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

    June 22, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    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.


    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

    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

    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.


    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

    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

    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.


    • 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





  • 10 years of conflict | "At least two generations to rebuild Syria"

    March 14, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    March 15 marks the tenth anniversary of the conflict in Syria, and the humanitarian crisis is only getting worse. Humanity & Inclusion is working in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt with Syrians who have lost everything. Humanitarian needs are acute, while access to the people who need help remains a major challenge. Even when the conflict ends, rebuilding Syria will take generations. The level of destruction of infrastructure, contamination by explosive devices—an unprecedented level in the history of mine clearance—and the scale of population displacement pose enormous challenges.

    Silver Spring, Maryland—After a decade of war, continuous bombing and shelling in populated areas have had appalling humanitarian consequences: thousands of deaths and life-changing injuries, psychological trauma, families torn apart, forced displacement, destruction of essential infrastructure like hospitals, schools, water lines, and bridges, and ever worsening poverty. Humanity & Inclusion is working in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt with Syrians who have lost everything and need humanitarian aid to survive.

    At least one-third of homes in Syria are damaged or destroyed. Major cities like Raqqa, Aleppo and Homs have been largely destroyed by extensive and intense use of explosive weapons. 80% of the city of Raqqa was destroyed in 2017. Massive, continuous bombing and shelling has left millions of people without homes and forced them to flee. 

    Explosive pollution

    The level of contamination is unprecedented in the history of mine clearance: contamination from unexploded ordnance, such as bombs, rockets and mortars that did not explode on impact, and other explosive hazards such as landmines and booby traps, is so severe that it will take generations to make Syria safe. 11.5 million people are currently living in areas contaminated by explosive hazards.

    "Syria is a special case in terms of contamination for two reasons,” says Emmanuel Savage, Director of Armed Violence Reduction at Humanity & Inclusion. “After a decade of conflict, Syrian soil is contaminated by a complete spectrum of explosive weapons including unexploded bombs, explosive remnants and booby traps, and improvised mines. The second reason lies in the type of areas affected: mostly urban areas. We know from experience that explosive remnants in urban areas are particularly difficult to clear, amid thousands of tons of rubble. We also have to think about how to support individuals. Syrians have experienced the horrors of war, and they need physical and psychological support. Physical trauma such as amputations, brain and spinal cord injuries, but also psychological trauma need specific care. I think it will take at least two generations to rebuild Syria."

    Contamination with explosive remnants of war is one of the significant obstacles preventing the safe return of refugees and displaced persons in Syria. It will also be a major obstacle to rebuilding Syria, its economy and social fabric. Rebuilding cities and infrastructure in Syria will require complex and expensive clearance operations.

    "Massive bombing and shelling of cities is a deadly cocktail for civilians," says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. "The human suffering caused by bombing ​population centers must stop. In Syria, but also Iraq and Yemen, we witness the disastrous consequences for civilians over and over. Decisive ​policy victories against landmines (1997) and cluster munitions (2008) give us hope—we have a historic opportunity to clearly say ‘stop’ to the bombing of ​places where populations are concentrated. The U.S. and other States must commit to the current diplomatic process for an international agreement against the use of explosive weapons ​where civilians live. ​We must all recognize the indiscriminate human suffering caused when explosive weapons are deployed in populated areas, as well as the lasting effects. Older principles of international humanitarian law do not adequately address this challenge."

    Acute humanitarian needs

    As violence continues across Syria, over 13 million people need humanitarian assistance—more than 6 million of whom are children. Access to basic services (health, food, clean water, shelter, etc.) remains an absolute priority.

    Within Syria, 6.7 million people are displaced—many of whom have moved multiples times. This is the largest internally displaced population in the world. Nearly a quarter of people have disabilities—close to double the global average. 5.6 million Syrians are refugees in neighboring countries and heavily rely on humanitarian aid.

    The current humanitarian crisis is aggravated by an acute economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, making an already severe situation worse. Humanitarians struggle to access all communities in need and face mounting security risks:  in 2020, there were 65 recorded attacks on aid workers, nearly half of those attacked were killed. It is estimated that there have been at least 100,000 COVID-19 cases in Government of Syria-controlled territory alone.

    As health infrastructure has been destroyed by bombing, health services are unable to cope with this additional health crisis. Only half of hospitals and primary healthcare centers across Syria are fully functional.

    Key Statistics

    • 13 million-plus people need humanitarian assistance, more than 6 million of whom are children
    • 6.7 million people are displaced inside the country – often multiple times. This is the largest internally displaced population in the world
    • Nearly 1/4 of people have disabilities, which is nearly double the global average
    • 11.5 million people live in areas contaminated by explosive hazards
    • 5.6 million Syrians refugees living in neighboring countries
    • 1.8 million Syrians have been helped by Humanity & Inclusion in 6 countries since 2012

    Humanity & Inclusion experts available for comment

    • Amy Rodgers, Humanitarian Policy Coordinator
    • Federico Dessi, Regional Director of the Middle East Programs
    • Caroline Duconseille, Country Manager in Lebanon
    • Rosanna Rosengren-Klitgaart, Country Manager in Jordan    

    Relevant Humanity & Inclusion reports on the impact of explosive weapons

    1. The use of explosive weapons in populated area: it is time to act, 2018, Briefing paper
    2. The Waiting List. Addressing the immediate and long-term needs of victims of explosive weapons in Syria, 2019, Report
    3. The Long-Term Impact of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in Yemen, 2020, Study.
    4. A Persistent Danger: Unexploded Ordnance in Populated Areas, 2020, Briefing Paper
    5. Everywhere the bombing followed us, 2017, Report

    These reports are being used to inform the ongoing international negotiations between states towards a political declaration to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

    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 39 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, 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 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2011. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.

  • 35 Aid agencies warn of further irreversible impact, marking 10 years of Syrian conflict

    March 11, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    Thirty-five of the leading aid agencies have joined together to warn of the suffering and increased, irreversible, damage if the growing humanitarian needs in Syria are not met and a political solution is not found. The 35 agencies have highlighted that a decade since the outset of the conflict, living conditions for many Syrians are worse than ever. The statement reads: 

    “Monday March 15th will mark 10 years since the onset of the crisis in Syria. A decade of conflict in Syria risks creating further irreversible impact to millions of displaced civilians and on the region unless world powers use all their influence to stop the crisis. There continues to be violence and indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure.

    Inside Syria over 80% of people are living in poverty and food insecurity levels are at a record high. Over 12.4 million people are food insecure and a further 1.8 million are at risk. 12.2 million Syrians lack regular access to clean water and 2.4 million children are currently out of school. The COVID-19 global pandemic has only exacerbated the human suffering. Vital infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, markets, homes and roads have been damaged or destroyed throughout the conflict. Many that are still standing have become shelters for those displaced by the conflict. Syrians are also facing rising inflation as a result of the declining value of the Syrian Pound, widespread unemployment, and increasingly common fuel shortages. Basic goods are no longer affordable for many, forcing families to reduce the amount of meals they put on the table or trade what little food they do have for medicine.

    The protracted displacement crisis as a result of the Syrian conflict is the worst since the Second World War. 5.6 million Syrians remain displaced in neighboring countries, of which 2.5 million are children. 6.2 million remain internally displaced across different parts of Syria. 

    In the neighboring countries, 5.5 million Syrian refugees and 4.8 million impacted host community members are in need of humanitarian assistance, with COVID-19 increasing poverty and risk of sexual-gender based violence. Most have little legal protections and few livelihood opportunities. Nearly 580,000 Syrian refugees are in need of resettlement, less than 2% have had their cases submitted last year and far more than the resettlement spaces available. The UN is warning that there are record low levels of resettlement.

    We call on the international community to step up its aid to Syrians across the country and in refugee-hosting countries and recognize its responsibility to support refugees. Cross-border access into Syria must be maintained, and humanitarian access within the country must also be strengthened. The EU-hosted Brussels V March ministerial conference on March 29th-30th is the best opportunity for the world to show it has not forgotten about Syria and to act to end the growing suffering. We also call on governments with influence over the warring parties to use their pressure to seek an end to this brutal conflict and spare millions more Syrians from the violence. It is essential that we invest both in urgent humanitarian needs and long-term development to help build resilience well into the future. We must allow Syrians to live a better life where income-generating opportunities, repaired homes, functioning public infrastructure, clean water, basic services, and hope for the future are existent and accessible to all - otherwise the impact of a decade of conflict will be irreversible”.


    Signed by:

    • ACT Alliance
    • Action Against Hunger
    • Basmeh & Zeitooneh Relief & Development
    • Cadus e.V.
    • CAFOD
    • CARE International
    • Caritas Germany
    • Center for Civil Society and Democracy
    • Christian Aid
    • Diakonie Katasrophenhilfe
    • Dorcas
    • Hurras Network
    • Humanity & Inclusion
    • humedica international aid
    • International Medical Corps
    • International Rescue Committee
    • Médecins du Monde
    • MercyCorps
    • Orange Organization
    • Norwegian People’s Aid
    • Norwegian Refugee Council
    • Peace Winds Japan
    • People In Need
    • Right To Play
    • Save The Children 
    • SAMS
    • Solidarités International
    • Syria Relief
    • Syria Relief & Development
    • Terre des Hommes
    • Terre des Hommes Italia
    • Trócaire
    • WeWorld-GVC
    • War Child
    • World Vision


    Additional references

    Data on poverty via ICRC,

    Data on food insecurity via World Food Programme,

    Data on access to water via UNICEF,

    Data on education via UNICEF,

    Data on scale of the displacement via UNHCR,

    Data on refugees via Unicef and 3RP,

    Data on internally displaced people via UNHCR,

  • Countries debate draft political declaration to protect civilians from bombing in populated areas

    March 03, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    Devastated cities in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and beyond; thousands of families unable to return home because of destruction and explosive contamination; lives shattered by death and disabling injuries… States must urgently resolve the problem of bombing in populated areas.  

    Silver Spring, MD—States meet March 3-5, to addresses the well-documented civilian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and to continue critical work toward a new political declaration protecting civilians from this practice. The negotiations resume online after months of interruption due to COVID-19.

    This Ireland-led process started in October 2019. The latest draft (Jan. 29) of the political declaration is available to read online with the title “Draft Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences that can arise from the use of Explosive Weapons with Wide Area Effects in Populated Areas.” More than 70 States are involved in drafting the international agreement. States will meet again in the spring in Geneva to negotiate the final text—the last chapter before the international agreement will be opened for signature at a subsequent conference in 2021.

    Humanity & Inclusion calls on States to actively participate and to support a strong agreement to guarantee civilians’ protection against urban bombings.

    Proposed text doesn’t go far enough

    The international agreement would bring undeniable progress for the protection of civilians in modern conflict. Proposed text for the international agreement to address the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is circulating among State’s delegations. Text improvements are still needed:

    • Civilian harm and suffering. The text should clearly describe and acknowledge the civilian harm and suffering that result from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. When explosive weapons are used in populated areas, 90% of victims are civilians. The text must also recognize the long-term humanitarian impact of bombing in populated areas: Destruction of vital infrastructure, long-term displacement, contamination of land by explosive remnants…
    • Systematic harm on civilians. The draft text states that the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas “can” have devastating impacts on civilians. The use of the word “can” is misleading: Evidence shows that these weapons always impact civilians when used in cities. This is why ICRC and the UN-General Secretary asked States to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. Therefore, the political declaration must call for an end to the use of explosive weapons with wide-areas effect - the most destructive weapons - in populated areas.
    • Wide-area effects. The draft declaration relates to explosive weapons with wide area effects but does not sufficiently explain the characteristics of these weapons: Many explosive weapons with wide-area effects used in urban warfare were originally designed for open battlefields. Heavy bombs and inaccurate weapons put entire neighborhoods at risk, multiple rocket systems simultaneously fire over a wide area, munitions produce large blast and fragmentation effects...
    • Victim assistance. Humanity & Inclusion appreciates that victim assistance is part of the political declaration. But the commitment to assist victims should be strengthened and made concrete enough to bring effective relief for those injured, survivors, family members of people killed and/or injured and affected communities.

    Some States underplay danger

    • In their last written contributions to the text of the political declaration some States - notably France, Belgium, Canada, United Kingdom and Germany - related the problem of human suffering caused by explosive weapons to the “indiscriminate use” of these weapons and introduced the modifying “can” language. The text should definitively address the indiscriminate or disproportionate effects of these weapons, especially the effects of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, as it is well documented that their use in populated areas is always indiscriminate.

    • Some States, like the United States or France in their joint paper, prefer to focus on violations by non-States armed groups. This reduces the scope of a political declaration and leaves out the responsibility of all States party to a conflict. The United States' written submission on the draft text from 2020 may be read online here.

    • Humanity & Inclusion considers that there is a minimum standard on which States have to agree on: States should unconditionally support not to use the most destructive weapons in cities, as the United Nations and ICRC urged in 2019.

    During the March 3-5 discussions, any new written submissions from States on the draft will be published on this web page.

    Reaching an international agreement

    Humanity & Inclusion and members of the International Network of Explosive Weapons (INEW) are working with States to convince them to fully support a strong political declaration to end human suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas and to ensure support to the victims of these weapons.

    The draft of the international agreement is at its final stages of negotiation between States, UN agencies, international organizations and civil society.


    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 39 years. Working alongside people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, 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 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2011. Humanity & Inclusion acts and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.


  • HI welcomes temporary freeze of U.S. arms sales to parties to Yemen conflict

    January 28, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion, offered the following comment on the Biden Administration's decision to review weapons sales to parties to the conflict in Yemen

    "This decision is a first step to stop fueling the conflict in Yemen. Humanity & Inclusion encourages the Biden Administration to permanently bar any arms sales that would cause harm to civilian populations.

    “The conflict has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and widespread hunger. Continuous fighting and massive use of explosive weapons in urban areas have had disastrous humanitarian consequences for civilians. March 26th marks the 6th anniversary of the conflict, and Yemen is today the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Arms sales have been a major driving factor of this catastrophe.

    “On this conflict, States must make a choice: selling weapons to belligerents or protecting civilians. Humanity & Inclusion calls on States to make the right decision by definitively suspending their arms sales to parties to the conflict. France, the United Kingdom and any State selling arms to parties to the conflict must acknowledge their responsibility and put an end to their exports. Every day, our teams in Yemen care for people whose lives, bodies and minds have been torn apart by violence.”

    Approximately 20,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen. 20.1 million people—nearly two-thirds of the population—required food assistance in 2020, making Yemen the world’s worst food security crisis (Human Rights Watch, 2021). 80% of Yemen’s population need humanitarian aid, including over 12 million children (UNICEF).

    Humanity & Inclusion's rehabilitation work in Yemen

    • Teams operate in nine health facilities across Sanaa, Aden and Mokha and have supported 30,000 beneficiaries since its recent operations started in late 2015.
    • 34,000 mobility aids have been distributed since 2015. This includes equipment such as crutches, wheelchairs, walking sticks/canes, walkers…
    • Almost 500 people have been provided with braces or artificial limbs
    • Humanity & Inclusion has helped train almost 900 medical professionals

  • Aid agencies make unprecedented and united call for Biden administration to revoke Ansar Allah terrorist designation

    January 25, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    Twenty-one aid organizations working in Yemen remain extremely concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the designation of Ansar Allah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) which came into effect on January 19. This designation comes at a time when famine is a very real threat to a country devastated by six years of conflict, and it must be revoked immediately. Any disruption to lifesaving aid operations and commercial imports of food, fuel, medicine and other essential goods will put millions of lives at risk.

    The four general licenses issued by the U.S. government aim to allow the continued flow of aid to Yemen, seeking to mitigate the impacts of the designations by providing broad authorizations for humanitarian organizations, and some commercial imports. The legal implications of the designation and its impact on our work on the ground are yet to be fully clarified and understood. However, it is already clear that even with licenses and exemptions in place for humanitarian work, the designation will have serious implications, causing delays and uncertainty in our ability to deliver assistance, making it even more difficult to operate in Yemen, particularly in areas controlled by the Ansar Allah de facto authorities which are home to the majority of people in need.

    In addition to the lack of clarity on the humanitarian activities authorized in the licenses, we have grave concerns that the licenses do not cover enough of the commercial sector. This will cause disruptions as the licenses and associated guidance do not provide sufficient guarantees to international banks, shipping companies and suppliers that still face the risk of falling foul of U.S. laws. As a result, many in the commercial sector will likely feel the risk is too high to continue working in Yemen. Yemeni import companies, which bring in 80% to 90% of the country’s food, fuel and medicines, are already warning that they may have to shut down business. Crucially, this will drive up prices of food, fuel and other basic goods, bringing these essential items even further out of people’s reach in a country where 16 million people are close to starvation. Disruptions to the commercial sector, and increased prices will also affect humanitarian programs as aid agencies are reliant on local markets to source supplies and transport goods across the country. For example, further disruptions to fuel imports will escalate a long running fuel crisis in the country and will impact the provision of clean water, public transport, agriculture, powering generators in hospitals and other services supported by the humanitarian response. Aid agencies cannot fill the gap or replace the commercial sector, even with licenses or other exemptions in place: the scale is too immense.

    Yemen’s economy is seeing record levels of inflation and Covid-19 has heavily impacted people’s livelihoods. This designation will likely mean that banks will stop lending money and providing financial services to Yemen as we have seen in other contexts. Yemenis working abroad who send money home to their families will struggle to do so through formal channels. Remittances are a lifeline, with up to one in ten Yemenis relying on them to meet their essential needs. They are the biggest source of foreign exchange into the country, making up to 20% of the country’s GDP. Yemen’s access to foreign currency which is already limited will be further threatened, making it even more difficult to import goods and pushing inflation even higher. Humanitarian organizations are concerned the designation will make it even more difficult to access financial services, to wire money in to Yemen, to make bank transfers, pay staff salaries and to deliver cash programs which make up a significant portion of the food security response in Yemen. Humanitarian exemptions will not be able to shield the country from another major economic shock at a time when people are struggling to make ends meet.

    This is why today we make an unprecedented and united call for the Biden administration to immediately revoke the designation. This echoes the urgent calls made by UN leaders during the January 14, United Nations Security Council briefing on Yemen. Revocation is the only effective way to protect Yemeni civilians from the potentially catastrophic humanitarian impact the designation will cause.

    Finally, the designation of Ansar Allah as a terrorist organization will likely hurt UN-led efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, as Martin Griffiths warned in his Security Council briefing. By supporting the UN-led peace process – the only sustainable solution to the crisis in Yemen – the new Biden administration still has the chance to reverse the course of the designation and instead mobilize the warring parties and international community to end the conflict and suffering.


    Action contre la Faim
    CARE International
    Danish Refugee Council
    Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
    Direct Aid
    Global Communities
    HALO Trust
    Handicap International – Humanity & Inclusion
    International Rescue Committee
    Islamic Relief
    Médecins du monde
    Mercy Corps
    Norwegian Refugee Council
    Première Urgence
    Aide Médicale Internationale
    Relief International
    Save the Children
    Search for Common Ground

  • Yemen | HI warns of grave humanitarian consequences following U.S. designation of Ansar Allah (Houthis) as a terrorist organization

    January 12, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    Humanity & Inclusion issued the following comments on January 12, 2021 

    "The United States​' decision to designate de facto authorities in northern Yemen as 'terrorist' groups​ and their leaders as 'terrorists' will worsen an already untenable humanitarian crisis," says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion.

    "The international community must condemn this decision, and in no way echo it in their own designations. We call on​ the newly elected Biden administration to provide clear, applicable and ready-to-use safeguard mechanisms for humanitarian organizations to work in the region​ without interruption. Continuity of critical humanitarian activities ​and many thousands of lives are at risk without a humanitarian exemption. In our efforts to ​save lives by delivering aid and care, humanitarian organizations ​and their staff should not be criminalized."

    "The population's access to basic goods hangs in the balance," adds Caroline Dauber, Head of Humanity & Inclusion's program in Yemen. "Yemen is particularly dependent on imports of essential products such as food, medicines, and fuel, while the country's economy is devastated by almost six years of conflict. The terrorist designations also hamper the work of international organizations, which already face many obstacles to providing aid. They will limit Humanity & Inclusion’s capacity to enter into contact with the de facto authority and to negotiate safe and unimpeded humanitarian access. What’s more, they will limit Humanity & Inclusion's capacity to use the local banking system, pay medical staff, ​and to buy food and oil, which are essential activities ​for humanitarian programs."

    Yemen, where 80% of the population depends on international aid, is already described by the UN as the 'worst humanitarian crisis in the world.' Last November UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned of the "imminent threat of the worst famine the world has seen in decades.”


    Experts available

    Humanity & Inclusion experts are available for comment.
    Contact Mica Bevington | +1 202-290-9264

    Humanity & Inclusion in Yemen 

    Humanity & Inclusion has worked in Yemen since 2000, with a pause in operations between 2012 and 2014. Today, we provide direct services to individuals affected by the ongoing conflict, particularly people with disabilities, through rehabilitation care and psychosocial support at public health facilities in and around Sana’a city. Our teams work to ensure that injured Yemenis and people with disabilities have access to urgent and qualitative rehabilitation services in Aden and Abyan governorates. A June 2020 report on the legacy of explosive weapons in Yemen and how these indiscriminate weapons damage infrastructure & impact civilian lives for decades provides a stark illustration of what civilians endure in 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 39 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 its founding in 1982, Humanity & Inclusion (the new name of 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.”

  • Statement | Response to Jan. 6 violence on Capitol Hill

    January 08, 2021
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    U.S. Executive Director Jeff Meer provided the following statement on the Jan. 6, 2021, mob attack on Capitol Hill.

    Humanity & Inclusion bears witness in more than 55 countries every day to injustice,  inequality, and deprivation of rights. We know too well the consequences when individuals and groups resort to violence, instead of taking part in civil discourse and peaceful political participation. As an organization, we were deeply outraged by the attack this week on the U.S. Capitol. 

    This violent act by thousands of individuals intent on stopping an essential process of democracy—the peaceful transfer of power—reinforces our belief that the will of the people, expressed through democratic means, should never be held hostage by violence. We condemn in the strongest terms the anti-democratic actions of the mob, and emphasize the right of all individuals, no matter their background, to participate freely and peacefully in civil society.

  • Statement | Relocation of thousands of Rohingya refugees to island in the Bay of Bengal

    Authorities in Bangladesh are relocating thousands of Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal. 750,000 Rohingya—including more than 400,000 children—have been refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, since an eruption of violence in Myanmar in August 2017. Gilles Nouzies, Head of Humanity & Inclusion's Asia programs, shares the following statement:

    “Any project to relocate Rohingya refugees from Cox’s Bazar camps to the island of Bhasan Char should only proceed if the United Nations deems the island both habitable and assures the human rights of residents: Rohingyas should be guaranteed the right to free movement, safety, healthcare, education, legal support and livelihoods... Any relocation or repatriation of Rohingya refugees should also be voluntary-based and done with their clear consent.”

  • New USAID award for strengthening physical rehabilitation in health systems

    Humanity & Inclusion is delighted to join the Learning, Acting and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems consortium (ReLAB-HS). Along with consortium partners, we will implement this flagship program that will address the growing global need for physical rehabilitation, including appropriate assistive technology, services. ReLAB-HS is funded by an award from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF).

    ReLab-HS aims to strengthen the development of responsive and sustainable physical rehabilitation services across the lifespan in the communities where they are most needed, as well as building health system governance and employing the use of technology and digital assets to improve physical rehabilitation globally.

    The need for physical rehabilitation services, including assistive technology, is urgent and growing—more than 2.4 billion people worldwide are estimated to benefit from physical rehabilitation services. The proportion of the population over 60 will double in the next 30 years the majority of whom will live with chronic disease. Approximately 150 million children and adolescents experience disabilities, and injuries for people of all ages are becoming more frequent due to conflict, rapid urbanization and motorization. These enormous unmet rehabilitation needs are concentrated amongst the poorest and most vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries and conflict-affected settings.

    This five-year, $39.5 million program will transform the way people think about physical rehabilitation as part of health systems. It will work globally and in a number of low- and middle-income countries with varying levels of physical rehabilitation need and infrastructure. ReLAB-HS presents a genuine opportunity to provide real improvements in the quality of life, functionality and independence for people through simple interventions at the primary care level, and the use of technology to bring physical rehabilitation further into community settings.

    ReLAB-HS will focus on building local and international leadership, crafting local, demand-driven approaches and innovations, and working largely in community and at home settings, implementing real and relevant rehabilitation and policy solutions.

    “Our team at the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit has long focused its expertise to address the chronic consequences of disease, including injuries and other non-communicable diseases, across the lifespan in low- and middle-income countries," said Dr. Abdul Bachani.  

    "Through this program, we’ll not only address global issues head on, but work with international partners in a uniquely talented consortium. We are pleased to receive support from USAID and work towards mainstreaming rehabilitation services within health systems. By making them more effective and accessible, we can improve the overall health and well-being of the broader population." 

    ReLAB-HS will be led through the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA and co-led by the Nossal Institute for Global Health, Australia. Other consortium members include MiracleFeet, Physiopedia, and UCP Wheels for Humanity.

    Humanity & Inclusion looks forward to working in partnership on this program to support the development responsive rehabilitation services that can meet this escalating global challenge.

    More information

    Please contact: [email protected]

    ReLAB-HS Partners


  • Nepal | A celebration and a challenge on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is annually observed on 3rd December to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities and to take action for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.

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  • Born with a physical disability, Amie is now learning to read and write

    Amie loves school and seeing her friends in the classroom, but she struggles to hold her pencil. Born with a physical disability that causes weakness of her limbs and coordination issues, Amie has difficulties using her arms, hands and legs. Now, through modifications made to Amie’s school in Sierra Leone and personalized instruction in the classroom, Amie has the support she needs and is learning to read and write.

    Through one of its many education projects in Sierra Leone, Humanity & Inclusion teamed Amie with Abdul, an itinerant teacher who is trained to work with students with disabilities. Abdul visits Amie at school twice a month and checks in on her at her rural home each week. Working closely with Amie’s teacher and parents, Abdul developed an individual education plan for the spunky 7-year-old. Every month they meet to go over Amie’s progress and make sure she’s receiving the support she needs.

    Amie also happens to attend SLMB Primary School in Mano Junction, Kenema, which is one of the Girls Education Challenge Transition initiative’s model schools that has been outfitted with ramps, accessible toilets, wider doorways, classrooms with larger windows and brighter paint to assist students with low vision to make learning more accessible for students like Amie who are living with disabilities.

    Today, Amie is a confident little girl who is feeling more supported in school and destined to succeed.


  • Philippines | Assisting people in Typhoon Goni’s wake

    Humanity & Inclusion donors continue to help victims of Typhoon Goni, which delivered a serious punch to the Philippines in early November. Teams are distributing temporary shelter kits and providing financial assistance.

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  • New report | Fight to eradicate cluster munitions is far from over

    November 25, 2020
    Contact: Mica Bevington

    Released today, the 2020 Cluster Munition Monitor report reveals that attacks involving cluster munitions continued to occur in Syria in 2019. The Monitor has recorded almost 700 cluster munition attacks in Syria since mid-2012. Globally in 2019, at least 286 people were killed or injured by cluster munition attacks and remnants in a total of nine countries and two territories. Victims are always civilians, says the report.

    Download the report here

    Recent uses in the Armenia-Azerbaijan war (not registered in the Monitor 2020, covering year 2019) show that the fight to eradicate this weapon is far from over. The 2nd Review Conference of the Oslo Convention, which bans cluster munitions, is due to take place online on November 25 to 27. Humanity & Inclusion calls on all states to systematically condemn any use by any party to a conflict, under any circumstances of these barbaric weapons and is requesting all states not yet party to join this live-saving convention.

    “There is a reason why cluster munitions are banned," says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director for Humanity & Inclusion. "Cluster bombs almost exclusively target civilians. They explode in the air and send hundreds of small bomblets over an area the size of a football field. They are indiscriminate weapons. Plus, up to 40% of these bomblets fail to explode on impact, contaminating areas just like landmines.”

    Major findings

    Between July 2019 and July 2020, new uses of cluster munitions were reported in Syria and Libya: At least 11 cluster munition attacks occurred in Syria between August 2019 and July 2020. Since mid-2012, the Monitor has recorded at least 686 cluster munition attacks in the country. In 2019, there were also several instances or allegations of cluster munition use in Libya.

    The Monitor recorded 286 new cluster munition casualties in 2019 globally caused either by attacks using these weapons (221) or as a result of cluster munition remnants (65). It represents a sharp decline from 951 recorded in 2016, mainly due to a change in the Syrian conflict context.

    Victims of cluster munitions are always civilians: According to successive Monitor reports, 99% of cluster munition victims are civilians. The majority of annual casualties in 2019 (80%) were recorded in Syria, as has been the case since 2012. In Syria, 219 casualties of cluster munition attacks and 13 casualties of cluster munition remnants were reported in this country in 2019, knowing that the actual figures are likely to be higher due to limited access and difficulties collecting data.

    "Any new uses should be condemned by States," says Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion’s Advocacy Director. "Only by systematically condemning and stigmatizing their use and calling on all states to join the treaty, will the international community be able to eventually eradicate the use of cluster munitions.”

    In 2019, Iraq had the highest recorded casualties due to cluster munition remnants (20). Victims of cluster munition remnants were also recorded in Yemen (9) and Afghanistan (5). 40 years after the conflict, casualties continue to be recorded in Lao PDR (5). These figures highlight the dramatic consequences of using cluster munitions, which create long-term contamination by explosive remnants and a deadly threat for the population.

    "The Oslo Convention has made great strides in protecting civilians against the scourge of cluster munitions: every year, existing stockpiles are destroyed and significant areas of contaminated land are cleared, and the weapons are increasingly stigmatized," notes Meer. "State Parties have also made a lot of progress with respect to victim assistance, but the countries affected are still finding it difficult to fund necessary services for victims, who all too often live in extremely difficult conditions."

    Up to 40% of cluster munitions do not explode on impact when they are launched during an attack, but remain as active deadly device that can explode any time. In 2019, casualties from such unexploded cluster munition remnants were recorded in 9 countries and two territories: Afghanistan, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Serbia, South Sudan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria, Yemen and Western Sahara.

    Since the Convention came into force on August 1, 2010, 35 State Parties have destroyed 1.5 million cluster munition stockpiles, i.e. a total of 178 million sub-munitions. This represents 99% of all cluster munitions declared by State Parties. In total, 23 states and 3 regions remain contaminated by sub-munition remnants.

    Recent uses by Azerbaijan and Armenia forces

    Recent uses by Azerbaijan and Armenia forces occurred in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They were not registered in the Monitor 2020, which covers 2019. According to Human Rights Watch, Armenian forces either fired or supplied cluster munitions in an attack on Barda city, reportedly killing at least 21 civilians and wounded at least another 70. The Azerbaijan army used cluster munitions in at least four separate incidents.

    These recent uses – and the ones registered in Syria and Libya by the Monitor 2020 – must incite more States to join the Oslo Convention that since 2010 bans the use, production, transfer and storage of cluster munitions. So far, 110 are States parties to the Convention and 13 signatories. Azerbaijan, Armenia and Syria did not sign the Convention yet, also countries like United States Russia and China continue to refuse to join it. The Oslo Convention must become a universal norm.


    More information

    Cluster bombs

    Cluster bombs are weapons containing several hundred mini-bombs called cluster 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 Convention bans the use, storage, transfer, production and sale of cluster munitions, was opened for signature in December 2008. Currently, 123 countries have joined the convention.

    Cluster Munition Monitor

    The 2020 Cluster Munition Monitor report assesses the implementation of the Oslo Convention which bans the use, production, transfer and storage of cluster munitions, for the period from January to December 2019, with information included up to September 2020 where available.