BRIEFING PAPER – The way forward on victim assistance

Posted by: on Oct 6, 2014 | No Comments

Working on victim assistance (VA) only in the context of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is not sufficient, VA must be integrated into development and human rights frameworks. Handicap International has written this paper to explore the conceptual landscape – exemplified by some current and good practices – that ought to be considered when talking about integrating VA into broader frameworks.

As a complement to the Victim Assistance Factsheets, the issue briefs shed light on the operational implications if the VA provisions, in as far as survivors are concerned, are to be successfully realized through disability-inclusive development interventions.

In order to reach that objective, an integrated approach to victim assistance (VA), insofar as survivors are concerned, requires:

  • Specific efforts to ensure survivors are reached and empowered to exercise their rights, in particular: locating and identifying survivors; ensuring their equal access to services; and monitoring and evaluating to demonstrate progress;

And :

  • Broad efforts to address their rights and needs under development and human rights frameworks (disability, health, rehabilitation, social services and social protection, education, employment, human rights, gender, development, and poverty reduction), including the development of a disability-inclusive system of services comprised of: relevant mainstream services (health, education), disability-specific services (such as peer support) and support services (sign – language interpreters for example), through awareness-raising, capacity building and the mobilization of adequate resources.

An important part of the complexity of understanding VA in broader contexts is related to the fact that the group of victims as defined under the MBT and the CCM comprise a diverse population, namely direct victims (people killed, those that are injured, survivors with disabilities and survivors without disabilities) and indirect victims (family members of survivors and of people killed, and those living in areas affected by mine/ERW).

Whereas the VA provisions apply to this broad group of people with wide-ranging realities and related priorities, there is not one other treaty or framework that applies to all. The plight of survivors with a disability should be addressed through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Survivors’ needs, as well as those of family members of people killed or injured and affected community members, should also be responded to through a range of inclusive initiatives, such as poverty reduction measures.

The “Way forward” is a first attempt to lay out the various elements at play when considering VA in light of the CRPD and disability inclusive development. In accordance with the CRPD, disability-inclusive development aims to ensure that people with disabilities are meaningfully and effectively participating in development processes and policies.

Since mine/ERW survivors are, for the most part, people with disabilities, working on development should ensure that these survivors also participate in, and benefit from, disability inclusive development initiatives.

Download the issue briefs in English.

Download the paper “The way forward” in English.

Saw Soe Win (28) stepped on a mine in 2011. He lives in Myanmar but came to the Burmese camps in Thailand to seek the services from Handicap International because it was impossible to find prosthesis in Myanmar. Once he has learnt to walk with his prosthesis, he will go back to his hometown. / Saw Soe Win (28 ans) a sauté sur une mine en 2011. Il vit au Myanmar mais il est venu dans les camps birmans en Thailande pour solliciter les services d?Handicap International, car il était impossible de trouver une prothèse au Myanmar. Une fois qu'il aura appris à marcher avec sa prothèse, il retournera dans sa ville natale.

Saw Soe Win (28) stepped on a mine in 2011. © Erika Pineros / Handicap International – Thailand 2012


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