Since 1996, Handicap International has managed the only rehabilitation center in Kandahar, Afghanistan, providing comprehensive services to disabled people. In 2015, the center hosted more than 7,000 patients. On average, 20% of new arrivals have a lower limb amputated as a result of landmines, improvised explosive devices, and other weapons.Read more
The worldwide use of banned explosive weapons such as landmines and cluster bombs increased significantly in 2014 and 2015, largely due to unchecked use in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, and Tunisia. To mark the international day of landmine and cluster munition awareness, April 4, Handicap International is calling on the international community to strongly condemn this practice, and for an immediate end to the use of these weapons.
Banned under international law, these weapons have been used at an alarming rate in recent years. Cluster munitions use is at its highest level since 2010, when the Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force. Handicap International is calling on States and non-State armed groups to immediately end the use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions, as well as their sale, and transfer. Any use of these weapons must be unanimously and systematically condemned.
According to the latest Cluster Munition Monitor report, published in August 2015, cluster munitions were used in five countries between July 2014 and July 2015: Libya, Syria, Sudan, Ukraine, and Yemen—all States which have not signed the treaty. Not since the ban treaty entered into force in 2010, have so many States or non-State actors been involved in the use of cluster munitions. The Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) has also found cluster munitions used on numerous occasions in Yemen and Syria.
In stark contrast, the Cluster Munition Monitor found only two countries impacted by the use of cluster munitions in 2011 and 2012, and three in 2013.
79% of victims are civilians
The latest Landmine Monitor report, published in November 2015, found an alarming and “significant increase” in the use of anti-personnel mines and improvised explosive devices by non-State armed groups in ten countries: Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Yemen. The last time the Monitor reported use of these weapons in ten or more countries was 2006.
The vast majority of casualties of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions are civilians—79% of reported casualties.
“The repeated use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions reveals a total disregard for civilian lives and, in some cases, a deliberate intention to target them,” says Emmanuel Sauvage, the organization's anti-mine action regional coordinator, based in Amman, Jordan. “Cluster munitions kill and main during an attack. They also leave explosive remnants behind that function like anti-personnel mines and can cause casualties long after a conflict has ended.”
Yemen is a particularly revealing example. For several months, explosive weapons have been used by all parties to the conflict on a massive scale in populated areas. Anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions have been deployed regularly. In May 2015, Human Rights Watch, for example, confirmed the use of cluster munitions in the north of the governorate of Saada, close to the border with Saudi Arabia. Cluster munitions landed less than 600 meters from several dozen homes. Anti-personnel mines were also used on several occasions this summer. In total, since March 2015, Human Rights Watch has recorded 15 incidents involving six types of cluster munitions in at least five of Yemen’s 21 governorates: Amran, Hajja, Hodaida, Saada, and Sanaa.
Handicap International is calling on States and non-State armed groups to immediately end the use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions, their sale and transfer, to strongly condemn their use under any circumstances and, when they are party to a conflict, to apply pressure on their allies not to use these weapons.
Sayed is lying on his bed, playing with a helicopter, at the Kandahar rehabilitation center in Afghanistan. Although his father, Mohammad, shows a lot of affection towards his child, his words are more guarded: “Sayed used to play a lot with other children and his brothers and sisters, but the accident had a big impact on his life, and ours.”Read more
Already present in the field, Handicap International’s teams are ready to launch an emergency response after a violent 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan and Pakistan today, October 26. According to initial estimates, dozens of people have been killed and hundreds have been injured at the epicenter in Badakhshan, a mountainous area of the Hindu Kush, 106 miles from Kabul.Read more
In Afghanistan, Humanity & Inclusion continues to run programs under the operating name "Handicap International."
Humanity & Inclusion in Afghanistan
Working in Afghanistan since 1987, Humanity & Inclusion focuses on helping victims of landmines, preventing future mine accidents, and promoting disability-inclusive development.
Afghanistan has been in a near constant state of conflict and war since the late 1970s and is one of the poorest countries in the world. A large proportion of the population continues to suffer from severe insecurity, poor housing, and limited access to drinking water, electricity, medical care, and employment.
Under these difficult circumstances, disabilities resulting from war or conflict, or endemic poverty, are extremely common.
Our Current Work
Currently, our team in Afghanistan is composed of 166 Afghans and four expatriates who diligently carry out our mission, which is to:
Humanity & Inclusion works to ensure that all action plans resulting from the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention of Cluster Munitions and the Mine Ban Treaty are coordinated with each other.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled (MoLSAMD), this project develops monitoring tools to:
- Evaluate progress throughout the country
- Organize training on victim assistance concepts for local Organizations for People with Disabilities (OPDs or DPOs)
- Provide support aimed at affecting policy related to landmine victim assistance
Humanity & Inclusion's rehabilitation work in Afghanistan is to build the capacity of government and national institutions to guarantee and improve access for people with disabilities to functional rehabilitation care.
Our team works to enhance the quality of rehabilitation service available by:
- Promoting the recognition and inclusion of rehabilitation in the Ministry of Health’s policies on basic care
- Enabling people with disabilities to access rehabilitation services at a dedicated center at the Herat Regional Hospital
- Managing a rehabilitation center in a regional hospital in Kandahar that runs physiotherapy sessions, and produces prostheses, orthoses and mobility aids
- Assisting rehabilitation centers in developing new medical techniques
This project also oversees seven community health centers and provides technical and financial support to local hospitals by funding certain physiotherapy posts and training medical staff.
Supporting Local Disability Rights Organizations
Humanity & Inclusion supports local Organization for People with Disabilities (OPDs or DPOs) by connecting them with potential partners, both locally and internationally.
The organization also amplifies their advocacy by helping OPDs or DPOs get their needs addressed by local political leaders.
Our Past Work
Humanity & Inclusion has been in Afghanistan for 33 year, fostering a culture of dignity, access, and inclusion for ALL people with disabilities and who are vulnerable. Our work continues to evolve to meet the dynamic needs of the communities where we serve.
Read on to learn more about our past work in Afghanistan and consider investing in our future
Database and Project Management
Humanity & Inclusion implemented this project in Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to improve the quality of project management through use of an open source software developed for French NGOs.