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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


  • Next President: Make World Safer from Landmines & Cluster Munitions

    On October 26, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) issued recommendations for the next U.S. President, demanding a reversal of changes made in the past three years that have moved the United States further from support of international agreements banning antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions.

    Review the USCBL - USCMC policy memo here

    "The United States is out of step with its allies and the broader global consensus to ban landmines and cluster munitions. The election provides an opportunity for whoever is President in 2021 to reset U.S. policy and finally join the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions," said Jeff Meer, Steering Committee Chair for USCBL-USCMC and U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion.

    The recent flare up of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and international condemnation of the use of cluster munitions there has reminded the global community that these indiscriminate weapons are a danger to civilians and not yet weapons of the past. U.S. efforts to negotiate a resolution to the conflict would be aided if Washington could legitimately echo these concerns.

    In 2017, the current administration reversed a policy that would have barred the use of most cluster munitions in the U.S. stockpile. The U.S. has not used cluster munitions in more than a decade.

    Learn about cluster munitions

    Cluster munitions have been banned because of their widespread indiscriminate effect and long-lasting danger to civilians. Cluster munitions typically explode in the air and send dozens, even hundreds, of small bomblets over an area the size of a football field. These cluster submunitions often fail to explode on initial impact, leaving duds that act like landmines. 

    In the memorandum, the campaign also highlighted changes made this January to U.S. policy that would allow for use of victim-activated antipersonnel landmines anywhere in the world, instead of restricted to the Korean peninsula. The United States has not used antipersonnel 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 forswear all antipersonnel mines under the Mine Ban Treaty.

    Learn about landmines

    Within the first 100 days of the next administration, the campaign recommends that the President take the following steps:

    • Ban the use, production, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.
      Immediately issue a policy commitment against using antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.
    • Accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Declare America’s intent to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
    • Lay out an accelerated timeline for the destruction of stockpiled landmines and cluster munitions
      Provide concrete plans and mechanisms for public reporting on progress destroying the stockpiles of these indiscriminate weapons.

    U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition

    The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines-U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition is the U.S. affiliate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the global Cluster Munition Coalition. The civil society coalition works to end the suffering caused by landmines and cluster munitions, which cause unacceptable harm to civilians both at their time of deployment and for decades after.


  • Philippines | Teams will assess people’s needs in the wake of Typhoon Goni / Rolly

    Typhoon Goni, known locally as Typhoon Rolly, made landfall in the eastern Philippines on Sunday, November 1. The most violent typhoon to hit the archipelago this year, Goni has killed at least 16 people and caused extensive damage.

    Humanity & Inclusion has worked in the Philippines since 1985, and set up a five-person-strong team to determine the impact of the storm, supported remotely by other Humanity & Inclusion staff members. The team plans to visit several provinces - Albay and Sorsogon – where it will assess humanitarian needs and access issues. This unit’s work will help to determine our response options.

    The most powerful typhoon so far this year, Typhoon Goni hit the Philippine coast in Bicol region at around 5 am with winds of over 140 miles per hour, gusting to 174 miles per hour. Wind and rain struck several provinces in the archipelago.

    Damages to homes, roadways, and infrastructure is significant. Some 25 million people live in the worst-affected areas, and roughly 70 million live in regions that are slightly less affected. In these areas, many families already live in highly precarious conditions.

     

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    According to a partner organization of Humanity & Inclusion, at least half of houses in the Catanduanes region have been damaged. Floods have also destroyed bridges and blocked roads. The storm left almost 150 municipalities without power and disrupted water supplies elsewhere. In the province of Catanduanes, Bicol region, communications were only restored on Monday and authorities have warned of food shortages.

    Over the coming hours and days, Humanity & Inclusion’s teams and partners will assess the extent of the damage and the needs of the most vulnerable families before deciding on what action to take.

    PHIL_typhon_Goni_Rolly_02.jpg

    Caption: The floodwater stills in Oas, Albay © Shiena Realuyo Base

    About Humanity & Inclusion's work in the Philippines

    Our teams have worked in the Philippines since 1985, delivering aid and services to the most vulnerable victims of natural disasters and running ongoing disaster-risk reduction programs to help people with disabilities prepare for future disasters.

    As one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, Humanity & Inclusion's Philippines team focuses its work on the country's poorest areas—where the population is most exposed to disasters and conflicts and where public services are lacking. Typhoons and their side-effects, including landslides, storm surges and flash floods, are the most frequent and devastating natural disasters. In the past 20 years, natural disasters have killed more than 31,000 and affected more than 98 million people in the Philippines. Humanity & Inclusion was one of the key humanitarian agencies responding to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013-2014.

     

    Image details  |  Location: Zone 4, Lanigay, Polangui, Albay; Copyright: Marie Cris Sauler


  • published Going great lengths for Beirut in News 2020-10-30 07:00:09 -0400

    Going great lengths for Beirut

    James Dugan lives in Chicago, and raised $2,220 for the emergency response in Beirut by organizing and running a 10K in August. Humanity & Inclusion is grateful to James (pictured above & below) and his fellow runners for each step they took to send care & aid to the victims of the Aug. 4 explosions. He took time recently to share his story:

    When the explosion in Beirut happened, I felt like we had to help out. For the past few weeks, my friends and I had been planning a 10K charity race—in part to motivate a friend recovering from an ACL injury, and also to break outside again, after so many other runs had been cancelled due to Covid. I found out about Humanity & Inclusion’s work in Beirut from a New York Times article providing information about different ways to help, and the mission of HI just struck me as the right way to go. 

    I had posted information about the race, due to happen on Aug. 22, on Facebook and Instagram, and a lot of people jumped at the opportunity to challenge themselves. People all over the US and Canada wanted to run. 

    We started a Facebook group where everyone could post their training runs, ask for advice, or share their favorite running songs. The positivity in that group was one of my favorite parts of the whole process. Most of the people running were friends of mine in Chicago, but we also had people in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New York, and Canada who had never met each other being so supportive and encouraging. 

    We obviously couldn’t all run together due to Covid, so we decided on a universal start time: 9am Central. That way, we would all at least be running at the time. For those of us running in Chicago, we picked a landmark statue called “Self-Portrait”, created by Keith Haring. It’s on the lake shore, and runners had to incorporate in some way during the run. One of the runners, Jackie, made custom tie-dyed masks for a lot of us. 

    The day of the race was great! Since we all had to use the same landmark, you ended up seeing people along the run even though everyone was free to pick their own route. My friend Andy just ran to the statue and completed over four miles worth of laps around it.

    The runners found another cool way of raising money, which was by selling off spots on their running playlists. For a donation of $3-$5, anyone could pick a song that you had to listen to on your run. I finished a little behind the pace I wanted, coming in at 1:03:34, but it still felt like we really accomplished something. It was nice to feel connected to a community again in a time where that is rare. An added bonus? My friend’s ACL turned out to be well healed for the run!James_1.jpg

    James_2.jpg


  • Next President Can Swiftly Make World Safer from Landmines and Cluster Munitions

    October 26, 2020
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    (Washington, DC, October 26, 2020) Demanding a reversal of changes made in the past three years that have moved the United States further from support of international agreements banning antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions, the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition (USCBL-USCMC) issued recommendations today for the president who will be elected next month.

    Review the USCBL - USCMC policy memo here

    "The United States is out of step with its allies and the broader global consensus to ban landmines and cluster munitions. The election provides an opportunity for whoever is President in 2021 to reset U.S. policy and finally join the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions," said Jeff Meer, Steering Committee Chair for USCBL-USCMC and U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion.

    The recent flare up of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and international condemnation of the use of cluster munitions there has reminded the global community that these indiscriminate weapons are a danger to civilians and not yet weapons of the past. U.S. efforts to negotiate a resolution to the conflict would be aided if Washington could legitimately echo these concerns.

    In 2017, the current administration reversed a policy that would have barred the use of most cluster munitions in the U.S. stockpile. The U.S. has not used cluster munitions in more than a decade.

    Cluster munitions have been banned because of their widespread indiscriminate effect and long-lasting danger to civilians. Cluster munitions typically explode in the air and send dozens, even hundreds, of small bomblets over an area the size of a football field. These cluster submunitions often fail to explode on initial impact, leaving duds that act like landmines. 

    In the memorandum, the campaign also highlighted changes made this January to U.S. policy that would allow for use of victim-activated antipersonnel landmines anywhere in the world, instead of restricted to the Korean peninsula. The United States has not used antipersonnel 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 antipersonnel mines under the Mine Ban Treaty.

    Within the first 100 days of the next administration, the campaign recommends that the President take the following steps:

    • Ban the use, production, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.
      Immediately issue a policy commitment against using antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.
    • Accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Declare America’s intent to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
    • Lay out an accelerated timeline for the destruction of stockpiled landmines and cluster munitions
      Provide concrete plans and mechanisms for public reporting on progress destroying the stockpiles of these indiscriminate weapons.


    U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines-U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition

    The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines-U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition is the U.S. affiliate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the global Cluster Munition Coalition. The civil society coalition works to end the suffering caused by landmines and cluster munitions, which cause unacceptable harm to civilians both at their time of deployment and for decades after.

    Media notes

    Experts available from organizations, including Humanity & Inclusion, Human Rights Watch, Legacies of War:

    Jeff Abramson
    Coordinator, U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition
    [email protected] | 646-527-5793

    Mica Bevington
    U.S. Director of Marketing and Communications, Humanity & Inclusion
    [email protected] | 202-290-9264

    Steve Goose
    Director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch
    [email protected] | 540-630-3011

    Sera Koulabdara
    Executive Director, Legacies of War
    [email protected] | 614-753-3725


  • Venezuela | Assisting refugees affected by Covid-19 in Colombia

    As part of its response to the Covid-19 crisis, Humanity & Inclusion is providing support to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, where one million people have been infected by the virus. The impact of the epidemic has been dramatic.

    Covid-19 has struck more than 980,000 people in Colombia. Many older people fear starvation or serious illness in a country where little or no provision is made for social assistance, pensions, and other welfare benefits. In recent months, the lockdown has seriously impacted the four million Venezuelans living in Colombia, who can no longer earn a living from the informal economy. In Colombia, the severe economic crisis caused by the epidemic has increased the precariousness of Venezuelan refugees who have lost their jobs and homes, and are unable to access food, drinking water, electricity, and the like.
     
    The security situation is also extremely tense: “Armed groups have used the lockdown to tighten their grip over certain territories where the authorities have a weak hold," says Debir Valdelamar, Deputy Project Manager for Humanity & Inclusion in Colombia. "They have cast themselves as ‘Covid crisis controllers', sowing terror, asserting their authority, imposing curfews, carrying out attacks against people who meet without authorization, and so on."

    Humanity & Inclusion has assisted Venezuelan refugees since April 2019, and adapted its response to the pandemic. With support from ECHO, the organization is currently allocating financial support on a six-month basis to more than 200 Venezuelan refugee families identified as highly vulnerable. Most use the money to pay for rent, food or healthcare.

    Humanity & Inclusion has also handed out food and hygiene kits containing soap, hand sanitizer, and other items to help keep the virus at bay. Teams have conducted awareness sessions on Covid-19, which included 12 videos translated into Venezuelan and Colombian sign language, and a prevention guide, to inform the most vulnerable individuals on prevention measures, and Covid symptoms.

    “The first lockdown in Colombia was national. Regional authorities now decide on local prevention measures, which vary from one department to another," explains Valdelamar. "Many indigenous communities are still in full lockdown, or can no longer work or earn money, so our food distributions are extremely welcome. In November, we plan to distribute food and hygiene kits to 3,000 families."

    Humanity & Inclusion also continues to provide psychological support and rehabilitation care to mine victims in the departments of Cauca, Meta, Antioquia, Caqueta, and Nariño.

    Snapshot of Humanity & Inclusion's response in Colombia since March 2020

    • In April 2020, Humanity & Inclusion distributed 80 food kits, one per family, to people living in the departments of Cauca and Nariño, and more than 200 hygiene kits.
    • Humanity & Inclusion has trained members of national NGOs to include people with disabilities in their projects.
    • Teams have conducted awareness sessions on Covid-19, which included 12 videos translated into Venezuelan and Colombian sign language and a prevention guide to inform the most vulnerable on prevention measures, Covid symptoms, and so on. (Ongoing)
    • Humanity & Inclusion has also provided remote psychological support to more than 150 Venezuelan refugees in the Maicao refugee center in northern Colombia, and to people arriving in the cities of Bogota, Medellín, and Baranquilla. Humanity & Inclusion psychologists held WhatsApp sessions with those who needed them.
    • Lastly, Humanity & Inclusion has also enabled 112 Venezuelan refugee families identified by a "vulnerability" survey to benefit from a small, one-off cash transfer.
    • We also organized a series of virtual conferences on psychological first aid for carers and family members of people with disabilities.


    Photo caption: Migrant Reception Center, Maicao, northern Colombia.
    © Coalición LACRMD


  • Uganda | 3D-printed face shields protect COVID-19 first responders

    In Uganda, Humanity & Inclusion has adapted its 3D-printing technology, normally used to produce orthotics as part of physical rehabilitation, to create protective face shields for health professionals on the front lines of the pandemic.

    Read more

  • Lebanon | Three months after blast, major humanitarian challenges remain

    Humanity & Inclusion continues its response to humanitarian needs, following the explosion on August 4, in Lebanon. The Beirut explosions killed more than 200 people, injured more than 6,500 others, and caused widespread material damage. The explosions directly affected some 220,000 people living in an estimated 73,000 apartments in 9,100 buildings within 1.8 miles of the epicenter, according to UNHCR.

    The situation is extremely tense. A serious economic crisis has left many in despair. A quarter of Lebanese people now live below the poverty line. Many families cannot afford access to basic services like healthcare, or even buy food. The political situation continues to cause widespread resentment. In this very unstable environment, the COVID pandemic is an additional burden and source of stress.

    Humanity & Inclusion was one of the first NGOs to assist victims of the explosion by supplying rehabilitation care and mobility aids. Humanity & Inclusion now providing follow-up care to casualties with long-term rehabilitation needs: after surgery and primary health care, people with traumatic injuries such as fractures, amputations, brain, peripheral nerve or tendon injuries, or burns, require continued support to recover their functional independence and prevent long-term disabilities. The organization also supplies medical first aid kits to treat light injuries outside already overstretched hospitals.

     

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    Donor support has also extended psychosocial support to people traumatized by the explosion. Damaged homes, a dire economic situation, and political turmoil can cause severe anxiety.

    In the coming month, thanks to donor support, Humanity & Inclusion will:

    • support reconstruction efforts and ensure they are accessible to people with disabilities or reduced mobility by sharing its expertise with other NGOs. For example, Humanity & Inclusion will provide technical assistance to teams from other NGO (NRC Shelter) to ensure rehabilitated sites and temporary relocation centres are safe and accessible for people with pre-existing and newly acquired disabilities. Humanity & Inclusion will also support CAMEALEON, an NGO-led network co-managed by the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam and Solidarités International, so that teams have the tools and knowledge to include people with disabilities in their impact assessments and monitoring.
    • extend its advocacy and awareness-raising efforts on disability mainstreaming in some working groups with Norwegian Refugee Council and International Rescue Committee as entry points, to promote systematic identification of needs of vulnerable people.
    • alongside local partner Mousawat, provide people with disabilities or injuries including blast-related injuries and disabilities with access to specialized services based on HI's mental health psychosocial project and rehabilitation. Mental health services and support for the most vulnerable increase functional independence and help prevent long-term mental illness.
    • identify the mental health needs of every individual in a household, alongside other urgent needs—medical, financial, hygiene, food/nutritional, rehabilitation, and continuity of care. Teams will then refer them for assistance. External referrals will be made to other humanitarian actors, with internal referrals for psychosocial support. Humanity & Inclusion will train Mousawat and its consortium partners to adapt their support to older people or people with disabilities or limited mobility, and provide home-based services via mobile teams for hard-to-reach populations potentially left out of the mainstream response. Vulnerable people will be prioritized for referral and assistance.

     

    Become a monthly donorAs a "First Responder," or monthly donor, your sustaining gifts can bring swift care and aid to people injured in natural disasters or other emergencies, and give teams the critical funds to provide long-term care and to support critical development projects. Your donation is charged to your credit or debit card each month. We will send you a receipt for your first gift, as well as a tax letter every January.

     

     


  • COVID-19 | Efforts to mitigate pandemic continue

    Covid-19 has taken aim at more that 40 million people (as of Oct. 19) worldwide, leaving a wake of illness, hunger, and poverty in its wake. Humanity & Inclusion teams continue their efforts to stem the tide and support people impacted by the virus.

    The Covid-19 epidemic continues to spread at a rapid rate, with more than 10 million people affected in the countries where Humanity & Inclusion works. More than 1.1 million people have died.

    Since March, Humanity & Inclusion's teams have implemented more than 160 projects to assist people affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This critical work has happened in places like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Myanmar. These projects focus on healthcare and socio-economic assistance.

    "Our teams have been visiting communities to identify the needs of the most vulnerable people, including older and disabled people, and single women with children,” explains Fanny Mraz, Emergency Operations Manager for Humanity & Inclusion. “We provide direct assistance or refer them to other organizations that provide adapted services, such as care for people contaminated by COVID-19. Our work includes distributing hygiene kits, hand sanitizer, and masks, organizing risk information sessions on contamination, hygiene measures, etc. We also provide psychosocial support to health staff and people affected by this epidemic and organize rehabilitation sessions for patients who need them. The crisis has had a dramatic socio-economic impact on people in some countries. Our teams distribute food where necessary and provide financial support so that the most vulnerable families can meet their basic needs for food, access to health care, and the like."

    The emergency stage continues. “Due to the still-alarming situation in several countries, such as India, where 6 million people have been contaminated, Colombia, Peru, Bangladesh, Iraq, etc, we have to be vigilant,” Mraz adds. “There have been worrying developments in other countries, including Myanmar and Jordan.

    Poverty and food insecurity are horrific consequences of the epidemic. People in 25 countries are set to face devastating levels of hunger in the coming months due to the fallout from the pandemic, according to a joint report by the World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization, the number of acute food insecure people could almost double from an estimated 149 million pre-Covid-19 to 270 million before the end of 2020.

    Humanity & Inclusion's teams are closely monitoring the situation and continuously adapting their activities.


  • Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict | Assessing needs of displaced people

    Fanny Mraz, Director of Emergency Operations at Humanity & Inclusion, explained the humanitarian needs assessment launched by the organization on October 14.

    What is Humanity & Inclusion doing?

    Humanity & Inclusion launched a humanitarian needs assessment of the conflict-affected population, particularly in the areas of psychological support, physical rehabilitation, and access to essential items.

    How have civilians been affected?

    According to reliable sources, at least 300 soldiers and 50 civilians have been killed since the start of the conflict. Half the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, some 75,000 people, are reported to have been displaced, of whom 90% are women and children. Many children are still trapped by the fighting. Terrified civilians are having to shelter in basements. 

    What exactly is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

    Fighting broke out between the two regular armies of Armenia and Azerbaijan over a disputed territory on September 27. The conflict spread rapidly. Urban areas have been heavily bombed and shelled, including Stepanakert, the largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh with a population of 55,000, and Ganja, the second-largest city in Azerbaijan, 62 miles further east, which has a population of 350,000. Cluster munitions, on which HI obtained a ban under the Oslo Convention in 2008, have been used in Stepanakert.

    If the conflict continues to escalate, it could have disastrous humanitarian consequences for civilians.

     

    Image © Google Maps, South Caucasus


  • Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict: torrent of bombs in populated areas must stop

    October 08, 2020
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Silver Spring, MD—Humanity & Inclusion is deeply concerned about civilian suffering in the Armenia-Azerbaijan clash over Nagorno-Karabakh. As violence rapidly escalates, both sides are using heavy explosive weapons—including banned cluster munitions—in populated areas, putting the lives of civilians in grave danger. Humanity & Inclusion supports the international call for a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh and call on states to develop a strong international agreement against bombing in populated areas in 2021.

    Since September 27th, both parties have carried out direct attacks on urban targets. A rise in civilian casualties has been inevitable: Azeri artillery fell on Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh's capital. In response, Armenian artillery shelled Ganja, Azerbaijan's second largest city, home to 330,000 people. Civilian casualties have been reported in high numbers in the cities of Stepanakert and Ganja. Vital civilian infrastructure has been destroyed and families have fled.

    “These recent battles imperil countless thousands with heavy bombs in the mix,” says Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion. “When exploding weapons are used in populated areas, not only do many people suffer immediately, but the bombs destroy critical infrastructure—hospitals, water treatment systems and schools—on which they depend daily.

    “Many heavy explosive weapons used in urban warfare today were originally designed for open battlefields. They are inaccurate weapons putting entire neighborhoods at risk, multiple rocket systems simultaneously firing over a wide-area, munitions producing large blasts and fragmentation effects... This practice has major humanitarian consequences and it must be stopped. The fact that cluster munitions, one of the most pernicious of weapons and banned by the Oslo Treaty, are being used in the conflict only heightens the risks to civilians caught in the middle." 

    Such bombings force civilians to abandon all their belonging and to flee to safer areas. Already, a reported 50% of Karabakh's population and 90% of women and children —70,000 to 75,000 people — have been displaced, according to the Karabakh rights ombudsman Artak Beglaryan, who was quoted by the AFP news agency. Previous Humanity & Inclusion reports clearly link displacement and bombings.

    “We fear that if the violence brings the region closer to all-out war, there will be long-term humanitarian consequences in the region,” says Humanity & Inclusion Armed Violence Reduction Director Emmanuel Sauvage. “We’d see permanently displaced families, contamination of large zones by explosive remnants, complex injuries and long-term psychological trauma, and a sharp reduction of vital services. Some bombs and other explosives fail to detonate on impact, so even those who manage to escape death or injury from the immediate blast find it next to impossible to remain living near the bomb site. Inevitably even more die or are displaced by the indiscriminate destruction and the dangerous debris.” 

    The BBC reports that 220 people have been confirmed killed since September 27, and states that there are fears both military and civilian casualties are much higher. According to the French NGO ACTED, more than 500 private homes have been completely destroyed or seriously damaged.

    Working toward an international agreement against bombing in urban areas

    Almost a year ago to the day, a diplomatic process began to reach a political declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, a practice that has long-term and deep humanitarian consequences. More than 70 States have been involved in the drafting of this international political declaration.

    “We call on all States to develop a strong international agreement with clear and strong commitments against the use of heavy bombs in towns, cities and other areas that are populated by civilians,” says Anne Héry, Humanity & Inclusion advocacy Director. “This agreement must have concrete effects on the ground by better protecting civilians.”

    "This political process should have the world’s attention,” Meer adds, noting that that U.S. has yet to support the political declaration.

    The draft of the political declaration is at its final negotiation stage between States, UN agencies, international organizations and civil society. The international political declaration will be proposed to States for endorsement during a conference in Dublin next year.

                                                                                  #

    More information

    Previous, relevant reports can be found on our website: https://www.hi-us.org/publications_research_conventional_weapons_ewipa        

    Humanity & Inclusion is a co-founder of INEW, the International Network on Explosive Weapons, and sits on its steering committee.

    Various experts available for comment in Europe and North America
    Contact Mica Bevington | [email protected] | +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 38 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 Award in 2011. Humanity & Inclusion takes action and campaigns in places where “living in dignity” is no easy task.


  • Statement | Use of heavy explosive weapons in towns and cities in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must stop

    October 06, 2020
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

    Inew_logo.png

    INEW Statement
    October 6, 2020

    The use of heavy explosive weapons in the cities of Ganja and Stepanakert, and other towns and populated areas in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is killing and injuring civilians, and destroying vital infrastructure.

    INEW calls on all parties to the conflict to stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in towns, cities and other populated areas due to the high risk of harm to civilians, and amid rising civilian casualties.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross reports that hundreds of homes and infrastructure including hospitals and schools, as well as roads, electricity, gas and communications networks, have been destroyed or damaged by heavy artillery fire and by airborne attacks using missiles forcing families to leave the towns and find shelter.

    Every year tens of thousands of civilians are killed and injured 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. The use of explosive weapons is also one of the main catalysts of forced displacement, as civilians flee for safety. Unexploded ordnance left behind after a conflict has ended further impedes the safe return of civilians.

    The bombing and shelling in these towns and cities highlights the needs for new international standards against the use of heavy explosive weapons in towns and cities. 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 where the effects of the weapon extend beyond the target. When used in cities and towns where there are concentrations of civilians, the risk of harm to civilians is great

    Over 100 countries have recognized the harm caused to civilians from the use of explosive weapons in cities, towns and other populated areas. States have started discussions on the development of new international standards to adopt stronger rules against attacks using heavy explosive weapons in cities, towns and other populated areas, under the leadership of Ireland. INEW calls upon states to include in the elaboration of a political declaration, a commitment to avoid use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.

     

    Humanity & Inclusion comment

    Humanity & Inclusion Disarmament Advocacy Manager, Alma Al Osta reacts:

    “The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is the latest example of how bombing in urban areas affect civilians. As the conflict has escalated, belligerents have used heavy bombs, killing and injuring civilians, and destroying vital infrastructure… We condemn the bombing and shelling – and the use of banned cluster munitions – that have devastating humanitarian impacts on civilians. A strong, international political declaration against bombing in populated areas is urgently needed.”

    About Humanity & Inclusion

    Humanity & Inclusion is a co-founder of INEW, and sits on its steering committee.

    Humanity & Inclusion is an independent international aid organization, working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster for 38 years. 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.”


  • Recycling | Donated artificial limbs adapted to help children

    Volunteer orthopedic specialists in a workshop in Lyon, France, also home to Humanity & Inclusion's global headquarters, are changing the lives of people around the world by reconditioning valuable prosthetic parts donated by people with amputations.

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  • World first | HI drones locate landmines buried underground

    Xavier Depreytere, head of innovation projects at HI, explains why the drone demining project launched by HI in 2018 is a world first.

    Read more


  • published Libya | Care amid the challenges of war in News 2020-09-22 14:49:19 -0400

    Libya | Care amid the challenges of war

    In Libya’s city of Benghazi and the wider district, Humanity & Inclusion provides physical rehabilitation and psychological support in five health centers as well as in the homes of people with disabilities.

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  • Lebanon | Strong steps forward thanks to physical therapy

    A disability can exclude a person from their work or community. Humanity & Inclusion rehabilitation services help people regain mobility and get back into employment and social activities. Since 2019, Humanity & Inclusion physical therapist Rana Abdel Al has worked with persons with disabilities in Lebanon. Among them, many were injured during the war in Syria.

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  • Bombings destroy essential infrastructure and make pandemic response impossible for countries

    While the global pandemic has exacerbated the human suffering caused by bombing in populated areas, it has halted the international negotiations for the adoption of a political declaration on the issue. States gathered online at the discussion "Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare" on September 7, to keep the momentum and revive the diplomatic process.

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  • Bombing populated areas: a disaster for civilians

    The United Nations Security Council discusses the protection of civilians in armed conflict the week of May 20, 2019. A delegation from Humanity & Inclusion is at the United Nations headquarters in New York to convince States to commit themselves against bombing populated areas. Arms Advocacy Manager, Alma Al Osta, is at the helm of the delegation. She took time to explain Humanity & Inclusion's actions:

    Meetings - lots of meetings!

    The Humanity & Inclusion delegation has planned several meetings with state delegations to convince them to commit themselves against bombing populated areas. A few days ago, we addressed them by letter to encourage them to refer to bombing in populated areas as a major problem for the protection of civilians in armed conflict when they speak at the Security Council debate. We also asked them to support the political process initiated by Austria, Ireland and several States in favor of an international political declaration against explosive weapons in populated areas. Humanity & Inclusion has been working for years with States and other NGOs on such a political declaration.

    Civilians front and center

    Bombings in populated areas have disastrous and long-term consequences for civilians--consequences that Humanity & Inclusion confronts daily in places like Libya and Yemen, and among Syrian refugees. At a breakout conference of the Security Council debate on May 23rd, we will report on what we have seen in the field: the suffering of civilians caused by bombings in urban areas. That includes disabling injuries, psychological trauma, destruction of vital civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, population displacement, contamination by explosive remnants...

    Bombing populated areas: 92% of victims are civilians

    Bombing in populated areas has become a common practice in armed conflicts. Civilians are the main victims. According to Action on Armed Violence, more than 42,000 people were killed or injured by explosive weapons of all kinds - bombs, mortars, rockets, etc. - in 2017. When explosive weapons are used in populated areas, 92% of the victims are civilians.

    Protection of civilians

    During armed conflict, those who do not take part in the fighting must not be attacked. They must be spared and protected. The concept of "protection of civilians" thus encompasses the rules of international humanitarian law to protect all those - men, women, children - who do not take part in fighting.

    20 years since the first UN resolution on the protection of civilians

    Twenty years ago, in 1999, the United Nations Security Council noted that civilians had become the main victims of armed conflict and adopted its first resolution on the protection of civilians (Resolution 1265): "Civilians constitute the vast majority of victims of armed conflict and [...] combatants and other armed elements are increasingly targeting them." The same year, the Security Council decided on the first peace keeping mission dedicated to the protection of civilians (Sierra Leone).

     

    Photo: On the 5th and 6th of December 2018, HI co-organized a regional conference in Santiago, the capital of Chile, on protecting civilians from bombing. 25 governments and a dozen civil society organizations and international NGOs attended. The organization raised awareness of this crucial issue and encouraged states to take a stand against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. © HI


  • Mozambique Emergency | March 28 update

    March 28, 2019
    Contact: Mica Bevington
    3019201427

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    Nearly 2 million people in need

    Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique on March 14, killing at least 416 people, injuring more than 1,500, and leaving an estimated 1.85 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

    Providing food relief

    Humanity & Inclusion will distribute World Food Program (WFP) stocks of essential food such as rice, vegetable oil, and beans to 12,000 families. This will provide some relief in the coming weeks as people try to rebuild their lives under very difficult circumstances. The WFP estimates that providing essential food to survivors will cost $150 million over the next three months.

    Flood waters increase risk of disease

    “The risk of communicable diseases has dramatically increased due to stagnant flood water as well as over-crowding in the collective accommodation center, where more than 110,000 displaced people are now staying,” explains Fanny Mraz, Humanity & Inclusion’s emergency director. “There are serious concerns regarding the risk of malaria and cholera outbreaks.”

    To help minimize this risk, Humanity & Inclusion will distribute hygiene kits, which include basic items such as hand and laundry soaps, to 8,000 families.

    Crops ruined due to flooding

    The cyclone caused flooding on a colossal scale. 1.2 million acres of crops have been destroyed. The impact will be felt immediately as the majority of crops were near ready for harvest.

    Water levels are thankfully now lower, but an estimated 1160 sq. miles of land remains submerged.


    Humanity & Inclusion in Mozambique

    Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Mozambique since 1986, and is best known there for our work helping victims of landmines and other explosive ordnance left from the country’s civil war. We ran a large demining operation that wrapped up when the country declared itself mine free in 2015. Most recently, staff worked to promote the rights and social participation of people with disabilities, support civil society to improve the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and prevent the development of disabilities. 

    Learn more about our work in Mozambique.


    Urgent appeal for donations

    Humanity & Inclusion launched a global appeal for donations on Tuesday March 19. Individuals can make secure gifts via www.hi-us.org/mozcyclone (includes links to PayPal donation options).

    Staff in Mozambique available for comment

    Contact Mica Bevington to set up an interview on [email protected]

     

    Photo: Mozambicans walk among flooded fields.


  • Mozambique | Relief efforts increased to help vulnerable survivors

    “Access is the major challenge”

    More than a week after Cyclone Idai hit central Mozambique, the situation remains critical. 

    “More than 17,000 houses, nearly 3,000 classrooms and 40 health centers have been destroyed," explains Marco Tamburro, program director for HI in Mozambique. Beira is a city of more than 500,000 inhabitants and it has been completely devastated. You have to imagine a city like Manchester in the United Kingdom, with huge amounts of debris, waterlogged streets and a communication network that no longer works. Accessing people in need is the major challenge of this rescue operation.”

    According to the Mozambican authorities, Cyclone Idai killed nearly 250 people, but this toll could be much more serious, as many areas have not yet received any relief.

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    Emergency kits

    To coordinate clearance operations, and enable humanitarian aid to be delivered, Humanity & Inclusion's team is assessing the areas of Beira that pose the greatest logistics challenges.

    Among the concerns: "Our office in Beira was partially destroyed," Tamburro notes. 

    Early next week, Humanity & Inclusion's emergency equipment kits will be in position. The first kits are stocked with mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, so that injured people, or people who have lost their walking aids, can move around. Several generators, as well as a logistics kit containing the necessary equipment to install a temporary base for the growing Humanity & Inclusion team will arrive. "We need this equipment to be able to coordinate our work,” he adds. 

    Experts arriving

    At the same time, emergency experts are being deployed to assist the populations most affected by the disaster.

    "We are strengthening our teams to be able to help the most vulnerable survivors. We hope to be able to provide food aid to more than 12,000 families and hygiene kits to more than 500 families. We will also work with all humanitarian actors to ensure that the most vulnerable people are included in the emergency response. When confronted with tens of thousands of people who need help, it is essential to avoid a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, so that older people, people with disabilities, and vulnerable groups receive the specific care they need.”

    Humanity & Inclusion in Mozambique

    Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Mozambique since 1986. Currently, our teams are working to promote the rights and social participation of people with disabilities, support civil society to improve the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and prevent the development of disabilities. 

    Learn more about our work in Mozambique.


    Photo: A family in Beira, Mozambique, surveys the damage around their home, following Cyclone Idai.