Posts tagged CISR
Posts tagged CISR
In April, CISR Peer Support Specialist Cameron Macauley returned to Burundi to assist in the training of new peer support workers for a program expansion into Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital. CISR’s Burundian partner since 2010, CEDAC (Center for the Education and Development for Ex-Combatants) operates a highly successful program for survivors of war-related violence in Muramvya, a community about 20 miles east of the capital. CEDAC’s peer-support workers provide counseling and psychosocial support to survivors who are recovering from traumatic experiences suffered during Burundi’s civil conflict, which ended in 2006.
With support from CISR, CEDAC implemented a new monitoring and evaluation system last June to assess the results of its work with 363 survivors. Preliminary data suggests that CEDAC’s services are overwhelmingly successful, with 99 percent of survivors reporting positive changes in their lives as a direct result of peer support.
With generous assistance from Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), a London-based nongovernmental organization, CEDAC will begin providing services in Bujumbura, where thousands of war survivors still need assistance. This most recent training prepared 30 women with disabilities to offer peer support in the capital. CEDAC’s supervisors were also trained to respond to issues related to disability, such as discrimination, domestic violence, and lack of access to schools, clinics and government buildings. Participants also learned how to help survivors overcome low self-esteem and how to build self-confidence.
“With help from CISR and AOAV we hope to eventually become a national organization,” said Eric Niragira, CEDAC’s executive director. “We look forward to the day when all war survivors can participate fully in Burundian society.”
~ Cameron Macauley, CISR Peer Support and Trauma Rehabilitation Specialist
More photos from CISR Director Ken Rutherford’s Vietnam trip as part of CISR’s conflict survivor survey mission to adapt information management system along the lines of the Convention on the Rights and Dignity of People with Disabilities.
Last week CISR Director Ken Rutherford visited Hanoi, Vietnam and met with the International Committee of the Red Cross and MOLISA’s disability section.
CISR Director Ken Rutherford at a field demonstration last week in Croatia with Ambassador Stephan Husy of GICHD and the new director of the Iraq Mine Action program. Dr. Rutherford gave a symposium presentation on psychosocial rehabilitation for landmine/UXO survivors.
Only two years after the Taliban was overthrown in 2001, 7,000 public schools enrolled roughly 3.9 million children, 25 percent of which were females. There are now 12,000 public schools that enroll roughly 9 million children, 40 percent of which are females. With the increase in adult learning centers, more and more adults are learning how to read and write. Since 2001, the private-business sector has grown in Afghanistan. Many consumer goods such as clothing and shoes are being produced locally within the country, creating job opportunities and enhancing the economy.
Afghanistan’s Biggest Challenges
On Friday, April 19, a Taliban suicide bomber struck security forces in the southern province of Helmend, injuring five policemen and two civilians. In Afghanistan, these types of tragedies happen weekly. As a result of past conflict, Afghanistan is littered with landmines. Every month, 20 to 30 individuals including men, women and children are killed or injured due to landmine accidents. Many of these people live in rural areas and/or are displaced people from neighboring countries. As NATO troops continue to withdrawal from the country, the Afghan people are becoming worried that life will return to how it was in the ‘90s when the Taliban maintained control. Parents are keeping their children from attending school, and local and foreign investors are losing interest in Afghanistan. Furthermore, funding and support for landmine clearance is insufficient.
The CISR–JMU Community Can Help
It is important that CISR, through mediums such as The Journal of ERW and Mine Action, continue to publicize facts about Afghanistan’s challenges in order to increase awareness worldwide. CISR must also continue to provide strategic guidance and organizational support to organizations like the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA).
Roughly 60 percent of Afghan students are educated under tents without the luxuries of classrooms, air conditioning, computer labs, etc. These brave and persistent students should be recognized as heroes, giving inspiration to underprivileged students all over the world. James Madison University can provide encouragement by simply acknowledging the Afghan students’ incredible commitment to learning. This can be done via social media, publications, bulletin-board postings, etc. This will not only give these students encouragement, but it will provide them with hope for the future.
~ Daniel Braun, CISR staff
ABC News cites The Journal of ERW and Mine Action.
Yesterday, Democracy Now! had a great interview with the Legacies of War “Voices from Laos” speakers! On April 25, CISR will sponsor this speaker’s tour. Join us to hear it from 7-8:30 p.m. at JMU’s HHS 1302. It’s free and open to the public.
FYI, since 1993 the U.S. has invested $62,061,333 in conventional weapons destruction (CWD) programs in Laos for clearance and safe disposal of mines and UXO munitions, as well as survivor assistance and risk education. Last year when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Laos, she pledged to do more, and more money was allotted to this effort.
Forty years ago, on March 29, 1973, the “secret” U.S. bombing that devastated Laos came to an end. By that point, the United States had dropped at least two million tons of bombs on Laos. That is the equivalent of one planeload every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years — more than on Germany and Japan during World War II. The deadly legacy of the Vietnam War lives on today in the form of unexploded cluster bombs. Experts estimate Laos is littered with as many as 80 million “bombies” — or baseball-size bombs found inside cluster bombs. Since the bombing stopped four decades ago, as many as 20,000 people have been injured or killed as a result. To mark International Day of Mine Awareness, we speak to a Laotian bomb survivor and a leader of an all-women bomb clearance team in Laos. Thoummy Silamphan and Manixia Thor are speaking at the United Nations today and are currently in the United States on a tour organized by Legacies of War.
On April 4, advocates and observers around the world will mark another International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Much has been accomplished since humanitarian landmine action came to the global agenda — hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed to clear millions of acres in thousands of communities. As we mark this day, it is important to reflect on the vast number of people we will never meet who are the very real beneficiaries of this effort.
Yet two countries where this day could have special meaning are closed to the global community by conflict and unrest. For conflict survivors in Burma and Syria, where landmines are still being used, April 4 will pass with little recognition and even less change. Beyond new contamination from landmines and explosive remnants of war, populations in both countries are endangered by the long legacies of conflict. The voices of survivors are a unique opportunity for development and growth.
As the survivor of a landmine accident, I can attest to the central triumph of the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty (commonly called the Ottawa Convention) — above and beyond stigmatizing and eradicating AP landmines, the treaty incorporated the voice of mine victims into its requirements, guidelines, and language. Survivors were critical to driving the agenda, changing opinions, and seeing the treaty through.
When the global community met to begin the discussions that led to a similar ban on cluster munitions, survivors played an even larger role. With the banner, “Nothing about us without us,” we lobbied for increased protection of victims and their families. So it was with global discussions of landmines and cluster munitions, and so it must be for all conflicts.
This must not be another day marked by another spate of press releases — this day calls for action. The global community has the opportunity and responsibility to assist all victims of conflict. The United States, along with Burma and Syria, is not yet a State Party to the Ottawa Convention. Although the current US policy is being actively reviewed, we cannot wait for policy to drive progress. As Burma and Syria evolve, we must anticipate a day when the idea of a just and prosperous future is available not only to the abled but also the differently abled.
The landmine that took my legs was indiscriminate. It easily could have taken the legs of my Somali driver, another passerby, or a child — that an American aid worker should be injured was secondary to its function. The conflicts in Burma and Syria will be similarly callous, scarring the abled and disabled in ways we can see and ways we cannot.
As we mark another day for mine action awareness, we must be more active than aware for survivors in Burma and Syria. Before they call, we must answer and while they are yet recovering, we must hear.
Ken Rutherford, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at James Madison University. He was a co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network and was a leader in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition that spearheaded the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the movement that led to the 2008 Cluster Munitions Treaty.
A call to action! Help CISR support victims of conflict. Consider making a donation this April 4.
CISR’s student employees believe that world peace can begin with an end to landmines. Will you Lend Your Leg tomorrow for landmine survivors?