Posts tagged cameron macauley
Posts tagged cameron macauley
CISR’s director, Dr. Ken Rutherford, and trauma rehabilitation specialist, Cameron Macauley, arrived this evening (February 28) in Iraq with a late-night walk about Erbil to shake off jet lag.
They are preparing for a scoping mission centered on unexploded ordnance and landmine-risk education for Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq based on a CISR arts-based program that includes survivors and people with disabilities
International Law, Politics and Inhumane Weapons: The Effectiveness of Global Landmine Regimes
by Alan Bryden
Routledge, 17 August 2012
The central question Bryden asks in International Law, Politics and Inhumane Weapons: The Effectiveness of Global Landmine Regimes is whether treaties controlling the manufacture, stockpiling and use of landmines have succeeded in reducing the horrific effects of victim-detonated explosives around the world. Bryden comes to this topic through his work: first at the British Ministry of Defence, then as a project manager for the Department for International Development and most recently as a security analyst for the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. Bryden calls into question the assumption that “adherence to and observation of treaty provisions will generate mine action payoffs that improve the lives of people living with landmines.”
Through regime theory, the study of international rules and their influence on the behavior of states, Bryden analyzes the history and impact of two landmine treaties: the 1996 Amended Protocol II (APII) of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects and the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention or APMBC). He notes that APMBC grew out of an unprecedented movement composed mainly of nongovernmental organizations, and many governments jumped onto the bandwagon without clearly understanding their responsibilities. Implementation, he says, “provides the litmus test of whether states’ willingness to cut a positive international figure by joining a regime with evident humanitarian credentials is matched by the political will to accept the costs associated with their new obligations.”
The book places modern mine-control efforts within the historical context of previous arms-control initiatives such as the 1925 Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (Geneva Protocol) and the Hague Declaration 3 (the Hague Conventionof 1899 prohibiting the use ofexpanding bullets).1,2 “Over time,” says Bryden, “these two historical regimes have proved effective in raising the political costs of continued use [of inhumane weaponry].” Bryden is also fascinated by the differences and similarities of the mine action-related protocols (such as APII) and APMBC, two distinctly separate documents created through unrelated processes but with similar objectives.
However, Bryden feels that the final form of APMBC was influenced heavily by a desire for consensus and that some provisions of the convention were unrealistic for developing nations most heavily affected by landmines. For Bryden, a troubling gap exists between the government actors and international bodies who design the landmine conventions and the mine action field workers who see the daily effects of landmines on human life—and for whom the conventions appear to have changed little on the ground. He identifies humanitarian concerns as “the driving motor that led to the rapid formation of” the APMBC, yet “elements of the mine action community are—quite deliberately—detaching themselves from implementation because their interests lie in mine action and not in the regime per se.”
Bryden is deeply critical of the lack of international oversight related to compliance, saying: “The absence of strong verification and monitoring provisions within either landmine regime raises questions over their ability to evolve, with evident considerations for effectiveness.” He describes persistent difficulties in identifying mined areas, which in turn impede states parties’ ability to adhere to clearance deadlines, and he claims that some states parties deliberately suppress information in order to appear compliant with the treaty. In addition, he notes that because humanitarian demining consumes significant resources, as the number of landmines in an area diminishes, authorities have incentive to terminate demining before 100 percent clearance is achieved. He also feels that the fanfare around stockpile destruction may serve to disguise lack of compliance in other more important areas.
The book concludes with a concise summary of the disjunctions between treaty goals and mine action priorities. Bryden argues that the numbers produced by those implementing the treaties do not reflect the humanitarian impact; in fact, they often camouflage the lack of progress for people living in small mine-affected communities. He maintains that mine action practitioners are developing better analytical and information-gathering skills while the “regime implementation cluster is unable to bridge the gap between adequate and effective resources.”
Bryden warns that the conventions’ inherent flaws threaten to disintegrate international support for them, endangering future initiatives to control the use of weapons that cause unnecessary suffering. He points to those in the field who understand the realities of mine action, the “epistemic community” that can offer recommendations for effective mine clearance and victim assistance. By paying closer attention to the needs and benefits of the mine-affected, he says, we can do away with distractions and regain the original vision of the APMBC. [Insert JMA icon]
~ Cameron Macauley, CISR staff
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
During the first week of October, CISR Peer Support Specialist Cameron Macauley visited Burundi to supervise the peer support program operated in conjunction with Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) and the Center for Development of Ex-Combatants (CEDAC). The trip included individual visits to war survivors receiving peer support services and a first look at a survey of 756 residents of communities in Muramvya, a province in northwest Burundi.
When the survey data is analyzed, it will provide a snapshot of mental health in this population, which was severely affected by war-related violence during the 15-year conflict. Survivors describe mass executions, rape, torture and forced conscription. Very little has been done to help survivors deal with their psychological trauma.
The peer support program consists of home visits by 30 peer support workers and has been in operation since June 2012. Survivors give enthusiastically positive opinions of the services they received. “No one showed much interest in my problems until the peer support worker began to visit me,” said Joseph Ntawanka, a 70-year-old who was the lone survivor of a massacre in which 32 people died. “Now I have help in solving my problems, and I am thinking in new ways about the past. I have hope that the future will be better.”
“I have been lonely and sad since I lost my arm during the violence that devastated my community,” said Languide Nsabiyumva. “A woman with one arm is nobody—people act as if she doesn’t exist. But my peer support worker cares about me, wants me to feel better. She has made me think about myself differently. When I talk to her I feel as if my life has meaning once again.”
For peer support workers the days are long and strenuous: Many homes are remote and accessible only on foot. However, the rewards of helping others make every step worthwhile. “Even when I’m not working, I think about the people that I’m trying to help,” said Candide Nsabiyumva. “Knowing that I can make a difference in their lives is an inspiration for me.”
Monitoring and evaluation data collected by CEDAC on hundreds of survivors will be analyzed during the next few months and used to improve program activities during 2013. “Each day brings new refinements to this program,” says CEDAC Director Eric Niragira. “We look forward to expanding into new communities and eventually helping the entire nation. We are assisting each other to recover from Burundi’s violent past.”
~ Cameron Macauley, CISR Peer Support Specialist
In partnership with the British NGO Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), CISR staff created a system to monitor and evaluate the impact of a psychosocial support program for victims of armed violence in Burundi. The program, operated by the Center for Development for Ex-Combatants (CEDAC), a Burundian NGO, has been in operation since 2009 but has recently received significant funding which will allow it to enlarge its administration and implement a new system for monitoring and evaluation.
On Wednesday, June 20, CISR handed out graduation certificates to 20 newly trained peer-support workers in Kamonyi, Rwanda. They will work with CISR’s partner organization, IBUKA, which coordinates the activities of other support organizations for genocide survivors. Thanks to CISR’s ongoing technical guidance, IBUKA now has 65 peer-support workers in 30 communities to the north, west and east of the capital, Kigali.
CISR also donated 200 mobile phones so that peer-support workers can keep in touch with their supervisors and contact health care professionals in the event of an emergency or to seek advice on handling psychological trauma.
The community of Kamonyi where this training was held was the scene of some of the worst massacres of the 1994 genocide. More than 90 percent of the Tutsi population died, according to participants in the training, and “the town’s main street ran red with blood.” Some perpetrators still await trial, but Rwanda’s traditional gacaca court system closed June 18 after operating for 10 years. Those awaiting trial will probably go through a standard judicial court, meaning further delays.
“These unresolved issues weigh heavily on the minds of survivors,” said Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, IBUKA’s president and professor of psychology at the National University of Rwanda. “Peer support gives survivors an opportunity to discuss their feelings, which reduces anger and bitterness that can lead to suicide and revenge killings. We encourage all Rwandans to live together peacefully, to take the past as a lesson and to learn positively from it. CISR’s support has helped us create a program that will make the people of Rwanda healthier and more resilient.”
Following up on training workshops CISR conducted in 2011 with its partner organization IBUKA, CISR is participating in a new series of workshops to prepare trainers and new peer-support workers. IBUKA is Rwanda’s largest support network for genocide survivors.
This past week CISR conducted a refresher course for four peer-support trainers, all of them experienced educators and program supervisors for IBUKA peer-support workers, who work with survivors in remote rural communities. IBUKA is expanding its program from 25 peer-support workers to a total of 65 operating in some 30 communities.
Following this training, CISR participated in a workshop for 20 new peer-support workers in the district of Rwamagana, about 50 kilometers east of Kigali. IBUKA had previously selected and trained the participants in trauma counseling prior to the April Genocide Commemoration ceremonies, when many survivors experience emotional distress as they mourn loved ones killed in 1994.
During the third day of this training, farmers accidentally discovered a mass grave containing a large quantity of human remains just outside Rwamagana. Many of the participants believe their family members are among the buried. A few of the remains were easily identifiable by clothing and personal items found in the grave.
While funeral preparations were being made, the participants elected to complete the workshop and used the opportunity to discuss the ongoing psychosocial effects the genocide has had on their community 18 years after the event.
During the first week of June, CISR conducted a workshop for 25 women with disabilities in Bujumbura, Burundi in partnership with the Burundian nongovernmental organization Centre d’Encadrement et de Développement des Anciens Combattants (CEDAC) and the British NGO Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). CISR Trauma Rehabilitation Specialist Cameron Macauley trained the women on peer support’s concepts and basic activities, focusing on the needs and challenges in the lives of disabled women in Burundi. AOAV is also providing training on the rights of people with disabilities.
Approximately 15 percent of the Burundi population is disabled, and women in this group often do not have access to education. Only about 25 percent of disabled Burundian women can read and write.
The trainees were women from several communities in which CEDAC offers services. Among other disabilities, women in the group had upper and lower-limb amputations, paraplegia and hemiplegia. Also included were five women who work with local NGOs that provide services to women with disabilities.
“This training has been very useful in showing us how to help each other,” said Ndagijimana Gloriose of Muramvya Commune. “We are usually considered to be the beneficiaries of services, but now we can provide support for each other. Thanks to CISR and CEDAC for giving us new skills.”