Help me reach my goal before Dec. 31!

I have worked at Handicap International for nearly five years. The work we do is unique, and helps to ensure that no one, no matter their situation in life, is left in the shadows of a natural disaster, or refugee crisis.

Please join me, and become a donor!

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


  • 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


  • Central African Republic | International NGOs express deep concerns about humanitarian crisis

    August 31, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Food security at risk

    Today, more than one out of two Central Africans is food insecure according to the World Food Programme (July 2021). In addition, more than one in four people are either refugees or internally displaced, the number of displaced people in CAR has reached 1,417,542 (UNHCR, 30/06/2021), the highest number since 2014. In addition to the displacements caused by insecurity, flood victims represent 30% of the displacements between May and June 2021.

    "These recurrent displacements and insecurity are seriously impacting agricultural production, which is already weakened by climate disruption, crop diseases and difficulties in accessing inputs and farming tools. This not only destabilizes the country's food security but also impacts the livelihoods of rural households that depend heavily on subsistence farming for their survival" said Mathilde Lambert, Country Director of Action Against Hunger-CAR.

    Alarming health challenges

    Repeated attacks on patients, staff, medical assets and infrastructure, as well as insecurity, have disrupted access to health care. The situation is worrying because CAR's health indicators continue to be particularly alarming. The country has the worst infant mortality rate in the world (WB, 2019) and one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world (WB, 2017).

    "The impact of the conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic on the mental health of affected populations is often underestimated. On the ground, we observe symptoms of depression, anxiety or psychosis," says Dr. Christian Mulamba, Country Director at International Medical Corps. Plagued by a measles epidemic since 2020, the country has also experienced major malaria epidemics, which remains the leading cause of morbidity. As a result, CAR population has a life expectancy of 53 years, one of the lowest in the world.

    Education in crisis

    After a year 2020 disrupted by the COVID-19 preventive health restrictions, the conflict has disrupted the functioning of an already precarious education system: student absenteeism, school closures due to insecurity, occupation of schools by displaced populations or by armed actors. This situation permanently compromises the future of Central African youth and particularly that of internally displaced children and that of girls living in the conflict areas.

    Sexual violence on the rise

    While men account for the majority of the conflict's dead and wounded, women, girls, boys, and people living with disabilities are greatly affected by difficulties in accessing basic social services (education, sexual and reproductive health care, nutrition, etc.) and by protection problems. Reported sexual violence is on the rise in the country and disproportionately affects women and girls.

    To date, the humanitarian response plan in CAR is only half funded. International NGOs are calling for the mobilization of Central African authorities and donors to ensure the humanitarian response and the protection of civilians.

    --------------------------------------
    Since the week of December 14, 2020, armed clashes have broken out in the Central African Republic and continue to this day. Civilians, humanitarian workers, and medical staff have not been spared from the wave of violence that has since taken place in the country. The number of incidents affecting humanitarians between January and June 2021 has increased by 39% compared to the same period last year. Despite the insecurity, humanitarians provided assistance to 25% of the population during the first quarter of 2021.
    CAR_presser.JPG

    Humanity & Inclusion in Central African Republic

    Humanity & Inclusion has worked in the Central African Republic since 1994, and since 2016, the organization has worked to ensure that the most vulnerable people receive the life-saving, life-enabling aid they need after three years of acute crisis.

    Since gaining its independence in 1958, the country has experienced chronic instability as a result of regular military coups and the repeated failure to transition to a democratic system.

    Areas of Intervention

    • Emergency
    • Prevention
    • Rehabilitation
    • Logistics services

    Since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in Central African Republic, Humanity & Inclusion's 146-person team has developed inclusive awareness projects on personal protection measures. Through its logistics platform projects, Humanity & Inclusion supports and facilitates the delivery of aid by humanitarian organizations throughout the country.

     

    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 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. Since its 1982 founding, 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. The organization has numerous prizes to its name, including the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the 1996 Nansen Prize, and two 2020 Horizon Prizes for innovation. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task. 


  • published Emergency team in Haiti in Haiti Updates 2021-08-21 07:25:07 -0400

    Emergency team in Haiti

    Humanity & Inclusion sent four members of its global, emergency response pool to Haiti, landing in Port Au Prince on August 19. They joined the program staff, present in Haiti since 2008, who have been hard at work preparing HI’s response since the quake hit. The team includes an emergency area manager, a rehabilitation / mental health and psychosocial support specialist, a logistics technician, and a communications officer.

    Deliver emergency aid to Haiti

    Read more

  • Haiti | “People don’t have many options left”

    Marjorie is a rehabilitation specialist for Humanity & Inclusion. She took time on August 19, to share what conditions are like in Grand Sud, Haiti.

    Deliver emergency aid to Haiti

    Read more

  • Haitian team launches emergency response to earthquake

    August 16, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    On August 14, a powerful earthquake brought destruction and devastation to the people of Haiti. Relying on past experiences in emergency earthquake response, Humanity & Inclusion will intervene.  

    A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Haiti early Saturday morning, resulting in death, injury, and severe damage. According to the National Emergency Operations Center, the disaster has resulted in about 1,300 deaths and 5,700 people with injuries.

    With an epicenter about 8 miles from Petit Trou de Nippes, the most affected areas are the South, Nippes and Grande Anse regions of Haiti, where hundreds of homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. Beyond the risks caused by the tremor, Haiti remains under alert for Tropical Storm Grace's arrival later today, including possible storm surges in the coming days.

    Assessing Needs

    The most pressing needs are for medical attention and care for the wounded. Hospitals are overwhelmed by the heightened demand, piling atop the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and damages sustained to their buildings. Several have called for emergency reinforcement.

    In any natural disaster, people with disabilities, women, children and aging people are the most likely to be negatively affected. During the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the country in 2010, Humanity & Inclusion teams saw the devastating effect on these populations. Between 2,000 and 4,000 people had limbs amputated from injuries caused by the 2010 earthquake. More than 90,000 people received rehabilitation care to prevent the onset of permanent injuries. Humanity & Inclusion teams say this situation could be similar.  

    “From our previous experience, we’re expecting an enormous need for rehabilitation,” says Anissa Bouachria, Humanity & Inclusion’s Emergency Pool Manager. “There are thousands injured, and many of those injuries may worsen or turn into permanent disabilities. Beyond this, people have experienced significant trauma and will need psychosocial support in addition to basic needs like food, water, shelter and items for personal hygiene.” 

    Response Plan

    Humanity & Inclusion, already present in Haiti since 2008, is preparing plans for intervention. At this time, teams are working closely with local authorities to identify the most pressing needs and possibilities. Additional Humanity & Inclusion emergency teams have been activated, and will be sent for reinforcement as soon as possible.

    Among the greatest needs for the population, the following have been identified as potential areas of Humanity & Inclusion intervention given the organization’s expertise:

    • Rehabilitation services and distribution of mobility aids
    • Psychosocial and mental health support
    • Logistics support
    • Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
    • Basic needs (food access, shelter, cash transfers)

    Aid appeal

    The global network has launched a fundraising appeal to support its emergency response in Haiti. People can make a secure donation at www.hi-us.org/help_haiti

    Humanity & Inclusion in Haiti

    Humanity & Inclusion has been active in Haiti since 2008 and has developed a close relationship to the community. The organization has been an active part of disaster relief interventions related to the 2010 earthquake and 2016 Hurricane Matthew, while ensuring an inclusive humanitarian response in these efforts. Among other activities of inclusive livelihood and rehabilitation, Humanity & Inclusion also set up the first disability and vulnerability focal points (DVFP) and partnered with the Office of the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities. Today, Humanity & Inclusion remains committed to serving the people of Haiti during this time of great need.

    Image: A young girl clears debris following destruction of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Copyright: William Daniels/HI Archives - 2010

  • donated 2021-08-15 11:11:23 -0400

  • Yemen aid agencies: thousands of lives at risk as vital lifeline remains blocked

    August 12, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Inter-agency statement on the fifth year of the Sana’a airport closure

    For the past five years, Sana’a International airport has remained closed to commercial flights due to restrictions imposed by the Saudi-led Coalition on Yemen’s airspace, and disagreement over the terms of its reopening between Ansar Allah and the Internationally Recognized Government and Saudi Arabia has led to its continued closure, impeding thousands of civilians’ access to lifesaving assistance, nine aid agencies warned today.

    Since 2016, aid agencies have been raising the alarm over the deadly impact of the closure. At least 32,000 people may have died prematurely as a result, according to the Ministry of Health and Population in Sana’a (2019). Not only does its continued closure prevent thousands of patients with critical conditions from seeking medical treatment abroad, but it also prevents essential medical supplies and equipment from entering the country.

    For 70% of Yemenis living in northern areas, the only alternative is to take lengthy journeys across active conflict lines to reach the nearest airport, incurring substantial costs that many cannot afford.

    Aid agencies have repeatedly called for the immediate reopening of Sana’a airport to alleviate the suffering of civilians and ensure the free flow of humanitarian and commercial goods throughout Yemen. In February last year, the airport was briefly opened to allow a limited number of patients in need of urgent medical care to leave the country. The hope that this could support confidence building between warring parties and eventually lead to the full reopening of Sana’a airport was, unfortunately, short-lived. In addition to compromising the lives of patients in need of urgent treatment, the continued closure of the airport, coupled with restrictions on Hodeida port exacerbates the suffering of people across Yemen.

    The closure of the airport continues to prevent Yemenis from travelling, infringing on their right to freedom of movement. It has put the futures of many students on hold, as they can no longer pursue their studies abroad. The continued closure of the airport is also causing significant economic losses.

    After nearly seven years of conflict, Yemen remains the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. 20 million people - over 66% of the country’s 30.5 million population - are in need of humanitarian assistance, 13 million of which are at risk of starvation.

    Aid agencies are therefore calling on Saudi Arabia, Ansar Allah and the Internationally Recognized Government to reopen Sana’a airport to alleviate the humanitarian situation.

    Signed by

    Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion
    International Medical Corps
    INTERSOS
    Islamic Relief Worldwide
    ZOA
    Oxfam
    Norwegian Refugees Council
    Search for Common Ground
    Save the Children


  • Members of Congress to President Biden: Join Mine Ban Treaty by 2024

    June 22, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Humanity & Inclusion, along with its fellow campaigners at the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC), is encouraged by a Congressional letter sent today to President Biden, urging him to put the U.S. on the right path toward joining the 1997 Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty by 2024.

    The letter, led by long-time anti-landmine champions Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, counts bipartisan support from 21 Democrats and Republicans across both chambers of Congress. It underscores the importance of backing 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. In one section of the letter, they write:

    "We are writing to urge you, as a first step, to reinstate the Obama policy, and by doing so reaffirm the United States as a leader in the global effort to reduce the carnage caused by anti-personnel mines.  We further urge you to direct the Pentagon to expeditiously review its plans for the defense of the Republic of Korea and provide a classified report to you and the Congress describing the options for defending the Republic of Korea with alternatives to anti-personnel mines, and of finally putting the United States on a definitive path to accede to the treaty – an important U.S. foreign policy goal announced by President Clinton and reaffirmed by President Obama – by 2024.  In addition to the more than two decades during which the Pentagon was directed to develop alternatives to anti-personnel landmines, this would provide three more years to finalize plans for such a transition."

    The letter ends with a plea: "We urge you to put America on a path to make this longstanding goal a reality." The authors note that the U.S. joining the Mine Ban Treaty "is the right thing to do for our country, for the world, and for our men and women in uniform." 

    Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion, and Steering Committee Chair for USCBL-USCMC responded to the letter, saying, 

    "Ending the use of landmines is a moral issue, not a partisan one. This bipartisan message from members of Congress is welcomed. We continue to encourage President Biden to retire landmines and bring the United States into the Mine Ban Treaty. The majority of the world's countries and all our NATO allies have done this, recognizing that a weapon that routinely kills indiscriminately has no place in the arsenal of a modern and just military.”

    Since January, more than 8,000 Americans have signed a Humanity & Inclusion petition urging President Biden to join the Mine Ban Treaty. This petition remains open until the Biden Administration takes action toward ending our country’s use, production, stockpiling, and transferring of anti-personnel landmines

    Last year, the USCBL-USCMC issued a memo outlining policies the President should adopt. In that memorandum, the campaign highlighted changes made in January 2020 under the Trump Administration that would allow for use of victim-activated anti-personnel landmines anywhere in the world, expanding the previous policy that restricted those actions to the Korean peninsula. Today's Congressional letter calls for immediately reversing those Trump-era policies. 

    On April 8, UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that: "Biden has been clear that he intends to roll back this policy,” referring in part to campaign promise to reverse President Trump’s policy. We urge him to do so immediately. 

    In a letter dated April 28, directors of arms control, humanitarian, human rights, religious, veteran and other groups as well as former members of Congress, the former president of National Defense University, and former landmine ambassadors, further called on the President to “set the United States on a short and direct path to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty by declaring the United States’ intent to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty by 2023 as part of the new policy.”  

    The United States has not used anti-personnel landmines since 1991, excluding the use of a single munition in 2002. All other NATO allies and a total of 164 countries worldwide have agreed to universally foreswear all anti-personnel mines under the Mine Ban Treaty.  

     


  • Open Letter to United Nations Security Council Ambassadors

    The United Nations Security Council has until July 10, to renew the Syria cross-border resolution, which ensures life-saving UN aid reaches millions of Syrians in need. NGO leaders are calling on the Security Council to renew the resolution for a period of 12 months and guarantee UN cross-border access to both North West and North East Syria.

    Excellencies,

    The United Nations Security Council will soon be faced with a critical choice – whether to let avoidable suffering and loss of life proceed under its watch, or to take decisive action to support Syrian people in need, no matter where they are.

    As Council Members you have a responsibility to uphold your commitments to the protection of civilians caught up in conflict and to ensure millions of Syrian families struggling to survive are not denied access to timely, life-saving humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian realities on the ground should drive Security Council action on the UN cross-border response in Syria. The level of crisis demands the reauthorization of cross-border assistance to North West Syria via Bab al Hawa and reinstating Bab al Salam crossing, for a minimum of 12 months. It also requires reinstating the Al Yarubiyah crossing in the North East, where needs have grown 38% since the crossing was closed in January 2020. 

    The Security Council came together in 2014 to authorize cross-border access, one of its few moments of unity in relation to this conflict. The imperative then, as it is now, was to ensure aid reached Syrians in a principled manner wherever they were, on the basis of need alone. Today, the needs and challenges people are facing across Syria are greater than ever before, with the number of those in need of assistance rising 20% in the last year alone. A decade of conflict has created one of the worst protection crises in the world, left millions food insecure and reliant on aid, and has forcibly displaced Syrians who continue to live in dire conditions.

    Eighty-one percent of people in the North West and 69% in the North East are in need of aid, an estimated half of whom are children. For millions of Syrians who live in these areas, the cross-border mechanism has been a critical lifeline providing food, shelter, protection, medical and other lifesaving services.

    Without a resolution that secures cross-border access for 12 months, humanitarian actors will be unable to adequately respond to growing needs and the spread of COVID-19 in North West and North East Syria. Without a resolution, the nascent COVID-19 vaccination campaign will be halted in its tracks for millions, undermining efforts to end the pandemic in the region and globally. Without cross-border access, we predict that one million people dependent on food baskets delivered by WFP will be left without food assistance by September 2021.

    Reductions in aid harm the most vulnerable Syrians, including displaced populations, women, children, and persons with disabilities. Without a large-scale cross-border response, lives will be lost. 

    In the North West, the Council’s decision not to reauthorize the Bab al Salam crossing in July 2020 left the humanitarian response reliant on one single crossing point. This reduction in access has needlessly put people’s access to aid and now COVID-19 vaccinations at risk. Just three months ago the vicinity of the one remaining crossing, Bab al Hawa, came under attack, causing damage to NGO warehouses and humanitarian supplies. Ongoing violence risks cutting off the only remaining access to food, vaccinations, and other critical supplies for people in North West Syria. The authorization of both Bab al Hawa and Bab al Salam is critical to ensure regular and reliable supplies of aid to an area of Syria that is home to some of the most severe needs and largest displaced populations. 

    The Council’s decision in January 2020 to restrict the UN’s access through the removal of the Al Yarubiyah crossing point has had dire consequences in North East Syria. Just as the first cases of COVID-19 began to emerge across the globe, the Council’s decision delivered a huge blow to an already decimated healthcare sector in the North East. Now, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and spread across densely populated displacement camps such as Al Hol, NGOs remain unable to fill the gaps that have been left, facing shortages of PPE, essential medicines, COVID-19 testing kits and medical supplies.

    Principled humanitarian action through both cross-line and cross-border modalities in North West and North East Syria remain the only way to support millions of Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. There is no alternative.

    We look to you as Security Council members to ensure that this vital lifeline is extended and expanded, ensuring Syrian children don’t have to skip another meal, expectant mothers won’t miss out on maternal care, families don’t resort to negative coping mechanisms to survive, and humanitarians and healthcare workers are enabled to mount an effective battle against COVID-19. Our organizations' ability to maintain, much less expand, our life-saving aid and services is at stake. Now is not the time to scale back humanitarian access.

    Yours sincerely,

    David Miliband
    President & CEO, International Rescue Committee

    Inger Ashing
    Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children

    Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro
    Secretary-General, CARE International

    Gabriela Bucher
    Executive Director, Oxfam International

    Jan Egeland
    Chief Executive Officer, Norwegian Refugee Council

    Andrew J. Morley
    President & CEO, World Vision International

    Samuel A. Worthington
    Chief Executive Officer, InterAction

    Dominic MacSorley
    Chief Executive Officer, Concern Worldwide

    Tjada D'Oyen McKenna
    Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps

    Eric Schwartz
    President, Refugees International  

    Manuel Patrouillard
    Global Managing Director, Humanity & Inclusion

    Amanda Khozi Mukwashi
    Chief Executive, Christian Aid

    Dr. Jihad Qaddour 
    President, Syria Relief & Development (SRD)

    Othman Moqbel
    Chief Executive, Syria Relief

    Caoimhe de Barra
    Chief Executive Officer, Trocaire

    Ramin Shahzamani
    Managing Director, War Child Holland

    Dr. Mufadddal Hamadeh
    President, Syrian American Medical Society

    Dr. Zaher Sahloul
    President, MedGlobal

    Ann Koontz
    Chief Executive Officer, Relief International

    Dr. Jennifer Coolidge
    President, Big Heart Foundation

    Šimon Pánek
    Executive Director, People in Need

    Faddy Sahloul
    Chief Executive Officer, Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HIHFAD)

    Baraa Alsmoudi
    Executive Director, Ihsan Relief and Development

    Osman Dulgeroglu
    Chief Executive Officer, Embrace Relief Foundation Inc

    Umar al-Qadi
    President and CEO, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development

    Hisham Dirani
    Chief Executive Officer, VIOLET for Relief and Development

    Ms. Nadia Alawa
    Chief Executive Officer, NuDay

    Mahmoud Al Shehadi
    Chief Executive Officer, Orange Organization


  • Use of heavy explosive weapons in Gaza and Israel must stop

    May 12, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    INEW, co-founded by Humanity & Inclusion, issued the following statement today. You can view the original here.

    The use of heavy explosive weapons in the Gaza strip and Israel is killing and injuring civilians and must stop.

    Violence sharply escalated after Israeli forces attempted to quell protestors in East Jerusalem. Rockets were fired into populated areas in Israel in retaliation by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. This was followed by Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza strip, exacting a heavy toll on the civilian population.

    As violence and casualties rise, 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.

    Dozens of civilians, including at least 14 children, have reportedly been killed in airstrikes in Gaza in just the past two days, with over 300 injured and hundreds more made homeless. [1] Israel has conducted dozens of airstrikes, including on a 13-storey residential building causing its complete collapse.[2] During the same period, rocket fire over Israel reportedly killed three civilians and injured many others. The International Committee of the Red Cross has issued an urgent call for restraint and de-escalation: “Every minute that this cycle of violence continues is a danger to people's lives, their homes and the services and infrastructure they rely on like hospitals and schools.”

    Gaza has been the ninth worst-affected state by explosive violence over the past decade. From 2011-2020, AOAV recorded 5,700 deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Gaza – of these, 5,107 (90%) were civilians. As a consequence of previous military assaults and blockades, much of the Gaza strip’s infrastructure and housing has also been severely degraded: a recent Human Rights Watch report documented the long term effects of explosive weapons use in Gaza, which has “destroyed tens of thousands of structures and critical infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools, and Gaza’s only power plant, causing considerable harm to civilian life that has lasted for years afterward”. The use of explosive weapons is also one of the main catalysts of forced displacement globally, as civilians flee for safety, but for Palestinians in Gaza such flight is often impossible due to longstanding tight movement restrictions.  

    Every year tens of thousands of civilians are killed and injured around the world by bombing and shelling in urban and other populated areas using weapons designed for use in open battlefields. Many more civilians experience life-changing injuries, and suffer from destruction of homes, hospitals, schools and vital services. Unexploded ordnance pose on ongoing threat to civilians during and after hostilities have ended and impedes the safe return of refugees and displaced persons.

    The widespread bombing and shelling in the Gaza strip and Israel highlights the needs for new international standards against the use heavy explosive weapons in populated areas. Heavy explosive weapons are those with wide area effects, and include weapons that produce a large blast area or spread fragments widely, weapons that deliver multiple munitions that saturate a large area, such as multiple-launch rocket systems, and inaccurate weapons, such as mortars, that may land anywhere within a wide area of the intended target. When used in cities and towns where there are concentrations of civilians, the risk of harm to civilians is greatest.

    Over 100 countries have recognised the harm caused to civilians from the use of explosive weapons in cities, towns and other populated areas. States are in the process of negotiating a political declaration that would contain new international standards on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, under the leadership of Ireland. INEW calls upon states to include a commitment to avoid use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas in the future political declaration.

     

     

    [1] "Israel-Gaza violence: death toll rises as UN envoy warns over escalation", The Guardian, 11 May 2021.

    [2] “Dozens dead as Israel and Hamas escalate aerial bombardments”, Reuters, 12 May 2021.


  • President Biden: It's time to join the Mine Ban Treaty

    April 28, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines – U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition, alongside 30 directors of arms control, humanitarian, human rights, religious, veteran and other groups, as well as former members of Congress, ambassadors and military leaders called on President Biden today to move to the right side of history on landmines. In a joint letter, they pressed him to "adopt a policy that sets the United States on course not just to “curtail the use of landmines,” but to ban their use, production, acquisition, and transfer and to swiftly accede to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty." 

    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.

    Building U.S. Landmines Policy Back and Better

    April 28, 2021

    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:

    We appreciate the statement by our UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on April 8 that: "President Biden believes we need to curtail the use of landmines. Now, there has been some discussion of the previous administration’s landmine policy… Biden has been clear that he intends to roll back this policy, and our administration has begun a policy review to do just that.”

    In response to the announcement that the administration is conducting a policy review, we -- the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) and our partners -- strongly encourage you to adopt a policy that sets the United States on course not just to “curtail the use of landmines,” but to ban their use, production, acquisition, and transfer and to swiftly accede to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

    Over the past twenty 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 of landmines on civilian communities around the world. While not a signatory, under President Barack Obama’s 2014 policy the U.S. had functionally adhered to key provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty – except those prohibiting the U.S. from ordering the use of landmines on the Korean peninsula.

    While the Obama administration brought U.S. policy further in line with the Mine Ban Treaty, it did not take specific measures toward U.S. accession. Under the 2014 policy, the U.S. committed not to assist, encourage, or induce other nations to use, stockpile, produce, or transfer antipersonnel mines outside of Korea. It also committed to no future production or acquisition of antipersonnel mines, while allowing current U.S. stockpiles to expire.

    However, the 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. While the new policy claims that non-persistent mines minimize civilian harm, the Mine Ban Treaty rejects the use of such mines and the faulty premise underpinning them.

    Decades of efforts to enhance the “safety” of landmines have failed. No matter the technology, landmines are indiscriminate weapons. Regardless of their lifespan, they are victim-activated and do not distinguish between a combatant or a civilian while active, rendering them incapable of abiding by international humanitarian law.

    In recognition of the dangers landmines pose to civilians and U.S. service members alike, the United States has not used 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. In the last five years, only the government forces of Syria, Myanmar, and North Korea, as well as non-state actors in conflict areas, have used antipersonnel landmines.

    Of the more than 50 countries that once produced landmines, 40 have ceased and renounced production. Under the U.S. landmine policy introduced by the Trump administration, the United States would join the small handful of countries that defy the global norm against landmines by permitting production of these banned indiscriminate weapons.

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

    Additionally, despite significant backsliding on U.S. policy regarding antipersonnel landmines, the U.S. can and should be proud of its world-leading funding and technical support to mine clearance, stockpile destruction, mine risk education, and victim assistance efforts across the globe -- amounting to more than $177 million in 2019 alone. We urge your administration to continue this important humanitarian mine action work.

    Recommendations for a New U.S. Landmine Policy

    As you and your team evaluate current policy, we urge you not simply to go back to the Obama-era policy, but to build back better.

    • Consult with civil society and victim advocates during the policy review and in advance of any policy change or announcement.
    • Commit to actively and constructively participate in regular meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty.
    • Commit to increasing support to Humanitarian Mine Action, particularly in the State Department’s Conventional Weapons Destruction programs and the Defense Department’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development program.
    • Ban the use of antipersonnel landmines without geographic exceptions, including the Korean Peninsula.
    • Ban the development, production or acquisition of all antipersonnel landmines, including so-called non-persistent landmines.
    • Ban the sale or transfer of any type of antipersonnel landmine to any other government or partner.
    • Set the United States on a short and direct path to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty by declaring the United States’ intent to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty by 2023 as part of the new policy.
    • Lay out an accelerated timeline for the destruction of stockpiled landmines and provide concrete plans and mechanisms for public reporting on progress.

    We appreciate your commitment to improving U.S. landmine policy and welcome the opportunity to work with your team as it moves forward with the policy review.

    Sincerely,

    Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee

    John M Barrows, President & CEO, International Eye Foundation

    Federico Borello, Executive Director, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)

    Darren Cormack, Chief Executive Officer, Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

    Lt. General (USA, Ret) Robert G. Gard, Jr, Member, Board of Experts, Federation of American Scientists

    Susan Gunn, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

    Steve Goose, Executive Director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch

    Senator Tom Harkin, Harkin Institute

    Lisa Haugaard, Co-Director, Latin America Working Group

    Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church

    Rev. Dr. Nathan Hosler, Director, Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy

    Liz Hume, Acting CEO & President, Alliance for Peacebuilding

    Karl Frederick Inderfurth, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University

    Asif Khan, Director of Public Affairs, Helping Hand for Relief and Development

    Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

    Sera Koulabdara, Executive Director, Legacies of War

    Lora Lumpe, Chief Executive Officer, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

    Jeff Meer, US Executive Director, Humanity & Inclusion and Chair, USCBL-USCMC Steering Committee

    Stephen Miles, Executive Director, Win Without War

    Bridget Moix, US Executive Director, Peace Direct

    Michael J. Nyenhuis, President and CEO, UNICEF USA

    Paul O'Brien, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

    Dr. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, President, Women In International Security (WIIS)

    Dianne E. Randall, General Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

    Tessie San Martin, President/CEO, Plan International USA

    Maria Santelli, Executive Director, Center on Conscience & War

    Larry Schwab MD, Co-Director, West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines

    Robert Schwartz, Vice President, Global Health Partners

    Nora Sheets, Coordinator, Proud Students Against Landmines (PSALM) and Co-Director, West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines

    Sandy Sorensen, Director of Washington Office, United Church of Christ

    Amb. Donald Steinberg, former President’s Special Representative for Humanitarian Demining

    John Tierney, Executive Director, Council for a Livable World and Executive Director, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World

    Jose Vasquez, Executive Director, Common Defense

    Samuel A. Worthington, Chief Executive Officer, InterAction

    Jeff Abramson, Coordinator, USCBL-USCMC


  • published Teams support Rohingya after terrifying fire in News 2021-03-29 07:18:54 -0400

    Bangladesh | Teams support Rohingya after terrifying fire

    A major blaze ripped through the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on March 22. More than 40,000 people were directly affected and lost their shelters. Eleven people died and more than 550 others were injured, according to initial reports. Humanity & Inclusion teams deployed to assist the most vulnerable.

    Read more

  • published Six years of war devastates Yemen in Press Releases 2021-03-25 09:09:47 -0400

    Six years of war devastates Yemen

    March 25, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Silver Spring, Maryland—The 6-year war in Yemen has caused the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The country faces enormous challenges from the level of destruction of infrastructure by massive bombing and shelling in populated areas, as well as the dangerous contamination by explosive devices. The conflict provides a horrifying example of the long-term humanitarian consequences of explosive weapons used in populated areas. States must support the draft international agreement against urban bombing currently being negotiated to help end the suffering.

    The use of explosive weapons in populated areas has devastated Yemen over the past six years. The conflict has claimed about 233,000 lives. Some people are direct victims of the violence. Indeed, more than 20,000 civilian deaths and injuries have been verified as a direct result of hostilities since 2015. Other people have died from indirect consequences, such as lack of health services and clean water after health facilities and water supply systems were largely destroyed by bombing and shelling; or lack of food due when destroyed roads are impassable for delivery trucks.

    The conflict intensified during 2020, resulting in shocking levels of civilian suffering. By the end of October 2020, there were 47 front lines, up from 33 in January 2020. In recent weeks, violent combats have taken place in Marib, forcing thousands to flee. Many families who actually live in Marib have already faced multiple displacements from violence in recent years. They are stranded in overcrowded camps, and need access to shelter, protection, food, water, hygiene and health care.

    Widespread use of landmines has been reported in several regions of the country. Landmines or improvised explosive devices killed or injured almost 1,100 civilians between 2018 to 2020. In 2020 alone, at least 1,300 civilians were affected in landmine or explosive remnant of war-related incidents (these incidents remain largely under-reported).

    Humanity & Inclusion has treated at least 30,000 people, many of them victims of the conflict, since the beginning of its operations in 2015. By December 2019, more than 3,000 of them were victims of explosive weapons such as bombings, explosive remnants of war, or improvised explosive devices. Among the people helped are a large and unprecedented proportion of victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war. By December 2019, teams had helped 850 victims of such weapons.

    The massive and repeated use of explosive weapons—especially those with wide area effects—in populated areas has exacerbated Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and will have a long-term impact. According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021, 20 million people (66% of the entire population) need humanitarian assistance, 16 million people are food insecure, and 3.6 million people are displaced. The economic disruption has inflated food prices. In recent months, the country has also been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural hazards such as flooding and locusts.

    The level of contamination by explosive remnants of war in Yemen is likely to be extremely high due to the intensity of the conflict over the last 6 years. Should the conflict end today, incidents linked with the use of weapons are expected to last for decades and continue to impact civilians and prevent the return of the displaced to their homes.

    "The level of destruction is staggering,” says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. “NGOs face significant security and administrative constraints that considerably reduce our ability to assist. Humanitarian aid is unfortunately largely underfunded, with just half of the $3.8 billion need estimated by the United Nations so far pledged. States should not only support lifesaving humanitarian aid in Yemen, they should pressure parties to the conflict to lift the obstacles that impede humanitarian access and aid. We need nothing less to ensure the protection of civilians."

    Humanity & Inclusion’s impact in Yemen

    Humanity & Inclusion works in the governorates of Sana'a, Amanat al Asimah, Hajjah, Aden Lahj and Taiz, in nine health centers, and welcomes patients from all over the country.

    Humanity & Inclusion has provided:

    • more than 35,000 crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, and other mobility supports
    • psychological support to about 23,000 people
    • prostheses and orthotics to 520 people through a collaboration with the Sana'a Physiotherapy and Prosthesis Centre
    • education and training about early trauma response to more than 800 Yemeni health workers in Sana'a.

    Diplomatic process to end bombing in urban areas

    An Ireland-led diplomatic process to reach an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas started in October 2019. So far, more than 70 States have been involved in drafting the international agreement against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Negotiations were put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but resumed earlier this year.

    A final round of negotiation is scheduled for late spring/early summer in Geneva, depending on the outcomes of the global health situation caused by Covid-19. Then, the international agreement should be proposed to States for endorsement during a conference that should be scheduled depending on the outcomes of the global health situation caused by Covid-19. 

    Humanity & Inclusion experts available for interviews:

    • Baptiste Chapis, HI's Disarmament, Crisis & Conflicts Advocacy Officer
    • Caroline Dauber, HI's Head of Mission in Yemen

    Press contact

    Mica Bevington
    Email: [email protected]
    Mobile: +1 (202) 290 9264

    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 30 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, our actions and voice 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 (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.”


  • Joint INGO Statement on the Fires in the Rohingya Camps in Cox's Bazar

    March 24, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    We stand in solidarity with the 10,000 Rohingya refugee families affected by the massive fires in Kutapalong Camp in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh. The humanitarian community and the Government of Bangladesh have worked together tirelessly to support those affected by the blaze on March 22, 2021.

    The fire wreaked havoc in the densely packed refugee camps and quickly raged across four camps in the world’s largest refugee settlement – home to more than 1 million people. From the onset, Rohingya volunteers rushed to the scene as first responders and continue to work around the clock to help in close collaboration with the fire service, members of the humanitarian community and local residents who all contributed to contain the blaze and save lives. Despite these efforts, early reports from the camps indicate at least 11 people were tragically killed. With shelters burnt to ashes and nowhere to live, women, girls, people with disabilities, and older people also face greater threats to their personal safety.

    We are especially horrified by accounts shared with us by Rohingya refugees, who told us they were trapped and unable to reach safety due to the fencing that now encloses the camps and, in some instances, had to cut an opening through the barbed wire fence to survive. The fencing hampered the ability of refugees to escape and caused significant delays to fire services. Fleeing in these circumstances is even more difficult, if not impossible, for refugees with disabilities. The delays contributed to greater damage to the homes, learning centers and health facilities, upon which the refugees rely, particularly in one camp where everything was destroyed.

    The collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, the army, police and fire brigades and their efforts to put out the flames and work with humanitarian actors to bring aid to affected refugees is greatly appreciated. However, more must be done to ensure this catastrophe is not repeated in the future.  Whilst by far the largest, yesterday’s blaze was not the only significant fire to break out in recent months. Therefore, urgent action to address refugee safety and emergency humanitarian access is required to prevent loss of life and mitigate exposure to extreme risk in the future.

    In the aftermath of Monday’s events, we propose the following measures to be considered in close coordination with the UN, donor agencies, the Government of Bangladesh and refugee community leaders. By working together, the Government and the humanitarian community reaffirm our commitment to the safety and well being of refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar.

    • Shelter, food, water, health, protection, child protection, and psycho-social support to refugees must be ramped up in the aftermath of the fire. The international community must ensure the response is adequately funded to meet needs that are now greater than ever.
    • Fences across roads into camps should be reconsidered, and pocket gates should be opened and staffed for 24-hour access, to ensure safe passage during emergencies and access for emergency response services.
    • The camps need to be safe for refugees in case of emergencies. The camps should be built back safer by providing more space between shelters and using fire-retardant materials. Maps and signboards should be prepared clearly marking safe routes. This plan should be made with input from the Rohingya refugees, affected host communities, and humanitarian actors.
    • A full evacuation plan is needed. It should be written collaboratively with the relevant humanitarian actors, to ensure the safety of the Rohingya in case of serious flooding, fire, cyclone, or other sudden onset crisis occurs.
    • Many refugees lost all their documentation in the fire. The Government of Bangladesh and the humanitarian community should ensure that refugees have continued and unhampered access to services until registration documents can be replaced.

    Signed,

    • ActionAid
    • Action Contre la Faim
    • CARE
    • Christian Aid
    • Community Partners International
    • Concern Worldwide
    • DanChurchAid
    • Danish Refugee Council
    • Educo
    • HEKS/EPER- Swiss Church Aid
    • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation
    • Humanity & Inclusion
    • International Rescue Committee
    • Islamic Relief
    • MAF Bangladesh
    • Médecins du Monde France
    • Médecins du Monde Japan
    • Médecins du Monde Switzerland
    • Norwegian Refugee Council
    • Oxfam International
    • Plan International
    • Practical Action
    • Save the Children
    • Solidarités International
    • United Purpose
    • World Vision
    • VSO

     

     

    //ENDS//