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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Posts tagged "victim assistance"


Whilst traveling in Cambodia, i was told there are no wild elephants left in the country. The only place they are sometimes found is on the border with Thailand which is still riddled with landmines left by the Khmer Rouge. This young elephant is being measured for a prosthetic. 


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.

Cambodian de-miners at work in a mine field in Banteay Meanchey province in northwestern Cambodia. (UNDP/Chansok Lay)

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Bridges Between Worlds Conference

April 3–4 | Medellín, Colombia

CISR attended the global conference last week on Assisting Landmine and Other Explosive Remnants of War Victims and Survivors in the Context of Disability Rights and Other Domains organized by the Implementation Support Unit for the Landmine Ban Convention.

CISR Director Dr. Ken Rutherford served as moderator of the panel “Ways and Means to Assist and Guarantee Rights: Removing Barriers.” The panelists included Gilles Delecourt (Handicap International), Richardo Becerra (Advisor on University Design for the Bogota Disability Technical Secretary), Megan Burke (ICBL and CMC), Steve Estey (former chairperson of Mines Action Canada) and Candria Goffin (Uganda National Action of Physical Disability). 

Rutherford also presented on the panel “Enhancing the Bridge Between Mine/ERW Victim Assistance and Approaches to Health Care and Psycho-social Support.”

CISR’s Dr. Ken Rutherford will be a moderator and panelist this week at the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention's Bridges Between Worlds Global Conference in Medellin, Colombia.


In Mozambique a war veteran sits by the side of a gravel road, begging for food after he lost both his legs due to a landmine.

According to Handicap International, an estimated 20 people step on landmines every month in Mozambique. Sixty percent of them die because they lack access to health services.

Source: Armand Hough

Legacies of War successfully advocates for $12 million in 2014

Legacies of War today announced that the U.S. will be spending $12 million in fiscal year 2014 for unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance, victim assistance and risk education in Laos. The funding was included in the recent omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. The amount represents the largest annual spending by the U.S. to support various groups in Laos working to improve clearance efficiency, lower casualty rates and support current victims.

Legacies of War, a Washington-based nonprofit, has worked hard to focus the attention of the U.S. on the problem of UXO in Laos. “We are pleased to see that the U.S. government is stepping up to meet its responsibility to ensure that the unexploded bombs leftover from the Vietnam War era are finally cleared. We are grateful for the ongoing commitment of the policy makers in Washington and our partners in Laos who are dedicated to solving this four-decade old problem,” said Brett Dakin, Chair of the Board of Legacies of War.

From 1964 to 1973, Laos was involved in the Indochina conflict, and was subjected to the heaviest bombing campaign in history with approximately two million tons of ordnance dropped on the country. Of the 270 million cluster bombs dropped, about thirty-percent never exploded, leaving an estimated 80 million bomblets littering 14 of the 17 provinces in Laos.

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Harrisonburg, VA (10/10/2013) – The Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) at James Madison University (JMU) will travel to Vietnam in 2014 to support its local partner, The Association for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities (AEPD), and launch a public-awareness campaign promoting the rights of people with disabilities (PWDs). The campaign looks to increase awareness among the general public and among government officials of the rights legally afforded to PWDs in Vietnam.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor awarded CISR a $247,500 grant to conduct and support a capacity-building project for AEPD, which is one of Vietnam’s leading organizations promoting economic and social empowerment for PWDs. A three-person CISR project team will travel to Vietnam to conduct the initial trainings in Quang Binh province and Hanoi, and oversee the project’s monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the overall campaign is carried out successfully

This project is a public-advocacy campaign striving toward an inclusive and barrier-free Vietnamese society where PWDs can fulfill their potential, enjoy equal opportunities and continue to productively contribute to their communities.

CISR previously worked on projects in Vietnam, including mine-risk education in Quang Tri province (1999–2000) and victim-assistance work by staff members during previous employment with Survivor Corps. In 2012, CISR conducted a peer-support training workshop in conjunction with AEPD in Vietnam for 41 PWDs, including landmine/unexploded-ordnance victims and people affected by Agent Orange.

In recent years the Vietnamese government passed a series of laws to protect PWD rights. The broadest and most recent is the National Disability Law, enacted in 2010.The CISR education and public-awareness campaign will help AEPD empower communities and local governments to observe the law.

AEPD was born out of the international humanitarian organization Survivor Corps/Landmine Survivors Network, which launched its Vietnam program in 2003 and was co-founded by CISR Director Ken Rutherford.

CISR helps communities affected by conflict and trauma through innovative research, training, information exchange and direct services. CISR was founded at JMU in 1996 as the Mine Action Information Center, becoming CISR in 2008. Since its founding, CISR has worked worldwide to help communities build peaceful and prosperous futures free from the repercussions of war and disaster.

Since independence in 1962, Burundi has been plagued by ethnic tensions between the dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority.1 The most recent eruption of violence in 1993 led to the deaths of an estimated 300,000 people. A long and painful transition to peace thereafter culminated in the first democratic elections in 2005, and the election of Pierre Nkurunziza as President. At the end of 2006 he signed a ceasefire with the rebel FNL and, in 2009, civil war was officially declared to be ended. Nonetheless, especially since the 2010 elections, political tensions have remained high between the CNDD, which controls the government, and opposition parties.

Founded in 2005 in Bujumbura, CEDAC is a local and apolitical non-profit organisation.2 Its founding president, Eric Niragira, was 14 years old in 1993: he lived through the conflict, was forced to support the rebellion and participated in military and political activities. When he returned to school in 1996, he found it a painful experience:

‘On a daily basis, the army would gather fellow Tutsi students to participate in the killing of civilians who lived in the villages surrounding our lycee. When these students would return, the Hutu students were forced to wash their clothing and knives that were full of blood. We did this out of fear of being killed if we refused.’3

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Voices From Laos put together this Youtube video, Voices From Laos National Tour: Highlights and Recap, of the Speakers’ Tour. 

On April 25, James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., was one of those stops.