk. A respondent interviewed by Humanity & Inclusion describes that many persons with hearing disabilities have sustained conflict-related injuries as they may not hear or understand what is occurring during attacks or armed clashes.

    “We, persons with disabilities, are often afraid to go outside. We live with a constant fear of getting injured since we simply cannot escape when explosions or armed clashes take place. This is a fear of every Yemeni, yet our limitations prevent us from being able to quickly get away from such hostile situations. It is a constant fear for persons with disabilities in Yemen live with, and it’s holding us back from being able to do many things such as looking for sources of income.”
    -- Representative from an Organization of Persons with Disabilities (OPD).

    The war has wreaked havoc on the country’s health system, wiping out 50% of its health facilities. Attacks on health facilities, both direct and indirect have been widespread, yet even facilities that are not physically damaged by explosive weapons are nonetheless impacted by the damage caused by explosive weapons to civilian infrastructure such as roads or ports. With key transportation hubs destroyed and roads damaged, the transport of medical goods and humanitarian supplies cannot be maintained.

    81% of people with disabilities unable to reach or use humanitarian services

    An estimated 10 million Yemenis (around 50% of the population in need) are living in areas affected by access constraints and, out of 21 governorates, 16 are considered hard to reach. This reality affects access of persons with disabilities to vital assistance. Through surveying persons with disabilities in Yemen, Humanity & Inclusion found that a shocking 81% felt that they were unable to reach or use humanitarian services.

    Humanity & Inclusion’s data suggests that delays in reaching health services can lead to life-long difficulties, particularly for victims with complicated injuries caused by explosive ordnance and patients with untreated chronic illness.

    People with disabilities excluded at internally displaced people sites

    The dire situation of persons with disabilities in Yemen is strongly exacerbated by widespread displacement as well. Most IDP sites lack adequate basic services such as accessible shelter and latrines and proximity to food distribution points, while services and activities that take the specific needs of persons with disabilities into account are often not present.

     “Key protection assistance such as Gender-Based Violence (GBV) services are generally inaccessible to women and girls with disabilities, while teachers for non-formal education activities in camps are not adequately equipped to accommodate students with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are often also not represented in camp committees or other community governance mechanisms, resulting in their needs and concerns not being voiced towards camp management and implementing organizations.”  -- Adrian Carrillo, Humanity & Inclusion Yemen Inclusion Technical Specialist

    An environment of impunity

    Although the blatant disregard for international law, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has persisted, in October 2021, the UN Human Rights Council voted to reject the renewal of the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE), the only international and independent body investigating violations and abuses of international law committed by all parties to the conflict. This has put millions of already vulnerable lives at further risk. The rejection of the renewal of the mandate, while violations of international law continue across the country, also sent the message that those violating the rights of the Yemeni people may act with impunity--with no one to hold them accountable. Data shows that the number of civilians killed or injured in Yemen almost doubled since the mandate of the GEE was suspended, from 823 civilians killed in the four months before October 2021 to 1,535 in the four months that followed. With 200 air raids and up to 716 individual airstrikes, February 2022 constituted the longest period of heavy bombing since 2018.

    “I do not pay much attention anymore to resolutions such as 2475 or action plans, since there is literally no institutional capacity or judicial authority to actually implement any of the actions proposed in these documents. Even organizations fall short in implementing the provisions. Without capacity, they simply remain dead letter.” -- Representative of an Organization of Persons with Disabilities

    Although a truce was declared in April 2022, it is yet to be seen how long it will remain upheld and respected, and whether or not it will culminate in sustainable peace talks.

    Notes

    • Interviews possible with Yasmine Daelman, Humanitarian and Policy Advisor for Humanity & Inclusion based in Aden, Yemen, and heavily involved in the production of the report.
    • Report can be downloaded here
    • Humanity & Inclusion has worked in Yemen since 2014. 

    Methodology

    Humanity & Inclusion’s report, "Unshielded, Unseen - The Implementation of UNSC Resolution 2475 on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict in Yemen” provides a non-exhaustive examination of the situation of persons with disabilities in Yemen against the provisions made in Resolution 2475 and proposes recommendations to facilitate its implementation in the context of Yemen. For this purpose, both a literature review and key informant interviews with representatives from eight local Yemeni organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) were conducted, as well as talks with affected persons and INGO professionals in the field. These interviews and research took place from March to April 2022. The report also reflects anecdotal and empirical evidence from Humanity & Inclusion’s experience implementing activities for and with persons with disabilities in Yemen.


  • Statement | Response to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres annual report on civilian protection

    May 19, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    United Nations Secretary General António Guterres published his annual report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict on May 18, 2022. Humanity & Inclusion's Advocacy Director, Anne Héry, welcomed the report, and provided the following response:  

    “We warmly welcome UNSC annual report who recognizes the ‘urgent need for parties to conflict to ‘avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas’. Antonio Guterres also acknowledges the ‘reverberating effects on essential services such as water, sanitation, electricity and health care’ caused by bombing and shelling in populated area. In the report, António Guterres expresses its supports for ‘continuing efforts towards a political declaration to address this problem’: ‘Such a declaration should include a clear commitment by States to avoid the use of wide-area explosive weapons in populated areas’. After two years of diplomatic process, discussions continue on the text of a political declaration against bombing in populated areas; We are now a few weeks way from a final version. António Guterres’ Statement should be an incentive for any States to support a strong and ambitious political declaration that would concretely protect civilians from the harms caused by bombing and shelling in urban areas.”

     


  • Statement | Alleged Use of Cluster Munitions by Ukraine

    April 25, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion's Advocacy Director, provided the following statement regarding Ukraine's alleged use of cluster munitions. 

    The New York Times reported the alleged use of cluster munitions by Ukrainians forces in Husarivka, Eastern Ukraine. Cluster munitions were previously used several times by Russian forces in Ukraine since the beginning of the large scale Russian military operations.

    "Humanity & Inclusion condemns any use of cluster munitions by any parties to the conflict. Cluster Munitions are banned by the Oslo Treaty since 2008: They are indiscriminate and imprecise weapons. They can impact an area as wide as a soccer field. Their lack of precision poses a particular and unacceptable threat to civilians. Plus, up to 40% of the submunitions do not self-destruct or explode on impact, meaning cluster munitions leave a deadly legacy of explosions waiting to happen. They stay on the ground and can remain active and hazardous for decades."

     


  • Ukraine | Joint statement on the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure

    April 08, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    We, the undersigned humanitarian organizations, are shocked and disturbed by the level of humanitarian needs and mass civilian deaths, casualties, and sexual violence against women and girls witnessed in different regions across Ukraine.

    Targeting densely populated areas and collectively depriving civilians of their right to access basic needs, essential services, humanitarian assistance, protection, and safe evacuation - as well as targeting civilian objects such as hospitals, learning institutions and residential buildings are blatant violations of International Humanitarian Law.

    As humanitarian organizations following the principles of neutrality, independence, and impartiality, we are seriously concerned about the ongoing hostilities and the international community's unsuccessful efforts at negotiating and securing a ceasefire. The cessation of hostilities is urgently needed to stop the killing of civilians and the suffering of people in Ukraine. We are closely monitoring the ongoing UN-led high-level negotiations and demand that they have a positive outcome on the humanitarian situation on the ground.

    Nothing can justify the ongoing suffering of civilians, particularly children and women, older women and men, and people with disability in Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel, Borodianka, Mariupol, and in other Ukrainian regions. All parties to the conflict must uphold their international obligations, including not targeting civilians and vital public infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, and water and electricity supplies. All parties to the conflict must not tolerate in their ranks sexual violence. Such serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in armed conflicts could amount to war crimes.

    "I will never forget the day I tried to get out of Irpin. I was outside when my neighbor's car was shelled. The father died, and the mother and her child were wounded. It is difficult to accept this and impossible to understand. I desperately want this war to come to an end," - Olha, a senior from Irpin, currently displaced in western Ukraine.

    We call for a serious political agreement for the protection of civilians, including safe and voluntary passage to people who want to leave high-risk areas across Ukraine. At the same time their right to determine their destination of choice for evacuation must be respected in line with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    Parties to the conflict must urgently facilitate unimpeded humanitarian access allowing relief workers and volunteers to urgently deliver life-saving assistance and medical support to people in need. Under the IV Geneva Convention and the UN Security Council Resolution 2286, health personnel and health facilities, such as hospitals and other facilities that have been set up for medical purposes, must be respected and protected in all circumstances. Medical units may not be attacked and access to them may not be limited. 

    The international community, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, must take sterner measures to bring hostilities to an end, and reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and conditions under which respect for the obligations from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.

    We add to and reiterate our demands from March 4, 2022:

    • An immediate cessation of hostilities and targeting of civilians, civilian objects and infrastructure;
    • All parties to the conflict must abide by International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Attacks targeting civilians and public infrastructure, including facilities that are indispensable for the survival of the civilians are prohibited under IHL. At no time should hostilities jeopardize the rights, well-being and safety of civilians or civilian objects such as schools, health centers, markets or farmlands, among others;
    • Safe and unhindered humanitarian access, including across conflict lines for humanitarian assistance to reach all those in need, particularly those in vulnerable situations, with respect to the independence and neutrality of humanitarian agencies and the protection of humanitarian personnel and volunteers;
    • All children have the right to enjoy provisions under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which urges all persons to consider the best interests of the child. During armed conflict, IHL provides general protection for children as persons not taking part in hostilities and special protection as particularly vulnerable persons. Protocol I, Article 77: "Children shall be the object of special respect and shall be protected against all forms of indecent assault. The parties to the conflict shall provide them with such care and assistance as they may require, whether on account of their age or for any other reason";
    • All parties must abide by their obligations under Security Council resolutions on Children and Armed Conflict, and prevent the killing and maiming, recruitment, use, sexual exploitation and sexual violence against girls, boys and adolescents who are at risk of suffering the six grave violations against children in conflict;
    • All parties to the conflict must recall the fundamental Principle of Distinction and the Safe Schools Declaration to ensure the protection of all children and facilities including schools, kindergartens and hospitals where children are present. The full range of duty bearers and armed actors must ensure that children and their caregivers remain safe, regardless of the prevailing circumstances;
    • The United Nations Security Council to uphold their mandate, ensure the protection of civilians and maintain international peace and security away from political disputes;
    • A serious political agreement for the protection of every civilian trapped in high-risk areas anywhere in Ukraine, including safe and voluntary passage to people who want to leave, humanitarian access, and protection. At the same time their right to determine their destination of choice for evacuation must be respected in line with the Fourth Geneva Convention;
    • Ensure full cooperation with the United Nations and the ICRC to facilitate the implementation and monitoring of safe and systematic passages enabling the swift passage of humanitarian cargos and convoys including the safe passage of all civilians and relief workers;
    • All countries to equally welcome all foreign nationals and stateless persons fleeing Ukraine regardless of their nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, country of origin, religious background, race or ethnicity;
    • All funds to alleviate the suffering, and for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine must be additional and flexible, or new funding streams adapted to local actors. They must not be diverted from other under-funded humanitarian crises taking place globally.

    Ukraine_INGO_Statement.JPG


  • Aid distribution begins in Ukraine

    Humanity & Inclusion has begun providing support to institutions in Chernivtsi, a city in the west of Ukraine, including a care facility where people with disabilities and older people are sheltering after fighting and bombings forced them from their homes

    Read more

  • USCBL-USCMC strongly condemns continued use of cluster munitions in Ukraine

    March 09, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) today issued the following statement, shared below, and available for download here

    Independent observers have documented numerous cluster munition attacks over the past weeks in Ukraine. Cluster munitions, no matter how they are deployed, are among the most harmful weapons to civilians because in addition to their immediate effects, they often remain unexploded, sometimes for decades, and can detonate with deadly results years after a conflict ends. The indiscriminate use of cluster munitions that is taking place in Ukraine is banned under international humanitarian law.

    We join the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions Coalition in strongly condemning the use of cluster munitions by Russian forces in Ukraine call for the immediate end to the use of these banned weapons by the Russian Federation.

    U.S. officials have specifically mentioned these weapons in their justified criticism of Russian behavior. So too have a growing number of countries.

    Now, we call on the United States to demand the immediate halt to all use of cluster munitions in Ukraine and anywhere else.

    There exists an international agreement to forever ban the use of cluster munitions: the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Unfortunately, Russia is not a party to this treaty, nor is the United States and Ukraine. The failure of the United States to join the international agreement banning cluster munitions weakens the impact of United States’ criticism about Russia’s use of these weapons.

    Therefore, we also call upon the Biden Administration to rapidly submit the Convention on Cluster Munitions to the United States Senate for advice and consent to accede to the treaty. The time for the United States government to act is now.

    #

    About USCBL-USCMC

    The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition is a coalition of non-governmental organizations working to ensure that the U.S. comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel mines--by banning their use in Korea--and joins the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, as more than 160 nations have done. It is the national affiliate of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), founded in New York in 1992 and recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate together with former ICBL coordinator Ms. Jody Williams of Vermont. We also call for sustained U.S. government financial support for mine clearance and victim assistance. 

    The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines is coordinated by Humanity & Inclusion and its Steering Committee members include: Amnesty International USAArms Control AssociationCenter for Civilians in ConflictFriends Committee on National LegislationHuman Rights WatchLegacies of WarPhysicians for Human RightsUNICEF USAWest Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions / Proud Students Against Landmines.

    About Humanity & Inclusion

    Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization, working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and people living in situations of extreme vulnerability, our action and testimony focus on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

    Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) mobilizes resources, jointly manages projects, and increases the impact of the organization’s principles and actions.  The organization has numerous prizes to its name, including the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the 1996 Nansen Prize, and two 2020 European Union Horizon Prizes for innovation. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task. 

    Interviews available 

    Please contact Mica Bevington ([email protected])


  • donated 2022-03-05 15:19:58 -0500

  • Ukraine Conflict: Bombing, shelling in populated areas cause incredible suffering for civilians

    Main cities like Kharkiv and the capital, Kyiv, have been subjected to heavy bombing.

    Read more

  • Ukraine conflict | ICBL-CMC Condemns Alleged Cluster Bomb Use and Civilian Harm

    (Geneva) – The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC), of which Humanity & Inclusion is a founding member, strongly condemns the alleged use of cluster munitions yesterday by Russian forces in the Ukraine conflict, and the death and injury of civilians, as reported by The New York Times and other sources. ICBL-CMC is alarmed by the threat of further harm to civilians including humanitarian mine action partners, following yesterday’s largescale escalation by Russia.

    Read more

  • Ukraine: Use of explosive weapons will be disastrous for civilians

    INEW Statement
    The military invasion of Ukraine, including use of heavy explosive weapons in and around major cities and other populated areas, raises grave concerns over the protection of the civilian population.

    Read more

  • Ukraine conflict | ICBL-CMC Condemns Alleged Cluster Bomb Use and Civilian Harm

    February 25, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    (Geneva) – The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC), of which Humanity & Inclusion is a founding member, strongly condemns the alleged use of cluster munitions yesterday by Russian forces in the Ukraine conflict, and the death and injury of civilians, as reported by The New York Times and other sources. ICBL-CMC is alarmed by the threat of further harm to civilians including humanitarian mine action partners, following yesterday’s largescale escalation by Russia.

    We call for an immediate halt to use of the internationally banned weapon, and urge all parties to guarantee protection of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law, and the international norm banning use of cluster munitions and landmines.

    Cluster munitions were previously used in the conflict in Ukraine between July 2014 and February 2015, though the extent of existing contamination is unknown. Cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that overwhelmingly kill and injure civilians, and leave a deadly legacy of contamination threatening lives and hindering recovery for years to come.
    Russia remains outside of the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Ukraine has not joined the
    Convention on Cluster Munitions, though it is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

    ICBL-CMC works for a world free of landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war, where all lives are protected. A world where contaminated land is cleared and returned to local populations for productive use and where the needs of affected communities and survivors are met and their human rights guaranteed.

    Interviews available

    • Anne Héry | Advocacy Director
    • Alma Taslidžan Al-Osta | Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager

    Please contact Mica Bevington ([email protected]) or Lucy Cottle ([email protected]) to arrange. 

    About ICBL

    The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is a global network of non-governmental organizations, active in some 100 countries, that works for a world free of antipersonnel landmines, where landmine survivors can lead fulfilling lives.

    About Humanity & Inclusion

    Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization, working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and people living in situations of extreme vulnerability, our action and testimony focus on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

    Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) mobilizes resources, jointly manages projects, and increases the impact of the organization’s principles and actions.  The organization has numerous prizes to its name, including the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the 1996 Nansen Prize, and two 2020 European Union Horizon Prizes for innovation. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task. 


  • Ukraine: Use of explosive weapons will be disastrous for civilians

    February 24, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    INEW Statement
    The military invasion of Ukraine, including use of heavy explosive weapons in and around major cities and other populated areas, raises grave concerns over the protection of the civilian population.

    The use of explosive weapons including airstrikes, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles, and bombs near major towns and cities poses a grave and foreseeable risk of death and injury to civilians, including harm from damage and destruction to vital civilian infrastructure and essential services”, warns Laura Boillot, Coordinator of the International Network on explosive Weapons (INEW).

    INEW calls on all parties to stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in towns, cities and other populated areas due to the high risk of harm to civilians”, she added.

    The intensification of conflict in recent days has been accompanied by the use of explosive weapons, including airstrikes, MLRS Grad rockets, missiles, and mortars, endangering civilian lives. The OSCE Special Monitoring mission has reported a sharp increase in explosions over recent days including over 1,400 explosions on 23 February 2022 alone.

    The situation is unfolding rapidly, with widespread reports of explosions and rising numbers of civilian casualties. Some incidents of concern include: shelling in residential areas that injured at least 4 civilians and damaged homes and civilian infrastructure in the Donbas region in Ukraine; Human Rights Watch reports that a school on the contact line in Donbas was hit, with one of the shells landing in the kindergarten’s recreation room; shelling that  struck Shchastya Power plant and two major pumping stations in the Dontesk region that serve over 1 million people with potable water and were rendered inoperable.

    The use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas poses a grave and foreseeable risk to civilians, resulting in death, injuries and psychological harm, and destroys homes, hospitals, schools and vital infrastructure and services upon which civilians rely. Explosive remnants of war pose an ongoing threat to civilians during and after hostilities and impedes the safe return of refugees and displaced persons. Designed for use in open battlefields, explosive weapons have shown a consistent pattern of harm over the past decade with a devastating civilian casualty rate of 90% when used in the context of populated areas such as towns and cities.

    Armed conflict in Ukraine – where artillery shelling has been reported on a regular basis over the past eight years – has been deadly for civilians, who account for 89% of casualties caused by explosive weapons. The conflict has caused over one million people to flee and has left much of the region’s housing and infrastructure severely degraded, regularly leaving people without water, gas or power for days and weeks on end.

    Parties to conflict have an obligation to uphold international law and to protect the civilian population, including from harms caused by damage to and destruction of vital civilian infrastructure and services.

    Interviews available

    • Anne Héry | Advocacy Director
    • Alma Taslidžan Al-Osta | Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager

    Please contact Lucy Cottle to arrange [email protected] 

    About INEW

    The International Network on Explosive Weapons calls for immediate action to prevent human suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. INEW was established on March 29, 2011 at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. INEW is governed by a Steering Committee whose members are Action on Armed Violence, Article 36, Center for Civilians in Conflict, Humanity & Inclusion, Human Rights Watch, Norwegian People’s Aid, Oxfam, PAX, Save the Children, SEHLAC, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. A number of other individuals and organizations were also involved in the establishment of INEW.

    About Humanity & Inclusion

    Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization, working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and people living in situations of extreme vulnerability, our action and testimony focus on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) mobilizes resources, jointly manages projects, and increases the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. The organization has numerous prizes to its name, including the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the 1996 Nansen Prize, and two 2020 European Union Horizon Prizes for innovation. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task. 


  • Madagascar | The extent of Batsirai’s damage

    From February 5-6, Cyclone Batsirai tore across Madagascar, devastating communities along the way. In the aftermath, Humanity & Inclusion has assessed the damage and needs of people facing the most vulnerability after the crisis. Initial reports are showing overwhelming damage to infrastructures and communities.

    Read more

  • Helping Malagasy with disabilities access safe shelter from cyclone

    "We feel safe, and that’s the most important thing,” Serge Felix says. Serge is blind, and like other Malagasy with disabilities has the right to safe and accessible shelter from storms like Cyclone Batsirai. Humanity & Inclusion teams work with Malagasy partners to ensure people with disabilities, as well as older people and those living in extremely vulnerable circumstances, can ride out the storm safely and with any support needed. 

    Read more

  • President Biden: Act now. Ban landmines.

    January 31, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL)—U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition called on President Joe Biden today to set the U.S. on the right side of history by banning landmines, an inhumane weapon that threatens civilian lives. USCBL and 37 partners, including arms control, human rights, religious, and veterans groups, sent a letter to President Biden this morning, urging the U.S. to ban landmines and pave a path toward joining the Mine Ban Treaty.

    Jan. 31 marks the second anniversary of the current U.S. landmine policy, enacted by the Trump administration in 2020, which erased restrictions on the use of these indiscriminate weapons. The Trump policy rejected an Obama-era policy that allowed an exception for armed forces to use antipersonnel landmines only in the Korean Peninsula. On the campaign trail, President Biden promised to roll back the Trump policy, which he deemed “reckless.” Still, more than one year into Biden’s presidency, the Trump policy remains in place.

    Humanity & Inclusion, co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines – U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition, is proud to add its name to the letter, which follows and is also available in pdf format.

    The Time to Act on the U.S. Landmine Policy is Now

    January 31, 2022

    President Joseph R. Biden
    The White House
    Washington, D.C.

    cc: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan;
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken;
    Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

    Dear Mr. President:

    Today marks the second anniversary of the current U.S. landmine policy. On the campaign trail, you promised to “promptly roll back” President Donald Trump’s antipersonnel landmine policy, which you deemed “reckless.” We could not agree more. The United States’ current landmine policy is dangerous and fails to recognize the harm these indiscriminate weapons have on civilians. However, after more than a year in office, we are disappointed by your inaction on this grave matter. We urge you to take immediate action to fulfill your campaign promise. It’s time to ban antipersonnel landmines, to set the United States on a path to accede to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and to protect civilians around the world.

    While the United States is not yet a signatory, under President Barack Obama’s 2014 policy the U.S. had functionally adhered to most key provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty – except those prohibiting the U.S. from ordering the use of landmines on the Korean peninsula. However, the current new landmine policy announced in January 2020, by the Trump administration, further set the U.S. apart from its allies and the global consensus by allowing for the use of landmines anywhere in the world.

    Following UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s remarks in April 2021 that your administration was conducting a landmine policy review, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) and our partners strongly encouraged you to adopt a policy to ban the use,
    production, acquisition, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel landmines, and to set the United States on course to swiftly accede to the Mine Ban Treaty.

    Landmines are victim-activated and cannot distinguish between the footstep of a combatant or a civilian, rendering their use incapable of abiding by international humanitarian law. Every day, these barbaric weapons continue to maim and kill civilians, at least 40% of civilian victims are children – often long after a conflict has ended. In 2020, landmines resulted in at least 4,352 casualties globally, according to the Landmine Monitor’s most recent report. The U.S. cannot continue to endorse these inhumane weapons.

    For nearly 25 years, the world has rejected antipersonnel landmines through the Mine Ban Treaty – to which 164 countries, including every other member of NATO, are states parties – in recognition of the horrific effects landmines have on civilians around the world.

    Fortunately, in recognition of the threats landmines pose to civilians and U.S. service members alike, the U.S. military has not deployed antipersonnel landmines since 1991, excluding the use of a single
    munition in 2002; it has not exported them since 1992; and has not produced them since 1997. While these are positive trends, we cannot ignore that for the last 25 years the U.S. has made the intentional decision to remain in the company of countries like China, North Korea, Russia and Syria by stockpiling antipersonnel landmines and failing to formally reject the use of landmines once and for all.

    We have a moral obligation to the past victims of landmines and to future generations to do better.

    We ask your administration to take the following long-overdue steps:

    • Complete the review of the U.S. landmine policy and publish its findings.
    • Take immediate executive action to ban the use of antipersonnel landmines without geographic
    exceptions, including the Korean peninsula.
    • Ban the development, production, stockpiling, and acquisition of all antipersonnel landmines.
    • Ban the sale or transfer of any type of antipersonnel landmines to any other government or
    partner.
    • Lay out an accelerated timeline for the destruction of all stockpiled landmines, and create
    mechanisms to ensure public transparency on progress towards that goal.
    • Commit to actively and constructively participate in regular meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty.
    • Set the U.S. on a direct path to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty by 2023, by delivering the treaty to
    the Senate and working to secure the Senate’s prompt advice and consent.
    • Consult regularly with civil society and victim advocates throughout the decision-making and
    implementation process for this significant policy change.

    Two years of this reckless and immoral policy is two years too long. We urge immediate action to ban the use of anti-personnel landmines without geographic exceptions, and to set the U.S. on a short direct path to join the Mine Ban Treaty by 2023.

    Regards, 

    U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition Steering Committee:

    Amnesty International USA
    Arms Control Association
    Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
    Friends Committee on National Legislation
    Human Rights Watch
    Humanity & Inclusion
    Legacies of War
    Physicians for Human Rights
    UNICEF USA
    West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions/Proud Students Against Landmines (PSALM)

    U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC):

    American Friends Service Committee
    Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
    Global Health Partners
    Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ
    Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
    Mines Advisory Group (MAG)
    Peace Direct
    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    Saferworld (Washington Office)
    United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries
    Win Without War
    Women for Weapons Trade Transparency
    Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
    Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

    Partners:

    Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas
    CARE USA
    Center for International Policy
    CODEPINK
    CORE Group
    Corruption Tracker Project
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Plan International
    The Episcopal Church
    War Child Sweden
    Washington Office on Latin America
    Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
    The USCBL-USCMC is a coalition of non-governmental organizations working to ensure that the U.S.
    comprehensively prohibits antipersonnel mines and joins the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and calls for
    sustained U.S. government financial support for mine clearance and victim assistance.


  • YEMEN - Mass casualty attacks leave dozens dead and nation blacked out for days

    January 26, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Silver Spring, MD--On Friday, January 21, a series of attacks across Yemen claimed hundreds of casualties, of which 91 people were killed in a mass casualty airstrike on a detention facility in Sa’ada, the most deadly event recorded in more than two years. Around the same time, attacks on a telecom facility housing the country’s key gateway for internet and mobile connectivity plunged the entire nation into the dark. On January 17, a Yemen conflict-related drone attack targeting an oil facility in Abu Dhabi had also killed three people. Humanity & Inclusion urges the parties to the conflict to protect civilians from the horror of the ongoing violence and to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

    The attacks on the detention center in the Northern city of Sa’ada killed 91 people and injured hundreds. Hospitals were overwhelmed by a mass influx of wounded people and reportedly, unable to provide assistance to everyone affected due to limited capacities and emergency supplies. 

    Other casualties were reported in Hodeidah, where at least three children were killed and many more injured. At the same time, internet and mobile phone networks were lost across the entire nation following attacks on a key telecom facility. The incident severely impacted civilians and humanitarian operations alike, leaving Humanity & Inclusion’s operational communications disrupted for several days.

    Other telecommunications sites were also targeted, exacerbating the isolating impact of the conflict on civilians, while an attack on a water reservoir in Sa’ada earlier this month cut 120,000 people off from clean water supply. Numerous airstrikes were further conducted in the vicinity of hospitals and health facilities in the past few days, several of which were reported to have sustained damages as a result.

    Although recent escalations have renewed attention for the seven-year-standing brutal armed conflict, the use of indiscriminate airstrikes, artillery shelling and virtually every form of explosive weaponry by both parties to the conflict has never stopped at any point.

    Seven years of uninterrupted and systematic destruction of civilian infrastructure has caused death and injury, contributed to hunger and disease, and dramatically reduced the ability of the population to access essential services such as healthcare, clean water and electricity. With over two-thirds of the population considered in need of humanitarian aid, all infrastructure and public services are absolutely indispensable to the survival of the Yemeni people.

    “Explosive weapons not only cause death and injury, but wide-scale destruction of hospitals, schools and housing in areas far beyond the initial point of impact as well. Their effects can never be limited to a single structure or service, and in Yemen, these domino effects have shown to be just as deadly as the initial impact of an attack. Bombs and shelling never hit in isolation.” 
    -- 
    Antoine Jeune, Humanity & Inclusion Yemen Country Director

    Humanity & Inclusion urges all parties to the conflict and their allies to abide by their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.

    Parties to the conflict and their allies should protect the civilian populations from the horror of the ongoing violence, stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as they risk severe harm to civilians and take immediate, practical, measures to eliminate their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

    As violence continues to escalate after the Human Rights Council voted to end the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts, the only international and independent body tasked with investigating alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict, we also call on the international community to urgently reinstate an international independent monitoring and reporting mechanism on Yemen.

    About Humanity & Inclusion

    Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization. It has been working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict, and disaster for 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and other people living in situations of extreme vulnerability, our action and testimony are focused on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Since it was founded in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) works constantly to mobilize resources, jointly manage projects, and to increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 and the winner of the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. Humanity & Inclusion takes action and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.

     


  • Mali: Alarming food crisis leaves 1.2 million hungry

    December 09, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    The number of Malians facing hunger has increased nearly threefold in one year, warns a coalition of 22 humanitarian organizations working in the country. The triple impacts of rising insecurity, droughts and Covid-19 have plunged a record number of 1.2 million people into a food crisis in 2021.

    "Food security is threatened on many fronts in Mali. The situation will go from bad to worse for millions of vulnerable people if we don’t act now, with projections indicating a further 58% increase in the number of food insecure people next year,” said Adeline Benita, Director of the Humanitarian Working Group of the International NGOs Forum in Mali (FONGIM).

    The levels of hunger are the highest recorded since the beginning of the crisis in Mali in 2012. Drought has hit the country hard, leading to the loss of more than 225,000 hectares of fields and affecting more than 3 million people mainly in Mopti, Ségou and Timbuktu.

    Meanwhile, insecurity has forced 400,000 people to flee their homes. Many families have had to abandon their fields and have seen their livestock stolen. The increasing grip of armed actors on people’s ability to move freely and in some cases full-fledged besiegement, have prevented vulnerable families from accessing aid, their fields, grazing areas for their livestock, and markets surrounding their villages.

    "Armed men attacked our village and forbade us to leave. Over time, we consumed all the food we had saved and were forced to find a solution to survive," reported a mother from a village under siege in Mopti region. "My four children and I had to escape through the bush at night. We walked 20 kilometers without any food or water".

    The combination of rising insecurity, climate change and the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has driven up the price of food items like corn and rice in some areas such as Gao, respectively by 22% and 18% in 2021, pushing food out of reach for many families.

    The food crisis has been further exacerbated by the weak commitment from donor states to meet the alarming needs. Levels of humanitarian funding have decreased steadily from half of required funding for food security responses in 2017, to only a quarter in 2021.

    Ten years of conflicts have increasingly weakened people's livelihoods in a country that is already fragile and severely affected by climate change. It is therefore crucial to adapt our responses to the protracted crisis or risk seeing an exponential rise in hunger in Mali in the years to come.

    Facts and figures

    • 1,244,906 people face a food crisis and 3,585,989 people are currently under pressure, according to the Cadre Harmonisé.
    • 1,971,000 people will be facing a food crisis if nothing is done and 4,533,157 people will be under pressure between June and August 2022, according to projections from Cadre Harmonisé.
    • 767 773 children are malnourished including 197 691 in severe acute malnutrition according to the Nutrition cluster
    • The food security response in for 2021 has received only 25,4 % of the funds needed to respond to the most urgent needs (58,9/ 232,3 million USD).
    • Overall, the humanitarian response in Mali has received only 38,1% of the funds needed for the year (214,8/ 562,3 million USD)

    Signatory NGOs

    Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

    Action Against Hunger Spain (ACF)

    Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

    Oxfam

    Solidarités International

    World Vision International

    ACTED

    Dan Church Aid (DCA)

    International Rescue Committee (IRC)

    Première Urgence International (PUI)

    Médecins du Monde

    Care International

    Humanity & Inclusion

    Plan International

    Islamic Relief

    Mercy Corps

    Terre des hommes

    Educo

    We World

    Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH)

    Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF)

    Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)


  • 7,073 victims - Landmine casualties increase as COVID-19 impedes Humanitarian Mine Action

    November 10, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Silver Spring, Maryland, 2021. The Monitor reports data from 2020, tallying 7,073 casualties, of which civilians account for 80%. This high figure is mainly the result of increased armed conflict and contamination with improvised mines since 2015. Humanity & Inclusion calls on States—which gather from November 15 -19, for the annual Mine Ban Treaty conference—to enforce international humanitarian law and to pressure parties to conflict to end the use of these barbaric weapons

    21% increase in casualties since 2019

    The 2021 Landmine Monitor reports measures of the impact of the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines for the 2020 calendar year, including information included through October 2021 when possible. 

    This year’s Monitor reveals that the number of new casualties from landmines and explosive remnants of war reached 7,073 in 2020 and has remained high for six years in a row (see figure 1 above).

    The 2020 total marks a 21% increase from the 5,853 casualties recorded in 2019. It is more than twice the lowest determined yearly total, which was 3,465 in 2013. On average, there were 10 casualties per day in 2013. In 2020, this figure skyrocketed to 19 casualties per day. The Monitor underlines that casualties go unrecorded in many areas so the true figure is likely significantly higher.

    “HI is deeply concerned that the number of mine victims remains exceptionally high for the sixth year in a row. Current conflicts and the intense use of improvised mines seem to be the cause. This means that vast territories are newly contaminated and will require long and complex clearance operations. Until then, civilians will be living in fear, under the threat of mines, and a lot of otherwise productive land will remain uninhabitable” says Jeff Meer, Humanity & Inclusion U.S. Executive Director.

    How, who, where?

    In 2021, for the fifth successive year, the highest number of annual casualties was caused by improvised mines. Out of the 7,073 casualties recorded in 2020, improvised mines are responsible for about a third (2,119). Explosive remnants of war caused 1,760 casualties. The vast majority of people killed or injured by landmines are civilians: 80% of casualties were civilians in 2020 (4,437), 1,872 of whom were children.

    In 2020, Syria, which is not a state party to the Mine Ban Treaty, recorded the most casualties (2,729), followed by Afghanistan (1,474), Mali (368), Yemen (350), Myanmar (280), Ukraine (277), Nigeria (226), Colombia (167) Iraq (161) and Burkina Faso (111). Worldwide, 50 States and three territories recorded mine casualties.

    “Mines kill or cause complex injuries, often with serious disabling consequences, and psychological trauma. Survivors suffer from social stigma and frequently cannot find work. Many countries already ban the use of anti-personnel landmines, and those commitments to international law must be respected,” says Meer.

    The Landmine Monitor confirmed new uses of landmines by government forces in Myanmar between mid-2020 through October 2021. During that same time, non-state armed groups were found to have used landmines in at least six countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan. The Monitor also says there were as yet unconfirmed allegations of new mine use by non-state armed groups in Cameroon, Egypt, Niger, the Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, and Venezuela.

    Impact of COVID-19 on mine action

    Measures against COVID-19 had a serious impact on mine action in 2020. Restrictions prevented survivors and other persons with disabilities from accessing services that Humanity & Inclusion provides (rehabilitation, social services) in several mine-affected countries. Clearance was temporarily suspended or adapted.

    Progress to date

    States reported clearing nearly 146km² of land, with more than 135,000 landmines destroyed in 2020. To date, 94 States have destroyed more than 55 million stockpiled landmines, including more than 106,500 destroyed in 2020 – mines that will never claim any victims. Sri Lanka is the latest state to have completed destruction of its stockpile in 2021.

    “The States Parties of the Ottawa Treaty have set the goal to reach a mine free world by 2025 – this will only be reached if all states intensify their commitment in the fight against landmines,” says Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion’s Advocacy Director.

    The U.S. is one of the few countries that has yet to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, sharing ranks with China, Egypt, India, Israel, Pakistan, and Russia. There are 164 States parties to the treaty, making the ban on landmines a universal norm of international humanitarian law. However, the great paradox of this policy shift is that for nearly 30 years, the U.S. has refrained from using or trading antipersonnel landmines.

    Humanity & Inclusion urges President Biden to back away from a 2020 Landmine policy enacted by President Trump, which effectively gives U.S. troops the green light to research new landmines, and to deploy these indiscriminate weapons in combat. Humanity & Inclusion is Chairing the Steering Committee for the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines – U.S. Campaign to Ban Cluster Munitions.

    Notes

    • You can access a copy of the Landmine Monitor 2021 on November 10, 2021.
    • Interviews with Humanity & Inclusion’s advocacy & mine action experts, including Jeff Meer and Anne Héry (quoted), upon request.
    • The Ottawa Treaty bans the acquisition, production, stockpiling, trade and use of anti-personnel mines. The treaty was opened for signing on 3rd December 1997 and entered into force on 1st March 1999. A total of 164 states are party to the treaty, and one state (the Marshall Islands) has signed but not ratified the treaty.
    • The Landmine Monitor 2021 report measures the impact of the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of anti-personnel mines for the calendar year 2020, with information included through October 2021 when possible.
    • Photo: © Waleed Khaled, 2019/ HI. Risk education session in the Kafrouk village around Mosul. Mohammed, Head of HI’s Risk Education team, teaches children to recognize the dangers of explosive remnants of war.

    About Humanity & Inclusion  

    Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization, working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for close to 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and people living in situations of extreme vulnerability, our action and testimony focus on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) mobilizes resources, jointly manages projects, and increases the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. The organization has numerous prizes to its name, including the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the 1996 Nansen Prize, and two 2020 European Union Horizon Prizes for innovation. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task. The U.S. office of Humanity & Inclusion is currently Chairing the Steering Committee for the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines – U.S. Campaign to Ban Cluster Munitions. Humanity & Inclusion is the new name of Handicap International.


  • Iraq bomb contamination: catastrophic, six times as costly to remove, and a serious barrier to recovery

    October 13, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Silver Spring, MD – More than four years after hostilities ended in Iraq, communities are still as fractured as the buildings­, roads, and bridges around them. “No safe recovery: The impact of Explosive Ordnance contamination on affected populations in Iraq,” paints a harrowing picture of the daily lives of Iraqis, some of whom are too nervous to let their children walk to schools, or so desperate for income that they’ll risk working in places known to be polluted with explosives. 

    Released by Humanity & Inclusion, the report lends critical evidence to generations of cases proving war cannot end for civilians until the last bomb is cleared. It underscores the need for States to reach a consensus on a way to safeguard civilians when conflicts strike populated areas. Researchers focused on Iraq’s heavily populated governorate of Ninewa, home to the cities of Mosul, Sinjar, and Tel Afar.

    For explosive ordnance, Iraq is one of the most heavily contaminated countries on our planet. Explosive remnants of war pocket more than 3,200 km2 of land—twice the area of London. The pollution infuses the population with terror, as mines or explosive remnants claimed about 700 victims in the two years from 2018-2020. A staggering 8.5 million Iraqis live amid these deadly, waste-products of war. 

    “Gone are the neat rows of minefields,” says Humanity & Inclusion’s Advocacy Protection of Civilians Manager, Alma Al Osta. “We’re often talking about bombs triggered by tripwires in hallways, aerial bombs that never exploded resting meters below ground and surrounded by rubble, and children’s toys packed with explosives.”

    Clearing what deminers call “three-dimensional” pollution requires the top-level of explosive ordnance training—a classification that too few deminers hold in Iraq. Even the classic deminer’s blue protective suit is almost useless amid this contamination. One mine actor interviewed for the report in Mosul noted, “we would find more items as we dug. This makes clearance difficult, as it is not just surface layer, it is deep underneath.”

    Demining bombed-out cities costs six times as must as it does to clear a rural setting. The job is often done with a mix of heavy machinery, and the constant risk to deminers and neighbors that controlled explosions will trigger collapse. In cities, this critical work takes eight times longer to complete compared to rural settings.

    Funding is a serious barrier. Iraq requires $170-180 million USD per year, including $50 million for Mosul, to remove its explosive ordnance.

    Bombing cities: Inhumane, imprecise, expensive

    Bombing populated areas was a hallmark of the conflict that Iraqis endured from 2014-2017.  This practice not only robbed tens of thousands of Iraqis of their lives, but also left their schools, fields, pathways, homes, water treatment plants, and shops littered with explosive ordnance.

    “Bombs and cities should never meet,” says Al Osta. “Not only does the moment of impact cause maximum destruction to the buildings, institutions, and people within the blast radius, the explosive pollution left behind robs a population’s right to any chance at restoring its economic and social heartbeat.”

    Indeed, the report is stacked with income-stopping data from the conflict, culled from regional reports:

    • $7 billion damage to the electricity sector
    • $2.8 billion damage to roads, airports, bridges, and railways
    • $2.1 billion worth of damage to agriculture, including an estimated three-quarters of all cattle, sheep, goats, and buffalo lost
    • $600 million damage to water infrastructure
    • In Mosul alone, 9 out of 13 hospitals damaged, along with 169 schools damaged or destroyed

    “Current rules of war fail civilians in populated areas during conflict, and as we see from Iraq, years after the fighting ends, too,” says Al Osta. “What evidence do States need to back a strong political declaration to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effect in populated areas?”

    After two years of diplomatic discussions, Humanity & Inclusion expects such a declaration to be signed by States soon. It will mark a historic breakthrough for the protection of civilians in conflict.

    Social Cohesion

    Ninewa’s diverse population is struggling to heal for a variety of factors. According to the report, relationships between and within different groups have been negatively impacted by a multitude of factors, some which date back decades. The role of explosive ordnance contamination in this

    Explosive ordnance accidents have also shifted roles within families and communities.

    “When we see a head of household injured in an accident, they may feel that they are no longer able to support their family, which has a negative impact on their psychological well-being,” says Humanity & Inclusion’s Country Director of Iraq Marc Van der Mullen. “If a family member experiences disability after an accident, they can be seen as a burden, especially as access to health services remains limited and expensive.” 

    One in 12 internally displaced persons—and Iraq counted 678,512 internally displaced neighbors in 2020—reports that the presence of explosive ordnance is a barrier to their return, the report notes. Barred from safe return, households continue to be displaced and communities are unable to reconnect and build their resilience collectively. 

    With schools and playgrounds contaminated, groups that might otherwise mix, cannot. As one woman explained in Sinjar, In my village, there is no high school. It is difficult for students to travel to other villages, especially when we do not know whether that village is contaminated or not.”

    The report concludes, The scope of this contamination is clearly hampering the efforts of communities and humanitarian and development actors in the region towards recovery, peace and sustainable development. Women and persons with disabilities are likely to be more vulnerable to these reverberating effects of explosive ordnance contamination. In fact, indirect impacts of contamination on social cohesion, such as limited access to livelihoods and services, can cause tensions within families. “Women are particularly vulnerable in these situations, as tensions may translate into gender-based violence,” the report finds.

    Notes:

    • To read the full report: https://hi.org/sn_uploads/document/Report2021_EO-Contamination-Iraq-EN-final.pdf
    • Report methodology: The report focuses on Ninewa Governorate, Iraq’s second most populated governorate. Researchers undertook a thorough desk review of secondary literature and conducted key informant interviews with relevant stakeholders and individuals from the affected population.
    • Humanity & Inclusion’s experts are available for interview upon request:
      • Marc Van der Mullen, Iraq Country Manager
      • Alma Taslidžan Al-Osta, Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager
      • Reem Fawaz, Database Agent
    • For more about Humanity & Inclusion’s activities in Iraq - https://www.hi-us.org/iraq
    • Photo copyright F. Vergnes/HI 2021

    About Humanity & Inclusion 

    Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization, working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for close to 40 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and people living in situations of extreme vulnerability, our action and testimony focus on responding to their essential needs, improving their living conditions, and promoting respect for their dignity and basic rights. Humanity & Inclusion has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of eight national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) mobilizes resources, jointly manages projects, and increases the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. The organization has numerous prizes to its name, including the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the 1996 Nansen Prize, and two 2020 European Union Horizon Prizes for innovation. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task. 

    Press contacts: Mica Bevington | [email protected] | +1 202-290-9264


  • Aid agencies: An end to independent monitoring of the conflict in Yemen puts millions of lives at additional risk

    October 08, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    As the war in Yemen heads into its seventh year, millions of people in Yemen continue to suffer through the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. To date, the UN estimates that 233,000 Yemenis have been killed as a result of the fighting and the humanitarian crisis.

    The recent vote by members of the Human Rights Council to reject renewal of the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE), the only international, independent and impartial mechanism to monitor violations by all parties to the conflict, puts millions of already vulnerable lives at further risk.

    This is the first time the Human Rights Council has rejected a draft resolution since its establishment in 2006.

    The rejection of the renewal of the mandate while violations of international law continue in the country sends the message that those violating the rights of the Yemeni people can act with impunity with no one to hold them accountable. It has also severed the only pathway to international justice for victims of the conflict.

    Accountability requires impartial documentation of violations by all parties to a conflict and the GEE’s continued mandate was essential to show the people of Yemen that the world is watching and will work to support the victims of the conflict.

    Stopping the GEE will not make the violations disappear, nor will it end the humanitarian needs in the country, but it is an abandonment of the people of Yemen in their time of need. Now more than ever, it is vital to ensure that all parties to the conflict respect International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, including the protection of civilians and civilian properties, and infrastructure including houses, hospitals, schools, water networks and farmlands in which the GEE played a critical monitoring role.

    The widespread suffering of vulnerable people in Yemen, who have endured years of conflict, trauma and displacement can only end through the cessation of hostilities by all parties and an inclusive peace process that delivers a just and peaceful outcome for all people in Yemen.

    Action Contre La Faim
    Danish Refugee Council
    Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion
    International Rescue Committee
    Mercy Corps
    Norwegian Refugee Council
    Oxfam
    Polish Humanitarian Action
    Première Urgence Internationale
    Save the Children