“Survivors are central to efforts”
“Survivors are central to efforts.” Inthis simple sentence, Australia summarizedwhy survivor inclusion is required by theConvention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) andis important in the implementation processof the convention from the beginning to theend: from planning to action and even inmonitoring and evaluation processes. Whileefforts were undertaken to involve survivorsin coordination mechanisms in general, theywere hardly involved. Survivor inclusion ismuch broader than just the involvement of some survivors at a certain moment duringthe implementation process of the CCM.Through article 7 reports on the CCM, someaffected countries demonstrated a broaderview on survivor inclusion. They mentionedproblems in including survivors and personswith disabilities in various sectors of victimassistance. In fact, real involvement of victims under the CCM can only be realized,if the national context stimulatesparticipation of survivors and persons withdisabilities in all areas of social life.Handicap International agrees with LaoPDR that more efforts are needed toactively involve cluster munition survivorsand their representative organizations asrequired under Article 5 of the Convention.In this context, Lao PDR stated that “theinclusion of cluster munition survivors isgreatly supported by the work of the LaoBan Advocates.” Inclusion of survivors within officialdelegations should be supported. HandicapInternational and the Ban Advocatescongratulate Croatia and Bosnia andHerzegovina and any other states doing so.
Newsletter by Handicap International on Landmines and Cluster Munitions12 September 2011, Issue 31
Psychological support and peer support
Over the years, Handicap Internationalorganized training for Ban Advocates from Albania,Afghanistan, Croatia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lao PDR,Lebanon, Serbia, Tajikistan, Vietnam and the UnitedStates of America, including sessions onpsycho-traumatology and individual counselling. Atthe side event on psychological and psychosocialsupport during the Intersessional Standing Committeemeetings on the CCM in Geneva last June, severalsurvivors testified that the support of their family wascrucial. Moreover, the psychological assistancethrough individual sessions by an experienced personseemed to be most needed and useful. At the sideevent organized by Handicap International, aSudanese surgeon, who gave urgent medical care tonumerous victims, explained how necessarypsychological support is immediately after theaccident.
Walking ‘lighter’ through life
A new limb can help a victim to walk.Psychological support can help him to go “lighter” through life. As Pham Quy Thi, a Ban Advocate of Vietnam, once said: “After the accident I felt so heavybut after meeting with the Ban Advocates I felt solight.” Survivors all wish a new, a better and adignified life. They supported each other in theiraspirations, maybe long time before the internationalcommunity realized it should, in a professional way,give assistance to what we call ‘peer support’.Bosnia and Herzegovina and Handicap Internationalinvite all states to a side event on ‘psychological andpsychosocial support with a focus on peer support’ atthe Second Meeting of States Parties on the CCM inBeirut, Lebanon.