From 25th to 27th September 2015, States are meeting at the United Nations in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the period 2015-2030. This marks a decisive turning point in the lives of people with disabilities worldwide, who will now be taken into account in development policies from which they have long been excluded. Handicap International’s awareness raising and advocacy actions have helped bring about this considerable advance.
First conference on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas: the mass bombing of civilians must end. 21/09/15
For the first time, more than twenty States and several international organisations are gathering in Vienna, Austria, on 21 and 22 September 2015, to discuss a political solution aimed at ending the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Handicap International will make the voice of survivors heard during the conference to ensure States take action against this unacceptable practice.
Since a landmine explosion badly mangled his body, working in the field is impossible for Oberney. That is why the former farmer from Colombia started a local shop with the help of Handicap International. This allows him an income and a future for his two children, who are his greatest motivation to move on with his life. With a shrapnel-filled body, that is never without pain.
An official ceremony held to mark the return to local people of land cleared of mines and explosive remnants of war by Handicap International paid tribute to the organisation’s weapons clearance operations.
Mozambique was officially declared mine-free today. Handicap International, one of the country’s main mine action organisations, hailed the announcement as a victory for the people of Mozambique. Liberated from this threat, which has caused thousands of casualties, Mozambicans can finally look forward to opportunities for growth previously made impossible by the presence of mines.
Christine, 30, lives in West Pokot County, north-west Kenya. She has witnessed first-hand the armed violence that has devastated the region. Today, she is one of Handicap International’s 100 peace representatives working with local communities. Every day, she raises awareness in communities and helps women to learn more about their rights. Over the last year the peace representatives, who were all elected to their role by their local community, have raised the awareness of over 10,000 people.
Dubrovnik conference on cluster munitions: States Parties reiterate the need to systematically condemn all uses of cluster munitions. 11/09/15
The First Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Dubrovnik, Croatia, ends tomorrow/today. The States Parties unanimously adopted a strong political declaration reiterating the need to systematically condemn all uses of cluster munitions. Over the last twelve months, these barbaric weapons have been used in five countries , a situation not previously seen since the treaty entered into force in 2010.
According to the Cluster Munition Monitor 2015 report, launched today in Geneva, cluster munitions have been used in five countries since 1 July 2014. This is the first time these weapons have been used so intensively since the ban treaty entered into force in 2010. The Review Conference in Dubrovnik taking place from 7th to 11th September, attended by States Parties to the Treaty, will provide the international community with an opportunity to redouble its efforts to prevent any further use of cluster munitions. Handicap International is calling on States Parties to systematically condemn the use of these barbaric weapons in order to ensure the treaty continues to protect civilians in the future.
Emergency and rehabilitation specialist Eric Weerts has been lending his support to disabled people’s organisations involved in the humanitarian relief effort in Myanmar. Accompanied by a logistics expert, Eric has managed to visit areas still under water, particularly in the south of the country, in the Irrawaddy river delta.
For the first time since the Ebola epidemic began more than a year ago, no new contaminations have been reported in Sierra Leone for two weeks. This is a very encouraging new development in the fight against the virus, which has already infected nearly 30,000 people (almost half in Sierra Leone), more than 10,000 of whom have died. Magalie Vairetto, who has been working on Handicap International’s Ebola programme since January 2015, tells us more about these hopeful signs and the need to remain vigilant at this stage in the epidemic.
- Sierra Leone
Four months after Nepal was struck by an earthquake, over 2.8 million people are still in need of help. Handicap International continues to support vulnerable people in remote communities that have become increasingly inaccessible due to the monsoon.
Renato, his wife, and their six children are finally back at home in their newly-repaired house. It has been over one year since typhoon Haiyan, one of the most severe typhoons in history, swept across the Philippines killing almost 8,000 people and destroying many homes, including Renato’s. His family is one of 200 households to have benefited from a project implemented by Handicap International in the province of Leyte, which aims to help with the reconstruction process. Thanks to Handicap International, the head of the household has been able to return to work.
A drop in new cases, the start of the rainy season, and prospects for a possible vaccine have changed the way the campaign against the Ebola virus is being fought. Recently back from Sierra Leone, Jérôme Besnier, the director of our Ebola programme, tells us more about this changing context.
- Sierra Leone
Around the world, about 1 in 8 people are over the age of 60, and 15% of the world population is living with some kind of disability. In emergencies, older people and people with disabilities thus make up a significant part of the affected population. Moreover, the risk of disability often increases as a result of conflict or natural disaster, due to injuries and poor health care. For example, a survey by HelpAge and Handicap International found that 22% of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon had an impairment.
Glody, 2, lives in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was born with a neck deformity the size of a football, which made even the slightest movements difficult. With support from Handicap International, Glody has now been operated on. He attends rehabilitation sessions and has got the spring back in his step.
- Democratic Republic of Congo