FEEDBACK – Humanitarian Disarmament Forum 2018

Posted by: on Oct 19, 2018 | No Comments

Disarmament campaigners have convened in New York (NY), USA, where they have shared their passion and wisdom on humanitarian disarmament.

80 campaigners and 7 global coalitions have convened in NY last week-end to attend the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum (HDF) held on October 13th and 14th. For the seventh year in a row, international campaigners from around the globe committed to promote disarmament and arms control convened to learn and strategize collectively on their common work to advance humanitarian disarmament and ultimately prevent and alleviate human suffering.

The HDF2018 saw two full days of plenary discussions and group debates on different challenges of the humanitarian disarmament community. Deep reflections also alternated to interactive games bound to find creative and traditional solutions to solve real life problems using humanitarian disarmament tools.

International campaigners from around the globe committed to promote disarmament and arms control convened to learn and strategize collectively

Many questions were put on the table over the two days: from new ways of campaigning, how to engage the diplomatic community, how to ensure that survivors’ voices are heard, how to link the local, national and international level as well as new tools for campaigning. On the same occasion, Human Rights Watch and humanitarian disarmament coalitions such as ICAN, STOP KILLER ROBOTS and INEW provided lightening updates on their campaigns across the world.

The forum also provided the setting for the presentation of the brand-new site which will serve experts and the public interested in the humanitarian disarmament topic. Humanitarian disarmament, as wrote Bonnie Docherty working at the Harvard Law School “seeks to prevent and remediate harm caused by arms and related activities through the establishment of norms. It is a people-centered approach, driven by civil society campaigns, that focuses on human rather than national security”.

Humanitarian disarmament: a people-centered approach.

On the second day, HI has participated into the panel “Raising Voices and Meeting the Needs of Those Impacted by Conflict”. Many topics were discussed, from the lack of civilians’ perspective in the policy making debate and modalities to shift campaigners’ role to the need to make platforms more inclusive for those individuals affected by policies. Another key issue raised during the discussion related to the importance of coordinating international advocacy campaigns with local NGOs/CSOs not to replicate north-south stereotypes. On this panel, Alma Taslidžan Al Osta, Disarmament and Protection of Civilians Advocacy Manager at Humanity & Inclusion, described how HI works to address the needs of individuals affected by explosive weapons in Syria and stressed the importance of not losing connection with victims while sitting in our comfortable chair.

This principle has always been at the core of the HI mandate and still deserves full attention not to forget what and who we are fighting for.  During its presentation Humanity & Inclusion made also a reference to the ongoing Parliamentarian initiative aimed at creating an informal network of Parliamentarians in 8 countries engaged in the fight to end the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA).

Importance of not losing connection with victims while sitting in our comfortable chair.

A very interesting session was also dedicated to gender in humanitarian disarmament. Allison Pytlak, Program Manager for RCW, underlined the importance of understanding different impacts of arms & conflict on women, men, girls and boys. Moreover, she stressed the importance of both delinking women from being considered with children and improving women’s’ participation.

These two intense days have also been the opportunity to meet with campaigners from Seguridad Humana en Latinoamerica y El Caribe (SEHLAC). HI’s key partners in the organization of the upcoming regional meeting in Santiago, Chile, next December.

The most significant and visible outcome was probably the moment when NGOs and global coalitions present at the forum decided to give a joint statement at the First Committee Plenary Session. On this occasion, Alma Taslidžan Al Osta took the floor on behalf of humanitarian disarmament campaigners to share a common approach to humanitarian disarmament resulted from consultations held during the forum.


We have shown, once more, how exciting teamwork can be

Participants to the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum 2018, NY.

Participants to the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum 2018, NY.