Posts tagged Ken Rutherford
Posts tagged Ken Rutherford
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.
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.
PCRW 2013: CISR Director Ken Rutherford and Dr. Larry Schwab of West Virginia University
Monday night CISR hosted Schwab, a medical officer during the Vietnam War, at James Madison University. He presented on his post-conflict experience—“In the Dragon’s Teeth: Coming Home from War in Indochina.”
HARRISONBURG — A woman in South Sudan walks through tall grass. She steadies a water vessel on her head with one arm, and has her child wrapped, cradled at her back.
Her path to pick up water, though, goes directly through a minefield.
Sean Sutton, a veteran “conflict” photojournalist, and Mines Advisory Group (MAG) marketing and communications director, documents scenes like this one, which he captured in a black-and-white photograph, to educate and influence the public and policymakers on explosives left behind after an armed conflict ends.
“People don’t have a chance with landmines in the ground,” Sutton said.
Sutton of Manchester, England, returned from South Sudan two weeks ago, where he spent a month photographing MAG activities and the people affected by the scraps left from war.
Sutton spoke Sunday evening at Transitions in Warren Hall at James Madison University to kick off the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery’s (CISR) Post-Conflict Recovery Week. An exhibit of his photos was unveiled Sunday night at the center.
CISR, based at JMU, publishes a journal on humanitarian mine removal and the practices and methodologies in clearing explosive remnants of war, according to the group’s website.
Kenneth Rutherford, the center’s director and a JMU political science professor, lost both of his legs after driving over a mine in Somalia in 1993, where he worked at a humanitarian aid office.
Rutherford said that while he lay in a hospital bed he wrote his eulogy in his head and decided to become a teacher like his father.
“I’ve been blessed. I’ve had wonderful medical care,” Rutherford said. “A lot of amputees I meet around the world don’t have the support that I have.”
Sutton’s photographs revealed some of those victims.
Black and white photos showed scarred bodies, blinded children and people missing limbs, all from land mines, unexploded ordnance, cluster munitions and other remnants of war.
Sutton said most of the victims he met knew they were walking into dangerous areas.
“Basically people will risk themselves because they don’t have a choice,” Sutton said of the people who must walk through fields of hidden and buried explosives to get water or firewood.
But the photographs told a broader story than just destruction. Sutton’s work also portrays hope through the rebuilding process.
MAG’s efforts to remove explosive materials from war-torn regions including Libya, Iraq, Vietnam and Cambodia, showed land and waterways, formerly unusable because of the concentrations of explosives, being re-plowed and re-fished.
Sutton showed a picture of a man tossing a fishing net into a canal that he used to avoid before MAG workers, many of whom are trained to help the nations where they work, swept and cleared the area of 50,000 square meters.
“They only found six mines,” Sutton said. “Just a few mines can block an incredibly valuable resource.”
Sutton told about Lao PDR, better known as Laos, which is littered with cluster bombs and other explosives left from the Vietnam War. The explosives were dropped, and left, by both sides of the conflict.
“Every year they find more and more, just like stones in a field,” Sutton said, making land un-tillable.
He explained that these people don’t want a handout, just assistance with something they don’t have the means to do themselves.
“All they want is to stand on their own two feet,” Sutton said.
“It was interesting to see how he used his pictures perfectly … to convey the message that he wanted,” said Chris Belcourt, a junior international business marketing major, who attended the lecture.
“Southeast Asia is home to me,” Belcourt, 21, said, explaining that the pictures could have been taken near where he grew up in Indonesia.
When the conflict is over, the real work begins.
Find out how you can help and be the change: http://cisr.jmu.edu/give.html
Monongalia Arts Center
107 High Street
Morgantown, WV 26507
Jan. 11-26, 2013
Opening Public Reception
Friday, Jan. 11, 6-8 p.m.
PSALM student guides available from 6-7 p.m.
The Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, W.Va. presents “A Nobel Cause: Portraits of Peace”. WVCBL/PSALM students (West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs/Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs) painted portraits of International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) campaigners, including a painting of CISR Director Ken Rutherford.
Rutherford was a cofounder of Landmine Survivors Network, which was a leader in ICBL, and spoke as a survivor advocate in the 1990s. In October 2012, he gave a speech at West Virginia University on how medical students can alleviate the negative impact of landmines.
The exhibit also features photographs that depict a timeline celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning ICBL.
To learn more about the Campaigns to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions, please visit:
International Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.icbl.org
United States Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.uscbl.org
West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs: www.wvcbl.org