Portrait of Kanha, 24, in her everyday life at work and at home, in Pnhom Penh where she live since 4 years. Kanha works as a tailor and want to start again her studies to become a prosthetic and orthotic specialist. In 2005, Kanha was victim of an explos | © Stephen Rae/HI
On October 17, 18, and 19, 2023, in Cambodia, Humanity & Inclusion - Handicap International will participate in the International Conference on Assistance to Victims of Anti-Personnel Landmines and Other Explosive Remnants of War, as well as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This conference will bring together representatives from the United Nations, state representatives, and civil society actors, including representatives of victims organisations, from over 30 countries to assess progress and challenges in the field of assistance to victims, including the implementation of the Oslo Action Plan.
Assistance to victims at the heart of discussions
Assistance to victims (AV) is a crucial component of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention. Its aim is to ensure the well-being of individuals affected by these explosive devices by providing them with access to healthcare services, rehabilitation, psychological and psychosocial support, as well as socio-economic inclusion. It also acknowledges the rights and needs of survivors, their families, and affected communities.
This conference represents a significant opportunity for state parties to assess progress and challenges related to victim assistance, including the implementation of the Oslo Action Plan, which outlines concrete measures for victim assistance. The primary goal of this conference is to enhance transparency and monitoring in achieving victim assistance objectives to meet the needs and uphold the rights of mine and other explosive devices victims, benefiting the broader community of persons with disabilities. These discussions will lay the groundwork for the adoption of a new action plan of the Ottawa Convention in December 2024 that will further guide efforts in victim assistance, for a 5-year duration.
HI's presence at the International Conference
This international gathering also provides experts in victim assistance from over 30 countries with the opportunity to delve deeper into challenges and best practices, aligning national initiatives with the standards set forth by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and working towards sustainable development goals.
Signatory states of the Convention have committed to ensuring the full, equal, and effective participation of mine victims in society, based on human rights, gender equality, inclusion, and non-discrimination.
However, significant obstacles persist hindering access to quality, often vital services, including healthcare, rehabilitation, psychological and psychosocial support, as well as socio-economic inclusion. To shed light on these crucial issues, Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations, as well as specialists in economic inclusion and armed violence reduction, will speak during this conference. Two victims of anti-personnel landmines, Emily Vath and Kanha Theng, will participate also take part in these days of discussion to share their experiences, discuss the challenges they face and remind governments of the long-term needs of survivors of landmines and other explosive devices.. HI calls on states to intensify their efforts in victim assistance within the framework of the new action plan to effectively and sustainably address the needs of victims.
"Every survivor should have access to essential services such as rehabilitation, psychological support, guidance to return to school, find employment, and more. This access to services should also be facilitated for the families of those killed or injured, as well as the entire communities living in contaminated areas. Without these programs, the lives of mine or explosive remnants of war victims can be incredibly challenging." - Emily Vath, who lost her leg in an accident caused by an anti-personnel landmine.