In collaboration with Centre for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) and Hanoi Disable People Association (DP Hanoi), Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disability (AEPD) organized the workshop “Promoting the enforcement of the Vietnam National Law on Disability” (NDL).
There were many participants who are Persons with Disabilities, or from Disability Organization, NGO members in Hanoi, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA), Department of Transport and Department of Public Health. Especially, Economic Officer Mr. Joe Narus from United States Embassy in Hanoi and CISR Director Mr. Rutherford Ken also took part in the workshop. This is an opportunity for participants to listen to authentic contributive ideas about implementing the national law on disability from the voice of MOLISA’s representatives as well as share the experiences in advocacy for people with disabilities (PwDs) from departments.
Mr. Ken Rutherford shared personal experiences of his trauma overcome and how he has made to advocacy for Disability Law in the US. After that, CISR Communications Specialist Amy Crockett has presented on building a public campaign to improve awareness of community in implementation of NDL. Based on the contributive ideas, the participants actively discussed about the topics related to the difficulties that PwDs are facing with, such as the unhealthy situation of PwDs, unimproved awareness of PwDs’ family in supporting PwDs to take part in all the social activities. Besides, it is very necessary for PwDs to receive the supports from departments to access the information, capital resources, vocational trainings, especially appropriate policy. Based on the real demands of PwDs, participants have created miniature billboards by so lively messages and pictures that directly impacted on target audience’s awareness.
On behalf of PwDs in the workshop, Mrs. Duong Thi Van shares her ideas “Via the workshop, we can speak out our desires about an equal life in every aspects”. In the forthcoming days, similar workshops will be organized in other provinces such as Quang Nam, Quang Binh in order to provide the community, especially government in all levels with the necessary information about NDL, as well as develop a network of organizations operating for the Rights of Disability nationwide, so as to promote the enforcement of Vietnam NDL.
On 11th August, 2014 , the Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disability cooperated with Centre for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) and LIN Center for Community Development to organize the workshop “Promoting the enforcement for national law on disability. There were delegates from related departments and organizations for PwDs in Hanoi. Apart from the content of NDL, delegates showed out the difficulties that PwDs are facing with in their daily life and over all the aspects of social life. From the PwDs’ desire, delegates brought out the petitions to functional departments and significant messages to advocate the NDL and make it entering the real life.
NDL was promulgated in 2010 to promote, protect and ensure that People with Disabilities can participate fully and equally in all social activities. However, the Disability Law enforcement is not synchronous over the city. Ms. Pham Cao Phuong Thao, The Deaf Community Organizations in Ho Chi Minh city said, “I met a lot of difficulties in determining the disability level and allowances for children”. “Our organizations have carried out procedures but it was unlicensed” - Ms. Thu Ha from My Future Organization shared. Thus, the organizations supporting for People with Disabilities and Organizations of People with Disabilities are still struggling with a lot of unanswered questions about the policy, the operational procedures of establishment to ensure the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Organizations for People with Disabilities.
As part of the workshop’s framework, the participants divided into groups to design slogans, messages and images about the desires of People with Disabilities in particular and enforce the Law on Disability in general. The messages are close to the real life of People with Disabilities, with vivid pictures, creating the attention and calling for actions of all stakeholders to facilitate PwDs, bringing the best opportunity for equal participations in all fields of life.
Workshop organizers were really moved when witnessing participants designing images and messages on the approaching extent to the Rights of People with Disabilities. Four members put their hands on the paper and drew the hand shape – hands of people with disabilities with various forms of disability are described with symbolic images below. The question “Have you TOUCHED your rights?” actually makes a lot of us cannot help thinking, attending. In fact, there are many limitations in the promulgation and implementation of Laws and Policies in general and Disability Law in particular. It led to the fact that some PwDs and their families haven’t grasped and understood their rights, obligations and legal interests. Therefore, the promotion of Disability Law enforcement is really necessary.
In the project framework of AEPD, messages and pictures are redesigned to be leaflets, brochures and panels, poster using in public places and being released widely in order to provide the community, especially government in all the levels with necessary information about NLD. At the end of the workshop, all the organizations committed working together to implement the common mission for People with Disabilities. Ms. Tran Thi Nhieu, from the Association for the Support of Handicapped and Orphans in Ho Chi Minh City, also asserted “The association will personally host a dialogue among the related government departments and disabled people to remove the problems and listen to the aspirations of People with Disabilities to make NDL enter the real life.
The withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan is a done deal, but what happens with the explosive remnants of war the troops are leaving behind? Victims hope that the NATO summit comes up with answers.
Victims rely on people like Rahmat to provide help
"I used to feel bad about my condition," Rahmat Merzayee says. "Whenever I would see a girl on the street, I would wish I wasn’t there and hide myself." He stops for a moment. Then his blue, pale eyes twinkle with joy again. "Today I have learned to live with my condition. My work has given me so much self-confidence."
Rahmat was just nine years old when he lost both of his legs. He stepped on a mine while playing outside. Just for a brief moment, just for a second he didn’t look where he was going and his life changed forever. Since then Rahmat has had to wear prostheses and can only move with the help of his crutches. But giving up is not an option.
Rahmat is a program manager at the Afghan Landmines Survivors’ Organization (ALSO) in Kabul and an active member of the group “Ban Advocates,” which represents the demands of survivors of accidents involving land mines or other explosive remnants of war at international conferences. Here, he has the chance to stand together with other victims and speak up for them.
Land mines are not only explosive but also poisonous, leaking toxins into the soil that make plants sick. That’s unfortunate for the plants but fortunate for us—if we can figure out how to look for sick plants as harbingers of land mines. Airplanes equipped with a low-cost sensor that captures non-visible light might be the answer.
LiveScience's Becky Oskin reports from the annual meeting of Ecological Society of America, where a group of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University are presenting just this idea. That a bunch of ecologists would be interested in land mines actually makes a lot of sense; land mines lurking underground can subtly shape the ecology of an area.
The VCU researchers did their field research at an unusual place though, a “privately owned experimental minefield in South Carolina, where [DARPA] once buried fake land mines for a research project,” writes Oskin. The National Explosives Waste Technology and Evaluation Center is where researchers can (safely) experiment on new ways to detect land mines.
“Any use of cluster munitions deserves condemnation, but the best response is for all nations to join the treaty banning them and work collectively to rid the world of these weapons.”—Steve Goose, Arms Division Director - Human Rights Watch, “HRW: Islamic State jihadists using cluster bombs”, NOW media, Sept. 01, 2014
Colombian victims of the armed conflict Angela Maria Giraldo and Jose Antequera hold a press conference on August 16, 2014, in Havana, during peace-talks between FARC-EP members and Colombian government delegation (AFP Photo/Yamil Lage)
Victims of the decades-old conflict pitting FARC rebels against government forces testified at peace talks Saturday, pushing for “truth” to form the foundation of any accord.
The 12 victims, some of whom came face-to-face with representatives of the perpetrators for the first time, testified during a closed-door session that lasted nearly nine hours.
"During the day, we agreed that truth is the basis for peace," they said in a statement presented to the press by six of the victims.
Islamic State militants stormed a Syrian airbase over the weekend, routing the remaining elements of the country’s army from northern Raqqah province and reportedly seizing a cache of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.
The seizure of Tabqa air base, while not the first installation of its type to fall to militants, highlights the Islamic State’s gains in the region and the group’s continued pilfering of advanced military equipment, particularly the surface-to-air missile systems known as MANPADS, short for Man Portable Air Defense Systems.
Matt Schroeder, a senior researcher at the Switzerland-based research group Small Arms Survey and author of a recent report on MANPADS in Syria, believes that the takeover of Tabqa airbase could mark a “significant proliferation” of the weapons across the region.
While the impacts of explosive weapons have been highly visible and documented, the unexploded remnants of these weapons and landmines have received limited attention despite their long-term implications.
More donor support is needed to help close the US$1.5 billion funding gap in the Sahel this year and protect the livelihoods of the estimated 20.2 million people who are at risk of food insecurity. Only 30 percent of the $2.2 billion dollar appeal to fight hunger and malnutrition, and build resilience in the region has been met by donors as of July, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Although landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) impact people living in post-conflict communities, many civilians are not knowledgeable about the types of explosive remnants of war (ERW) that threaten their daily lives. Landmine museums that display landmines and UXO that are no longer dangerous can be enlightening for visitors. Post-conflict communities in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have established at least 13 museums featuring landmines and ERW.
By now images of the smoldering wreckage of Malaysian flight 17 have started to circulate online and on television. The aircraft, a Boeing-777 with 295 people aboard, was on a routine flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it unexpectedly dropped off radar. Moments later it crashed near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
So many moments stay with me. During the course of this recent mission in South Sudan people recounted unimaginable suffering and acute fear; they showed tremendous strength and unflagging resilience; and they shared both deep despair and determined hope.
The big international aid agencies have been hugely successful. Organizations that were once small civil society operations - groups of friends with a passion to make the world a better place - now have thousands of staff members, multi-storey headquarters buildings and multi-million dollar budgets. But insiders fret that they have become too big and have lost the flexibility and responsiveness they once had.
Government has appealed to the international community to chip in with about $100 million required to speed up the demining of the country’s borders after the exercise was allocated a paltry $500 000 by Treasury this year.
Secretary in the Ministry of Defence Martin Rushwaya told Parliament yesterday that the paltry allocation from Treasury had stalled the programme.
“We were only allocated $500 000 in the 2014 national Budget for demining and we appeal to the international community to support us to complete the demining exercise,” Rushwaya said.
Director of the Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre Colonel Mkhululi Ncube warned members of the public against tampering with landmines after being misled into believing that the explosives contained red mercury.
The Belgian soldiers didn’t even flinch when the mines exploded meters behind them, sending a plume of dust and smoke into the sky.
“We’re used to it,” Lt. Steven Roels said with a good-natured shrug.
For the past four months, Roels and a platoon of Belgian soldiers in UNIFIL have worked six days a week clearing mines along the Lebanese-Israeli border, and the blasts have slowly become routine inflections in their daily rhythm.
In two weeks, however, Roels and the rest of the battalion will hang up their trademark blue helmets and head home.
Four Tunisian soldiers were killed by a land mine Wednesday in the country’s northwest, where the army has been battling Islamist militants, the defence ministry said.
“Four soldiers aboard a Hummer were killed by a land mine explosion during an anti-terror operation” at Jebel Ouergha in Kef province, said ministry spokesman Rachid Bouhoula.
Weapons “caches of the terrorists were destroyed and units of the security forces pursued these elements,” Bouhoula told AFP.
The incident is the latest in a string of fatalities caused by roadside bombs and land mines in the remote border region, parts of which have been declared closed military zones as the security forces press a campaign against militants holed up there.
Landmines are buried in conflict-torn areas in Asia and elsewhere in the world. Even after the conflicts end for which they were buried, the mines continue to inflict harm. Each year, they kill or injure some 3,600 people. The United Nations is conducting a project to recruit women to engage in mine-clearing operations in their communities and help accelerate post-conflict reconstruction. We talked to the head of the UN Mine Action Service about what women, in particular, have to offer.
Mortars and Projectiles From the Battle of Peleliu (1944) Lay Abandoned in the Republic of Palau
In 2012, the United States marked the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landing at Guadalcanal, which led in 1943 to a strategic victory in the Pacific. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) began providing support for conventional weapons destruction assistance in the Pacific Islands in 2009. Many of the island nations, including what is now the Solomon Islands, saw heavy fighting between Allied and Japanese forces during the so-called “island-hopping” campaign between 1942 and the war’s end in 1945.
More than seventy years later, communities on many of these islands still face hidden hazards from bombs, mortars, artillery shells, and other unexploded ordnance (UXO), but a recent U.S. initiative is harnessing data to find and locate these abandoned armaments faster, and bring long overdue peace of mind to area residents.
Many of these abandoned munitions are of U.S. origin, and lay buried on land or in the surrounding waters, posing not only a safety risk but also a barrier to economic development. These munitions also present the United States with a unique opportunity to take action and make these islands a safer place for everyone. For this reason, the Department has prioritized the safe removal of these legacies of war in the East Asia and Pacific region.
The United States will phase out its stockpiles of landmines designed to target people, moving closer to joining a global ban on a weapon that kills more than 15,000 people a year — most of them civilians.
U.S. officials made the declaration at an anti-mine conference in Maputo, Mozambique, according to a statement issued by National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
Activists have long pressured the United States to join the international treaty banning the production, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel landmines — the kind meant to kill or maim when someone steps on them.
A Deminer Working for the HALO Trust on the Job in Colombia
In several Latin American countries, decades of conflict have left behind a dangerous legacy: small arms and light weapons in unsecured stockpiles; excess and obsolete munitions; and hidden hazards from landmines and unexploded ordnance. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs is working closely with partner countries and nongovernmental organizations to enhance Latin American regional security by funding conventional weapons destruction and landmine clearance projects. A team of PM/WRA experts recently went to Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras to participate in a landmine survivors’ assistance conference and take stock of progress to date and the challenges ahead for U.S.-funded humanitarian demining and weapons destruction projects.
The first stop was the Bridges Between Worlds conference held in Medellin, Colombia. With over 300 representatives from 36 countries and numerous NGOs in attendance, the two-day event focused on enhancing landmine survivors’ assistance and integrating survivor assistance policy into broader national policies regarding disability, health, education, employment, development, and poverty reduction. The conference location was especially significant; Colombia is one of the most landmine-affected countries in the world and is second only to Afghanistan in the number of disabled survivors of accidents involving landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Following the conference, our team visited landmine survivors in San Carlos, Colombia, along with staff from our partners at the Centro Integral de Rehabilitacion de Colombia (CIREC). CIREC is a Colombian NGO specializing in medical and psychological services for conflict survivors. With U.S. support, CIREC has deployed “rehabilitation brigades” to assist landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities throughout Colombia’s conflict-affected regions. CIREC’s rehabilitation brigades provide services in orthopedics, psychiatry, and physical and psychological therapy to those most in need.
Sithon will treasure this planting season as a special one: for the first time since the Vietnam War he could seed his rice safely, after MAG cleared almost 400 explosive weapons from his land.
"There were bombies [the local term for cluster submunitions] everywhere." Fifty-nine year old Sithon Manyvong recalls returning home to Naphia in 1975 after the Vietnam War had ended.
Naphia village is in Phaxay district, one of the areas of Xieng Khouang province most affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) – the bombies, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades that did not explode when they were used, continuing to pose a risk of detonation.