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Air strike wreaks devastation on civilians

Explosive weapons

Handicap International strongly condemns the air strike on a funeral hall which killed 140 people and injured 500 in Sanaa, last Saturday. The ongoing bombing of civilians and civil infrastructure must be stopped immediately.

A woman with a leg injury, managed by Handicap International at the Al-Thawra hospital in Sanaa at the beginning of the year

A woman with a leg injury, managed by Handicap International at the Al-Thawra hospital in Sanaa at the beginning of the year | © Handicap International

"This recent air strike, condemned by the United Nations Secretary General, demonstrates a complete disregard for civilian lives,” declares Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations. “Handicap International demands a full investigation into this attack and is once again calling for all parties to the conflict in Yemen to comply with international humanitarian law and immediately stop the bombing of civilians.

In recent months, the organisation has been running a campaign condemning the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, which sadly is common practice in ongoing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Ukraine etc. In 90% of cases the victims of this barbaric practice are civilians.

When used in populated areas, explosive weapons kill and cause serious injury and suffering (burns, open wounds, fractures etc.). They result in disability and psychological trauma. Using weapons in this way leads to mass population displacement and destroys vital infrastructure including houses, schools and hospitals.

During the bombing, some munitions will not explode on impact. These unexploded munitions remain a threat to the civilian population long after a conflict has ended.  The presence of explosive remnants of war makes it dangerous for people to return to their homes once an attack or the conflict is over.

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A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons
(c) E. Fourt/HI

A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons

On the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness, HI is alarmed by the frightening increase in the number of civilian victims of explosive weapons : 32,008 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2016 (out of a total of 45,624 victims), according to Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). The toll looks even heavier for 2017, as civilians account for 90% of the victims of explosive weapons when they are used in populated areas. Landmine Monitor has recorded a dramatic increase in casualties of mine and explosive remnants over the past three years. Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen are among the main countries affected.

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings
© AFP PHOTO / AMER ALMOHIBANY

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings

A staff member from a Syrian organisation that Humanity and Inclusion (HI) partners with was killed yesterday. Mustafa, his wife and their two children – both under the age of 8 years old – were killed by shelling in Hamouriyeh, Eastern Ghouta. As today marks the 7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict, HI condemns once again bombing and shelling of populated areas and calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians.

Completion of demining operations
©B.Blondel/HI

Completion of demining operations

HI has completed its demining operations in the Tshopo, Ituri, Bas-Uele and Haut-Uele provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), launched in January 2016. Over a two-year period, HI and its local partner, AFRILAM (Africa for Anti-Mine Action) cleared 34,520 m2 of land of mines, the equivalent of 5 football pitches, benefiting the 5,600 inhabitants in the region.