Explosive remnants of war: children with disabilities need access to risk education
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.
According to the latest report from the Association On Armed Violence(AOAV), 15,399 civilians were killed by explosive weapons during the first 11 months of 2017 - a 42% increase compared to the same period in 2016. This sharp rise is largely down to a massive increase in deadly airstrikes.
On 12 January 2010, an earthquake hit Haiti, killing over 200,000 people. Many more were injured. Moïse, 4 years old, had to have his left leg amputated. Thanks to the support of Handicap International (HI), he received a prosthesis and underwent rehabilitation. Supported by the organisation for the last eight years, Moïse is now fighting fit.
HI physiotherapist, Farhana, works in Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh, which has become one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. Ibrahim is one of more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees who fled when violence broke out in Myanmar in August 2017 and one of many who sustained life-changing injuries. Farhana shares her experience of meeting Ibrahim and the progress they have made.
On 3 November 2017, the armed forces took back control of the town of Deir Ezzor in Syria. The fighting inside and surrounding the city lasted several months, creating numerous civilian victims and displacing over 300,000 people. Handicap International (HI) is gravely concerned about the situation in the field.
 Syrian armed forces, Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS) and coalition.
In 2016, a record number of civilians were killed in bombing raids in Syria. One in every four civilians killed by aerial bombing in urban areas was under 18 years old, according to a study published by Lancet Global Health based on a Violence Documentation Centre (VDC) dataset. The study points to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas - a practice Handicap International (HI) vigorously campaigns against - and its devastating effects on civilians as the cause of these figures.
Amongst the 625,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are many hundreds living with severe disability. Their families are struggling to care for them in difficult camp conditions. Noorayesha is partially paralysed and cannot leave her tent.
The States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty that bans the use of anti-personnel mines met in Vienna from December 18 to 22 against the backdrop of a dramatic increase in the number of mine casualties (8,605 in 2016) and the use of improvised mines. Handicap International (HI) attended the meeting. The organisation's goal is to alert States to the issue of victim assistance and to argue for the clearance of improvised mines under the terms of the treaty.
 The Ottawa Treaty bans the acquisition, production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines. The treaty was opened for signature on 3 December 1997. It entered into force on 1 March 1999. There are 162 States parties to the convention and one State signatory.
Ali, 4, lives in Jordan. He has cerebral palsy and, for the last few months, he has been visiting a Handicap International (HI) partner centre, where he benefits from physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions.
Since 2016, Handicap International (HI) has been working closely with local and international humanitarian organisations in Jordan to ensure services and initiatives in camps and communities are accessible to and inclusive of people with disabilities. The organisation’s work in this field has already benefited a large number of people.
The latest version of the Fair ‘n Square website, which was first launched in 2015 by Handicap International (HI) in conjunction with UNICEF, looks at the ways in which children and adults with disabilities in Mozambique are discriminated against on a daily basis. Some people are unable to visit health centres because buildings are not designed for use by people with disabilities, for example, while some children with reduced mobility are unable to go to school because they don’t have the equipment they need to move around, such as a wheelchair. The aim of the website is therefore to raise awareness on disability, to show how some problems have easy solutions, and to provide information on action taken by HI in Mozambique to end the exclusion of people with disabilities.
HI works in five health centres and hospitals in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, where it provides rehabilitation care and distributes mobility aids (crutches, wheelchairs), among other activities. The impact on the population and humanitarian operations is likely worsen rapidly if the blockade imposed on 6 November is not lifted. François Olive-Keravec, Yemen programme director at Handicap International (HI), who is currently in Sanaa, describes the situation in the field.
In January 2016, Handicap International (HI) launched the “Makani” project in Egypt. The organisation regularly holds events in a working class neighbourhood of Cairo, where it also promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities. Through this project, the organisation also aims at encouraging young Egyptians to get more involved in their local community.
From 27 to 28 November, Handicap International (HI) is organising a regional conference on the bombing of civilians in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. This conference will bring together some 20 States, 10 African civil society organisations and international NGOs. The goal is to raise awareness of this vital challenge among African countries and to encourage them to take action on the world stage to protect civilians from the devastating impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.