Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

CISR envisions a world where people can build peaceful and prosperous futures free from the repercussions of conflict and disaster.

We help communities affected by conflict and trauma through innovative and reliable research, training, information exchange, and direct services such as:

Mine Risk Education
Peer Support
Management Training
Scientific Research
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Bashar works with an HI physiotherapist following a shrapnel injury. Photo courtesy of Giles Duley and Handicap International.

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Bashar, 13 years old, was injured in July 2011 during the early stages of the Syrian crisis. Engulfed by the fighting in Deraa, the family was forced to flee their home with their children and look for a safer place to stay. As they were leaving their home a tank shell landed nearby. Shrapnel from the blast shattered Bashar’s left leg and also wounded his brother.

Bashar was rushed to the hospital in Deraa where they put an internal fixture in his left knee and sutured the wound. He already suffered from juvenile arthritis and, as time went on, it became clear that he was not getting the care he needed to recover from his injury. In February 2012, as the conflict escalated, the family decided to leave Syria and seek treatment for Bashar in Jordan.

Once in Jordan, Bashar had further surgery, and his leg was put in a cast, leaving him bedridden for many months. As a result, he was unable to move his left knee joint, his muscles weakened further, and both legs became stiff from lack of use.

HI’s mobile team found Bashar in desperate need of rehabilitation. Having not received proper rehabilitation care for more than a year following his injury, Bashar’s recovery has been painful and slow, made worse by arthritis that makes all of the joints in his body very painful to touch.

As a young boy growing up in Syria, Bashar was often in pain from the inflammation in his joints, but he received treatment for his condition. He could still walk and play football.

Now confined to his family’s rented fifth floor apartment in a small town near the Syrian border, Bashar rarely gets to go outside and can only dream of attending school. If he had received physical therapy sooner, many of his current difficulties could have been avoided.

Muhammad, an HI physical therapist, visits Bashar once a week to provide physical therapy. “We have fitted Bashar with orthoses to help him stand and walk. He can only walk a short distance at the moment, but it’s good. I think he will be able to regain full movement in his legs.”

Muhammad showed the family simple exercises that they do with Bashar every day. HI has also provided Bashar with an adapted wheelchair, a bed and a pressure-relief mattress to keep him comfortable, as well as blankets and a hygiene kit.

It may take another six months for Bashar to stand unsupported, but he is already seeing the benefit of proper care and, after a difficult period, he is happy to finally be on the road to recovery.

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Tom Shelton, communication officer for HI U.K., wrote this case study based on his field reporting in northern Jordan in late March 2013. The full names of beneficiaries and HI staff were not used for security reasons.

CISR Director Ken Rutherford is in Italy for a landmine symposium and will speak on Friday at the JMU–Florence campus to James Madison University students and the broader Florence community.

Ottawa urged to ratify cluster munitions treaty

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A poster for Handicap International’s “Fashion Victim” campaign. The group says some countries continue to use landmines and cluster bombs, which leave many innocent victims in their wake. (CNW Group/Handicap International)


They have been called “weapons of mass destruction in slow motion” and have killed or maimed hundreds of thousands over the past century. 

Today, landmine accidents claim about 12 lives per day in over 80 countries and territories around the world. There are an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 landmine survivors globally—most of whom are innocent civilians who have lost limbs or suffer permanent disability from their injuries.

Anti-landmine group Handicap International Canada aims to change these grim statistics with its new “Fashion Victim” campaign, which raises awareness of the ongoing use of landmines and cluster bombs and the many innocent victims they leave in their wake.

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A short video from The Cluster Project that raises awareness of cluster munitions in Vietnam from a farmer-survivor perspective

Portraits of Peace: Middle school students raise landmine awareness through art


Monongalia Arts Center
Benedum Gallery
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 Landmineswww.icbl.org

United States Campaign to Ban Landmineswww.uscbl.org

West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombswww.wvcbl.org

Kabibi Tabu, a 23-year old young woman who lost both legs and her six-month old baby in a landmine blast in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(via queseraxx-deactivated20140414)

She is now married mother-of-three and works for local government

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Raising Awareness: Princess Diana strokes landmine victim Sandra Tigica’s face in 1997

She was 13 and about to receive a prosthetic leg when Princess Diana visited her.

Poignant images of Sandra Tigica’s 1997 meeting with the Princess of Wales were beamed around the globe, highlighting the appalling problems in Angola, which had the world’s highest rate of death and disability caused by landmines.

Sandra’s left leg had been blown off by a landmine three years earlier as she fled from fighting in her country’s civil war. 

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Malek Mohammad received treatment in the U.S. after becoming the victim of land mine explosions.

DIVING IN: Afghan amputee Malek Mohammad trains in a swimming pool in Kabul. (Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP)


KABUL — Afghan teenager Malek Mohammad balances on his hands, readies his stumps, then dives perilously into the water. The 18-year-old, whose legs were blown off by a Soviet landmine, dreams of swimming for Afghanistan in the London Paralympics.
 
"I hope they select me to participate in the London Games. So I am just praying,” he told AFP at the small pool where he trains in Kabul, in a nation known better for a deadly Taliban insurgency than international sporting prowess.
 
"If I get a medal from the Olympics that will be good for my country, for my people. Disabled people will be proud of me, my family, everyone."

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War photographer Giles Duley with his loving partner Jennie Robertson


It is an overcast morning and commuters are shuffling along the streets of London. In their midst a man walks tall, his keen eyes  taking in life all around him, and there’s a smile on his face. Giles Duley is overjoyed to be alive.

After spending ten years photographing the stars of the music world, he had become disillusioned, put his belongings into storage and decided to do something ‘more worthwhile’. That meant roaming the globe, documenting the plight of refugees and the victims of war.

It was a decision that almost cost him his life. On February 7 last year, he was  on patrol with American soldiers in Afghanistan when he stepped on a landmine, suffering terrible injuries that would make him a triple amputee, with just his right arm remaining.


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Thousands of people are still being killed or injured by landmines – many of them children – and it is time to step up efforts to eradicate them, says charity

In 2010 - Joao was working a few metres from his house to collect some wood in a village near Luena, Moxico Province, in Angola. He was building a fence to keep his goats safe from thieves. A few seconds later, there was an explosion. Joao had stood on an anti-personnel landmine. With a flash and a blast, one of his legs had gone. It is hard to believe, but Joao was one of the lucky ones. He is still alive. Anti-personnel landmines take many shapes and forms; some of them designed to kill, many just designed to maim - as much an attack on the mind as on the body. 

The fear this deliberately creates deep psychological effects on the millions of civilians, who still live their lives at risk of mines and other explosive remnants of conflict worldwide. Take 15-year-old Mohamed, for example. He lost most of his left hand and suffered injuries across his body last year after handling part of a rifle grenade that had landed near his house in Misrata, Libya. With an inquisitiveness typical of children everywhere, Mohamed had taken the item home for his brothers to play with. A couple of days later, he was holding it and it exploded. His mother rushed into his room to find her son covered in blood. Now, after four operations, he is recovering. However, Mohamed is too shy and too ashamed to go out much. When he does, he tries to hide what is left of his hand in his pocket. His family are lucky and happy to have their son alive, but must now cope with his injuries – the result of innocent curiosity and the lethal legacy of war.

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