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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


  • Stop Bombing Civilians | 80 countries endorse declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

    November 18, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Acknowledging the devastating civilian impact of bombing and shelling of towns and cities, 80 states came together today in Dublin to adopt a new international agreement to better protect civilians against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

    The agreement—the first of its kind—is the culmination of a three-year diplomatic process led by Ireland to negotiate a declaration to ensure both the protection of civilians and stricter implementation of international humanitarian law.

    “We are in the beginning of what we hope is a new norm in international behavior in conflict,” says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. “The United States is, for once, an early adopter of a Declaration that recognizes the sea change in the way governments are thinking about war in cities.”

    To mitigate the disastrous impact of using weapons designed for open battlefields in urban areas and on civilians, the Declaration commits states to imposing greater restrictions on the use of explosive weapons. It further commits states to assisting victims of war and addressing the long-term impact of damage to civilian infrastructure.

    “Today exceeded all our expectations," said Anne Héry Director of Advocacy at Humanity & Inclusion. “Urban bombing is a terror. For people enduring such inhumanity, it's incredibly important that 80 of the world's governments, including some of the world’s military powerhouses, have put their stamp on this agreement to avoid using explosive weapons in towns and cities. They have committed to prioritizing the protection of civilians, including by changing the way they train their own forces. By making clear that bombing or shelling of populated areas is not an acceptable military strategy, this declaration has the potential to save thousands of lives.”

    “With 80 States already adopting this international agreement against urban bombing, we can enjoy renewed hope for the future,” Meer adds. 

    States that endorse the declaration must now, without delay, begin the process of implementation. This includes developing policies and practices which limit the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and ensure that the protection of civilians is prioritized.

    U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin, addressed the conference, saying the U.S. is proud to endorse.

    “We believe this declaration will help States improve the protection of civilians and reduce human suffering in armed conflict," Cronin said. "Protecting civilians from harm in connection with military operations is not only a moral imperative, but also critical to achieving long-term success on the battlefield. The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated… Although the commitments set forth in this Declaration are already reflected in existing U.S. military policy and practice, the U.S. military continually strives to improve its policies and practices in this area…”

    While we celebrate U.S. support, the country has scope for improvement.

    “The human toll stretches from Afghanistan to Syria and Iraq, and shows us time and again that there is an acute need for drastic changes in how the U.S. military conducts its operations,” notes Meer.

    Humanity & Inclusion and its partners in the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) will actively monitor this process using the Explosive Weapons Monitor, which was co-created by Humanity & Inclusion in 2022. Humanity & Inclusion’s goal is to ensure that this agreement brings about real change.

    “More than 290,000 civilians have been killed or injured by the bombing of cities and other populated areas over the last 12 years,” Meer adds. “In countries like Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Ethiopia, populated areas have been systematically and extensively bombed and shelled. It must end.”

    The historic agreement is a victory for survivors of war, humanitarian organizations and civil society groups. Humanity & Inclusion warmly thanks Ireland and Ambassador Gaffey for leading the diplomatic negotiations and organizing today’s conference.

    Notes

    • Declaration’s formal name

      Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas. The final text can be found online here.
    • Countries endorsing the declaration

      Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivorie, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.
    • S. Ambassador Claire Cronin’s comments can be found online at minute 26:20. A selection of her remarks follows

    “The United States is proud to endorse the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of explosive weapons in populated areas. We believe this declaration will help States improve the protection of civilians and reduce human suffering in armed conflict. Protecting civilians from harm in connection with military operations is not only a moral imperative, but also critical to achieving long-term success on the battlefield. The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated…The United States is proud to join the States endorsing this declaration in committing to seek to reduce the harm to civilians through improving our implementation of international humanitarian law to achieve a better future for humankind. Although this Declaration will be implemented by States, the contributions of civil society organizations and international organizations greatly enhanced the negotiations and resulting texts. Endorsement is just an initial step. We must now turn our efforts toward implementation. To have a lasting impact, this Declaration will need robust implementation by each State and active follow-on exchanges among States. We want to see militaries from around the world learning from each other and sharing practical measures to strengthen their implementation of international humanitarian law and improve the protection of the civilians. The United States regularly collaborates with allies and partners on efforts to mitigate and respond to civilian harm. And we look forward to strengthening those relationships as part of our implementation of this Declaration. Although the commitments set forth in this Declaration are already reflected in existing U.S. military policy and practice, the U.S. military continually strives to improve its policies and practices in this area. On August 25, Secretary of Defense Austin issued the U.S. Department of Defense’s Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan, which sets forth 11 objectives and specific actions to advance those objectives over the next four years. These efforts include the establishment of a new civil protection center of excellence, dedicated civilian harm mitigation and response personnel throughout the department, and a data management platform for data related to civilian harm.”

    • Media Contacts

      Interviews are available with Jeff Meer and other Humanity & Inclusion experts on disarmament and the protection of civilians.
      Contact Mica Bevington on 202-290-9264 or [email protected]

    Chronology of the diplomatic process

    • October 2019: the political process for an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas was launched at the Vienna conference. This conference was attended by 133 States. A majority of them announced their willingness to work on a political declaration to end the human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
    • November 2019: First round of consultations on the text of the political declaration;
    • February 2020: Second round of consultations with 70 states in attendance to discuss the political declaration;
    • March 2020: Restrictive measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic began and suspended the in-person consultation process;
    • September 2020: Ireland organized a high-level panel, followed by a webinar to address the challenges of urban warfare and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
    • March 2021: Informal online consultations;
    • April 2021: The National Defence Commission of the Belgian Federal Parliament adopted a historic parliamentarian resolution on the protection of civilians from bombing and shelling in populated areas;
    • May 2021: Parliamentarians from five different countries participated in the European Inter-Parliamentarian Conference on the future political declaration to protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Since then, over 250 parliamentarians from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union, signed the European Inter-Parliamentarian Joint Statement;
    • April 2022: Final round of consultations to negotiate the final text of the international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
    • Summer 2022: Final version of the text shared and concluded;
    • November 2022: States meet to formally endorse declaration. 

    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 groups experiencing 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 its creation in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion has run development programs in more than 60 countries and responded to numerous humanitarian emergencies. There are eight national associations within Humanity & Inclusion’s federal network (Germany, Belgium, Canada, United States, France, Luxembourg, UK and Switzerland), working tirelessly to mobilize resources, co-manage projects and increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of the six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and winner of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2011. Humanity & Inclusion works in places where living with dignity is no easy task.

     


  • U.S., other global leaders commit to protect civilians from use of explosive weapons in populated areas

    November 15, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Humanity & Inclusion urges States to make history: endorse international agreement to protect civilians from bombings on towns and cities

    Silver Spring, Maryland—On Friday, November 18, States will gather in Dublin to endorse a new international agreement to strengthen the protection of civilians from explosive weapons used in populated areas. Already, 25 States have submitted their official confirmation of the endorsement of the political declaration, and the United States of America is expected to do the same.

    The Dublin Conference concludes a three-year diplomatic process. It gives States a life-saving opportunity to halt the trend and address the humanitarian harm caused by the bombing and shelling of towns and cities.

    Today’s conflicts are increasingly fought in urban environments. As a result, 90% of the victims are civilians. In WWII, civilians represented 50% of war victims and, a century ago, only 15%. This escalation in the number of civilian casualties is unacceptable.

    This is the first-ever international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. States will have the opportunity to fundamentally change how war is waged by consigning urban bombing to the dustbin of history.

    “Weapons such as 500-kg bombs, designed for use in open battlefields and with an impact radius of several hundred meters, are dropped from planes on crowded cities,” notes Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. “Such weapons show no mercy for civilians. These most destructive weapons should be banned from cities and towns. The international agreement against urban bombing is a major step towards better protection for civilians in armed conflict areas. But our fight is far from over. We will continue to denounce the harm caused to civilians by urban bombing, to hold accountable those responsible, and to fight for a zero civilian casualty policy.”

    Dozens of states are expected to attend the conference to adopt the agreement. Many, including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, South Korea, Senegal, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Uruguay, have already expressed their intention to endorse it.

    After the conference, and with the help of its partners, Humanity & Inclusion will continue discussions with other States to urge them to endorse the agreement.

    “War machines have inflicted tremendous suffering on Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and now Ukraine, carpet-bombing entire neighborhoods and targeting vital civilian infrastructures like hospital and schools,” Meer adds. “Cities like Mosul (Iraq), Raqqa (Syria) and major cities in Ukraine are heavily contaminated by explosive remnants; normal life will only resume after years or even decades of complex demining operations. States must put an end to what has become a systematic scenario in recent wars. The Dublin Conference is a unique opportunity to protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.”

    With the Explosive Weapons Monitor that Humanity & Inclusion helped to create in 2022, we will also closely monitor the measures and policies implemented by signatory States to ensure their respect of the humanitarian commitments made and guarantee greater protection of civilians from explosive weapons.

    For the past 40 years, Humanity & Inclusion’s experts have seen first-hand the consequences of war on civilians. Rehabilitation specialists provide life-saving care to people injured by bombing and shelling. Technicians fit people with artificial limbs so they can walk again. Mental health counsellors help individuals cope with psychological trauma. Explosive weapons specialists survey land and clear dangerous contamination so communities can safely rebuild. Risk educators teach people how to spot, avoid and report explosive remnants of war. Teams offer food, blankets and other essentials to families displaced by armed conflict.

    A victory for civil society

    The Dublin Conference is a historical moment for civil society. 25 years ago, with the adoption of the Ottawa Treaty (1997), Humanity & Inclusion and the International Campaign to Ban Landmine (ICBL) achieved a ban on antipersonnel landmines. Fourteen years ago, with the adoption of the Oslo Treaty (2008), our organization and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) succeeded in prohibiting the use of cluster munitions. Today – this time with the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) – Humanity & Inclusion has another opportunity to write history. Humanity & Inclusion’s fight remains constant: to protect civilians in armed conflicts.

    Humanity & Inclusion, co-founder of INEW, has been campaigning to protect civilians from bombing and shelling for 10 years.

    This new victory has been made possible by the scale of the public mobilization and the pressure brought to bear on governments in countries such as Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. The international petition launched by Humanity & Inclusion in 2017 gathered more than half a million signatures.

    Widespread use of explosive weapons

    Armed conflicts are increasingly fought in populated areas, mainly cities. The use of explosive weapons has devastating effects on civilians. According to aggregated data from Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) and the United Nations, more than 290,000 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons between 2011 and 2022.

    “In three years of diplomatic process, we have come a long way from the ignorance of states and their denial of the humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons to their full acknowledgment in a political declaration of the specific harm that these weapons cause to civilians,” says Anne Hery, Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations at Humanity & Inclusion. “This international agreement is only the beginning of a long process to achieve tangible improvements to the protection of civilians from explosive weapons in populated areas”.

    The use of explosive weapons in populated areas causes a systematic pattern of harm to civilians, and 90% of the victims are civilians. Civilians also sustain life-altering injuries, in some cases causing permanent disabilities. The bombs fracture or destroy vital infrastructure, such as housing, hospitals and schools, power and water supplies, and sanitation systems, affecting the provision of essential services to the civilian population. What’s more, millions of families are forced to flee their homes, and the unexploded ordnance left behind poses a threat for decades.

    Chronology of the diplomatic process

    • October 2019: the political process for an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas was launched at the Vienna conference. This conference was attended by 133 States. A majority of them announced their willingness to work on a political declaration to end the human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
    • November 2019: First round of consultations on the text of the political declaration;
    • February 2020: Second round of consultations with 70 states in attendance to discuss the political declaration;
    • March 2020: Restrictive measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic began and suspended the in-person consultation process;
    • September 2020: Ireland organized a high-level panel, followed by a webinar to address the challenges of urban warfare and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
    • March 2021: Informal online consultations;
    • April 2021: The National Defence Commission of the Belgian Federal Parliament adopted a historic parliamentarian resolution on the protection of civilians from bombing and shelling in populated areas;
    • May 2021: Parliamentarians from five different countries participated in the European Inter-Parliamentarian Conference on the future political declaration to protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Since then, over 250 parliamentarians from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union, signed the European Inter-Parliamentarian Joint Statement;
    • April 2022: Final round of consultations to negotiate the final text of the international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas;
    • Summer 2022: Final version of the text shared and concluded;
    • November 2022: States meet to formally endorse declaration. 

    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 groups experiencing 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 its creation in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion has run development programs in more than 60 countries and responded to numerous humanitarian emergencies. There are eight national associations within Humanity & Inclusion’s federal network (Germany, Belgium, Canada, United States, France, Luxembourg, UK and Switzerland), working tirelessly to mobilize resources, co-manage projects and increase the impact of the organization’s principles and actions. Humanity & Inclusion is one of the six founding organizations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and winner of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2011. Humanity & Inclusion works in places where living with dignity is no easy task.

     

     


  • New report: People with disabilities in Ukraine facing multiple threats

    October 07, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    People with disabilities and older people in Ukraine are facing multiple protection threats, according to a new report from Humanity & Inclusion. Published today, the report includes alarming accounts from Humanity & Inclusion’s Ukraine teams, who are witnessing people with disabilities being disproportionately exposed to violence and abuse and having greater difficulty accessing humanitarian aid and the services they need.

    People with disabilities and older people in Ukraine are at direct risk of abandonment, violence, injury and death. Due to all the dangers and challenges of living in a war zone, caregivers of older people and family members with disabilities are making impossible decisions between fleeing and staying to care for their family members.

    The full report can be viewed online, or downloaded as a PDF here

    Some of the situations witnessed by Humanity & Inclusion’s teams in Ukraine include:

    • People with disabilities who are unable to move or are confined to their beds are being left behind due to a lack of evacuation support. Many people with disabilities don’t even have access to information on how to evacuate.
    • Most of the bomb shelters are not accessible to people who use wheelchairs or have restricted mobility. Consequently, people with disabilities are left behind and are dangerously exposed to explosive weapon attacks.
    • Those people with disabilities who are able to flee the violence are particularly vulnerable during the mass movement and displacement of civilians. In the rush to escape, they may lose contact with relatives and caretakers and lose their identification papers. And once they arrive at one of the “collective centers” (schools, gymnasiums etc.) for internally displaced people, people with disabilities often lack the privacy they need for getting dressed or personal hygiene care, exposing them to a high risk of abuse (violence, sexual violence, robbery, etc.)
    • People with disabilities and older people are arriving at the borders in very poor condition and there is inadequate provision at the borders for people with disabilities

    “In situations of war there are huge changes which can have a significant impact on older people. They are exposed to highly distressing events, often where they had to be urgently evacuated from their homes. In cases of limited mobility, people are sometimes put in blankets to evacuate because they cannot walk on their own. When we go to geriatric collective centers, we see some people in their beds crying due to the high level of distress. What they really need is human connection. They have lost all their community support, which is one of the biggest risk factors of displacement.”
    Caglar Tahiroglu, Humanity & Inclusion mental health and psychosocial support specialist in Ukraine.

    Institutions operating at triple capacity

    The most recent data indicate that people with disabilities, older and chronically ill people make up a high proportion of those who are internally displaced. The most recent data from the International Organization for Migration estimates that 25% of internally displaced families in Ukraine include at least one family member with a disability, 36% include a chronically ill person and 46% a person over 60. In the central and western parts of Ukraine, institutions hosting older people or children with disabilities are often operating at double or triple their capacity. Various reports show children with disabilities to be living in horrendous conditions in some institutions. Humanity & Inclusion staff have witnessed overcrowding, poor hygiene and a lack of technical skills and care in these centers, as well as a loss of contact between the children and their families. These children are also in danger of being abandoned entirely, as many of the center staff have evacuated with their families.

    “The medical doctor had a call from the East telling him that they needed to evacuate 42 children with severe disabilities because of the bombardments in the region. The children were put in a bus and arrived in ten hours. This is how little time the center had to prepare for the arrival of these children and we are talking about children with very specific needs. When we saw the needs in the institution, the priority was to save lives with an emergency response. As Humanity & Inclusion, we do not usually work in institutions because, of course, we support a more inclusive approach and the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the community. But this is a war situation. When we entered the institution and saw the state of the children and the staff, with all the team we were clear we had to do something.”
    Caglar Tahiroglu, Emergency Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Manager, Humanity & Inclusion Ukraine

    Critical lack of rehabilitation and mental health services

    Based on Humanity & Inclusion's experience in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, we know that the number of people with disabilities in Ukraine will increase due to injuries caused by explosive and armed violence. Bombing and shelling cause complex injuries that can lead to amputations or permanent disabilities, requiring long-term rehabilitation care. It is crucial to develop health services adapted to people living with disabilities.

    Currently, health services in Ukraine lack rehabilitation capacity. Hospitals are overrun and, in order to cope, they need to shorten the length of stays and are discharging people early. There has been a huge increase in demand for prosthetics & orthotics and rehabilitation services, and there are challenges with under-staffing, inconsistent referral systems and weak data management.

    “By providing early rehabilitation, our goal is to prevent further complications. Any one injury will always come with a list of potential problems. So, when you have multiple injuries, they each have their own risks that affect recovery. There is great value in getting people to move safely. It doesn’t take long for the body to start deteriorating, and then recovery can be quite difficult.”
    Gaëlle Smith, Humanity & Inclusion emergency rehabilitation specialist

    Trauma and mental health problems are among the primary healthcare risks in Ukraine as the population is witnessing highly traumatic events. But despite the huge demand for mental health and psychosocial support there is limited access, due to the high cost and limited availability of services. Humanity & Inclusion teams are also observing strong signs of distress from staff working in hospitals and collective centers due to overwork, the increasing number of people in need, and the lack of resources.

    Humanity & Inclusion in Ukraine

    Humanity & Inclusion teams in Ukraine are working to support the people most affected by the conflict, including injured people, people with disabilities, older people and those with chronic illnesses. Our activities include emergency rehabilitation care, mental health and psychological support, and risk education sessions to prevent accidents with explosive ordnance.

    Overall, teams work to reduce the suffering of conflict-affected populations experiencing the most vulnerability, by delivering an inclusive, immediate and multisectoral humanitarian response. Operations address the protection, health, and basic needs of conflict-affected populations, while reducing the risks caused by explosive ordnance contamination,
    facilitating the delivery of aid in Ukraine, and supporting the wider humanitarian response in becoming more inclusive. HI specifically focuses on internally displaced persons, refugees, persons with disabilities, as well as persons with injuries and those with signs of psychological distress. In Ukraine, Humanity & Inclusion works in the eastern and western parts of the country, constantly adapting its approach to the changing context, and in Moldova, in line with the Ukraine Flash Appeal and the Refugee Response Plan.

    Notes

    • Interviews available with Humanity & Inclusion experts in Ukraine
    • Published on October 7, Humanity & Inclusion’s new report “War in Ukraine: A focus on people with disabilities and the provision of emergency health services” paints a harrowing picture of the situation for people with disabilities living in the war-torn country. The report is based on data reviews and first-hand observations from Humanity & Inclusion’s teams on the ground who are witnessing people with disabilities being disproportionately exposed to violence and abuse and having more difficulties accessing humanitarian aid and the services they need.

    The full report can be viewed online, or downloaded as a PDF here

     

    Media Contact


  • Pakistan: unprecedented flooding covers a third of the country

    August 30, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Unprecedented rainfall and flooding in Pakistan has affected 116 districts throughout the country, resulting in nearly 1,000 deaths and over 1,300 people injured reported since June 14, 2022. 72 of the affected areas are considered by the government to be “calamity hit.” Humanity & Inclusion is closely following the situation and launching an emergency intervention to support families displaced by the flooding. 

    c_Shakeel-Ahmed-Anadolu-Agency_AFP__Two_men_wade_through_waist-deep_flood_waters__carrying_young_girls_on_their_shoulders.jpg

    The humanitarian situation  

    Initial estimates show that incessant rainfall has impacted approximately 33 million people, destroyed more than 287,000 homes, damaged another 662,000, and displaced an undetermined number of families. At writing, 6.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Humanity & Inclusion teams are present in Pakistan, and preparing immediate, two-month interventions in the regions of Nowshera and Charsadda. 

    “In situations like this, where flooding has displaced thousands of families, we can be sure that the people experiencing the most extreme impacts will be older and people with disabilities," says Caroline Duconseille, Humanity & Inclusion's country manager in Pakistan. "These groups, in particular, will face more obstacles traversing rising water and reaching humanitarian aid. It is paramount that response efforts are inclusive and accessible to everyone.”

    According to the United Nations, around 73% of affected households currently have insufficient access to food. At least 793,900 livestock have died and 2 million acres of famland have been damaged, with the potential to impact long-term food security following the flooding. 

    Infrastructure damage has been observed at 17,000 schools, across 3,500 km of roads, several thousand health facilities, and more than 145 bridges.  

    Pakistan experiences regular natural disasters, including a similar catastrophic flooding event that impacted around 20 million people, causing devastating and lasting consequences in 2010.  

    A rise in extreme meteorological events, driven by climate change, is expected to displace up to 1.2 billion people worldwide by the year 2050.   

    Humanity & Inclusion response  

    Staff will distribute food and basic household goods such as hygiene supplies, blankets and kitchen items. This first intervention will reach 600 families displaced by the flooding. The organization is also deploying psychological first aid teams to assess the needs of people displaced from their homes, and provide assistance (directly or through referral) in coordination with national authorities.

    “We’re seeing families that have lost absolutely everything and are living amid floodwaters," says Duconseille. "Our initial focus is meeting the most urgent needs of impacted communities, including access to food and daily essentials such as soap, cooking supplies and warm blankets.”  

    Humanity & Inclusion is exploring the possibility of expanding the response to include more districts, as well as services. Any such expansion is dependent on funding and community needs. The organization has just launched a public fundraising appeal: https://www.hi-us.org/pakistan?form=pakistan-floods.

    Action in Pakistan since the 1980s

    Humanity & Inclusion has worked in Pakistan since the early 1980s, having implemented humanitarian projects across multiple districts. 

    Pakistan is increasingly and regularly hit by natural disasters. In 2010, emergency teams responded to flooding across the northwest of the country-a disaster that affected more than 20 million people. The response included emergency kit distributions and provisions of drinking water.  

    In Pakistan today, Humanity & Inclusion's 31-person team leads projects around inclusive education, health and prevention, relief and inclusive disaster risk management, technical assistance support for disability focused organizations, and women’s empowerment. 

    Image: Floods victims wade through flood water after flash flood in Matiari, Sindh province, Pakistan on August 29, 2022. © Shakeel Ahmad / Anadolu Agency / AFP


  • Cluster munition attacks have killed or injured 689 civilians in Ukraine

    August 25, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Silver Spring, MD—As the war in Ukraine enters its sixth month, the 2022 Cluster Munition Monitor raises an alarm. So far this year, cluster munition attacks in Ukraine have resulted in at least 689 civilians killed or injured. No other country saw new cluster munition attacks.

    Up to 40% of these weapons do not explode on impact, posing a serious threat for the local population for years to come.

    "We know two things for sure about cluster munitions: they are indiscriminate weapons, and 98% of causalities are civilians,” says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. “Yet we’ve seen Russian forces repeatedly launch unlawful attacks using this banned weapon. They also damaged healthcare facilities, factories, and homes. Ukrainian forces also reportedly used these devastating weapons several times.

    “Warring parties must immediately cease all use of cluster munitions, which have already killed or wounded hundreds of civilians in Ukraine this year. States must pressure countries that use cluster munitions to stop. They must firmly and systematically condemn any new use and hold users accountable.”

    The 2022 Cluster Munition Monitor report, released today, assesses the implementation of the Oslo Convention during the period from January to December 2021, as well as the first half of 2022, when information is available. In effect since 2010, the Oslo Convention bans the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions.

    In the first half of 2022, new uses of cluster munitions were reported only in Ukraine, where Russian forces conducted hundreds of attacks and Ukrainian forces have also reportedly used the weapon.

    According to preliminary reports, these attacks resulted in at least 689 civilians being killed (215) or injured (474). Cluster munition use in Ukraine mostly occurred in populated areas. In addition to killing and injuring civilians, it has also damaged civilian infrastructure: homes, hospitals, schools, factories, playgrounds, etc. Cluster munition attacks also threatened internally displaced persons and those seeking humanitarian aid.

    "The continued and repeated use of cluster munitions in Ukraine shows a lack of regard for civilian lives, and in some cases a deliberate intent to target them,” notes Meer. “War, too, has rules. The Oslo Convention is one of them. Everything must be done to ensure that the law is respected and that this barbaric weapon is eventually eradicated from theaters of conflict. States must defend and apply the Oslo Convention and all other texts relating to international humanitarian law."

    This preliminary casualty total is the heaviest cluster munition toll recorded in recent years, and represents a 302% increase compared to the 2020 global total, which included victims of both direct attacks and explosive remnants. The actual casualty total is likely greater, because of challenges with data reporting and collection.

    The last year of heavy cluster munition casualties was 2016, when researchers recorded more than 800 new victims, the vast majority in Syria. The Syrian government’s use of cluster munitions was widespread between 2012 and 2018. Cluster munitions were also used extensively in Syrian-Russian joint operations.

    Cluster Munitions remnants

    The Monitor recorded 149 new cluster munition casualties in 2021 globally, all caused by cluster munition remnants, including 37 in Syria, 33 in Iraq, 30 in Laos. The Monitor also reports casualties in eight other countries and territories including Yemen, Lebanon, Nagorno-Karabakh and Tajikistan. This was the first time in a decade that no casualties from new cluster munition attacks were reported in 2021. This marked a sharp decline from the annual totals in 2020 (360 casualties) and 2019 (317 casualties).

    Stockpile destruction and contamination globally

    Since the Convention came into force on August 1, 2010, 35 State Parties have destroyed 1.5 million cluster munition stockpiles, comprised of 178 million sub-munitions. This represents 99% of all cluster munitions declared by State Parties.

    Twenty-six states and three regions remain contaminated by sub-munition remnants worldwide.

     

    Cluster bombs

    Cluster bombs are weapons containing several hundred mini-bombs called sub-munitions. Designed to be scattered over large areas, they inevitably fall in civilian neighborhoods. Up to 40% do not explode on impact. Like anti-personnel mines, they can be triggered by the slightest contact, killing and maiming people during and after conflicts. As they make no distinction between civilians, civilian property and military targets, cluster bombs violate the rules of international humanitarian law.

    The Oslo Convention

    The Oslo Convention bans the use, storage, transfer, production and sale of cluster munitions. It was opened for signature in December 2008 and went into effect in August 2010. To date, more than 123 countries are signatories to this convention. The United States is not one of them.

    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. A global team of nearly 5,000 people work alongside people with disabilities and people experiencing situations of extreme vulnerability, acting and bearing witness, to  respond to essential needs, improve  living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and basic rights. Since it was founded in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International) has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. There are eight national associations within the network (Germany, Belgium, Canada, United States, France, Luxembourg, UK and Switzerland), working tirelessly to mobilize resources, co-manage projects and 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), co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, and 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.

     

     

    PHOTO:

    Image of destruction in Kyiv by Till Mayer ©T. Mayer / Humanity & Inclusion


  • World’s first political declaration to protect civilians from explosive weapons in populated areas nears completion

    June 13, 2022
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    “Stop Bombing Civilians” agreement: Who will adopt? How will they implement? What will it change for civilians in conflict? 

    Silver Spring, June 13, 2022—The closing consultation for an international agreement to better protect civilians from explosive weapons in populated areas will happen June 17, 2022, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

    The meeting gathers more than 60 State delegations, including the U.S., as well as representatives of international and civil society organizations. It features the presentation of the final version of the international agreement. This consultation concludes a two-year diplomatic process. A Humanity & Inclusion delegation will continue its dialogue with States to ensure that the final text effectively improves civilians’ chances to survive active conflict, elevating experience from the organization’s work with conflict survivors from countries such Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Libya and Iraq.

    The final agreement will be submitted to States for adoption at a conference to be held later this year, in a location not yet announced.  

    In April, State representatives gathered in Geneva, reaching broad consensus on the urgent need to commit to preventing the civilian harm that explosive weapons used in populated areas causes. Several States appeared ready to exclude use of the heaviest explosive weapons from populated areas by including a presumption of non-use of explosive weapons with wide areas effects in populated areas. Many States declared themselves willing to share good practices on their use of explosive weapons in order to better protect civilians from these weapons.

    Two months later, the final version of the international agreement takes good steps, but in other places doesn’t go far enough. It provides clarity on the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons, including their reverberating effects. And the text contains strong language on victim assistance, clearance and teaching civilians to mitigate risk through education about living amid explosive ordnance. However, the agreement is less ambitious than expected when it comes to limiting the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

    In two years of diplomatic process, we have come a long way,” says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director. “From denial on the part of States with respect to the humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons, we have moved to their full acknowledgment of patterns of harm caused to civilians by these weapons. But this international agreement is only the beginning of a long process to achieve tangible improvements to the protection of civilians. The next step will be its endorsement by States—and the big question is: which ones will do so? Humanity & Inclusion will do everything in our power to obtain the most endorsements possible, including from militarily active States like the United States, United Kingdom, and France. And then we look forward to seeing real implementation steps to create a safer world for all.”

    The international agreement’s impact will depend on States’ political will to fully commit to protecting civilians. Delegates will be closely watching the reaction of affected States as well as States that are actively participating in military operations. If they endorse the agreement, then Humanity & Inclusion believes that the agreement can provide a starting point for States to change military policies and practices to ensure better protection of civilians and civilian objects from explosive weapons.

    This diplomatic process began two years ago at the Vienna conference in October 2019. The goal? To draw up an international agreement that will reinforce the protection of civilians in war zones. Humanity & Inclusion has tirelessly discussed with States the need for an agreement that should effectively end to the suffering from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

    “The international agreement could be a breakthrough for the protection of civilians in war zone,” notes Alma Al Osta, Humanity & Inclusion's Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager. “Will States join the agreement when it is put forward for adoption? Will they have the political will to implement it? We will be watching the measures and policies they implement very closely. With the Explosive Weapons Monitor that we co-created in 2022, we will monitor military policies and practices to ensure better protection of civilian from explosive weapons.”

    c_V.-de-Viguerie_HI__Debris_is_strewn_about_a_home_damaged_by_a_missile_in_Kyiv.jpg

    Devastating humanitarian consequences

    Massive and repeated use of these weapons in populated areas is one of the main causes of long-term humanitarian crises, and civilians are the principal victims. Indeed, 90% of those killed and injured by explosive weapons in populated areas are civilians, according to Action on Armed Violence. Those injured are at risk of lifelong disabilities and severe psychological trauma.

    Cities in Ukraine offer a devastating illustration. They are currently enduring massive bombings, which regularly sees banned weapons such as cluster munitions in play. At least 8,000 civilians have been killed or injured since the beginning of the war on February 24, but the actual figures are certainly much higher. According to the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine,most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide-area effect, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.”

    Bombings have destroyed vital infrastructure, including hospitals, houses, and water supplies. Twelve million people have already fled to neighboring countries or other parts of Ukraine. This massive and systematic bombing of populated areas has triggered the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

    “Let’s be clear: the most destructive weapons should not be used in cities and towns, and other places where civilians live,” Meer adds. “Bombing and shelling in populated areas robbed 240,000 people of their lives between 2011 and 2020. Almost all casualties of bombing in urban areas are people like you and me who were never involved in the fighting, who did all they could to protect themselves from explosive violence. It is an unacceptable evolution of modern conflict that civilians are now by far the principal victims. Today, weapons such as 500-kg bombs, designed for use in open battlefields and with an impact radius of several hundred feet, are dropped from planes on crowded cities. Such weapons show no mercy for civilians. At Humanity & Inclusion, we will be relentless in denouncing the harm caused to civilians by urban bombing and call for better protection of civilians.”

    United Nations Secretary General António Guterres seems to agree. In his annual report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict on May 18, 2022, he recognizes the ‘urgent need’ for parties to conflict to ‘avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas’. Secretary 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 his report, Secretary Guterres expresses his support 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 effect explosive weapons in populated areas’.

    Chronology of the diplomatic process

    • October 2019: The Vienna Conference launches the political process for an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. This conference was attended by 133 States. A majority of States announced their willingness to work on a political declaration to end the human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
    • November 2019: First round of consultations on the text of the political declaration
    • February 2020: Second round of consultations with 70 states in attendance to discuss the political declaration
    • March 2020: Restrictive measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the in-person consultation process was suspended
    • September 2020: Ireland organized a high-level panel followed by a webinar to address the challenges of urban warfare and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
    • March 2021: Informal online consultations
    • April 2021: The National Defence Commission of the Belgian Federal Parliament adopted an historic parliamentarian resolution on the protection of civilians from bombing and shelling in populated areas.
    • May 2021: Parliamentarians from five countries participated in the European Inter-Parliamentarian Conference on the future political declaration to protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Since then, more than 250 parliamentarians from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union have signed the European Inter-Parliamentarian Joint Statement.
    • April 2022: Final round of consultations to negotiate the final text of the international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
    • June 2022: Final version of the text to be shared and concluded
    • Date to be determined, hopefully in 2022: Political declaration opens for endorsement.

    More information


  • 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. 


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