New Casualties in 2002-2003
The number of landmine survivors continues to grow as new casualties are reported in every region of the world. In 2002 and through June 2003, Landmine Monitor finds that there were new landmine casualties reported in 65 countries; up from 61 countries reported in Landmine Monitor Report 2002. Landmine Monitor also registered mine casualties in seven other areas that it monitors because of their significant landmine problem. In calendar year 2002, new landmine casualties were recorded in 61 countries and all seven areas. In early 2003, mine casualties were recorded in another four countries.
Landmine Casualties January 2002-June 2003
|Africa||Americas||Asia/Pacific||Europe/Central Asia||Middle East/North Africa|
Bold: Non-States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty
Compared to last year’s Landmine Monitor Report, there are eight new countries with reported mine casualties: Belarus, China, Indonesia, Malawi, Niger, North Korea, Tunisia, and Zambia. There are four countries that had reported casualties previously, but not in this time period: Armenia, Bangladesh, Cuba, and Poland.
In addition to countries reporting landmine casualties, Landmine Monitor recorded nine countries with new casualties in 2002-2003 that were caused by unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from earlier conflicts: Republic of Congo, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Nigeria, Poland, and Slovakia.
Scale of the Problem
While acknowledging that it is not possible to know with absolute certainty, it is likely that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 new landmine casualties each year. Progress has been made since the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force, nevertheless, landmines continue to claim too many new casualties in too many countries. Based on the information gathered for Landmine Monitor Report 2003, it is clear that:
- Landmines continue to pose a significant, lasting and non-discriminatory threat;
- Civilians account for the vast majority of new landmine casualties; only 15 percent of reported casualties in 2002 were identified as military personnel;
- Not only mine-affected countries have a problem with landmines; nationals from 39 countries (including 15 mine-free countries) were killed or injured by landmines while outside their own borders.
In 2002-2003, as shown in the table, mine casualties are still occurring in every region of the world: in twenty countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in fifteen Asia-Pacific countries, in fifteen countries in Europe and Central Asia, in ten countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and in five countries in the Americas. Ongoing conflict is a significant problem in some of these countries, but Landmine Monitor finds that 41 of the 65 countries that suffered new mine casualties in 2002-2003 had not experienced any active conflict during the research period. In many cases, the conflict had ended a decade or more ago.
For seven of the eight countries added to the list, the reason for inclusion was that new incidents of mine casualties were reported, rather than the onset of a new or ongoing conflict.
Several mine-affected countries are not on the list reporting new mine casualties. It is possible that there were mine incidents in some of these other countries; however, there was a lack of tangible evidence to confirm new casualties.
In 2002-2003, the following countries had nationals killed or injured by mines/UXO while abroad engaged in military or demining operations, peacekeeping, or other activities: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, The Gambia, Germany, India, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Perú, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia, South Africa, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Zimbabwe.
In 2002 and the first half of 2003, mine accidents during clearance operations or in training exercises caused casualties among deminers and soldiers in Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, DR Congo, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, South Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Perú, Philippines, Russia (Chechnya), Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, US, Vietnam, and Yemen. There were also unconfirmed reports of demining casualties in other countries.
Casualty Data Collection
Landmine Monitor identified over 11,700 new landmine/UXO casualties in calendar year 2002. This included at least 2,649 children (23 percent) and 192 women (2 percent). Less than 15 percent of reported casualties were identified as military personnel. It is important to remember, however, that the 11,700 figure represents the reported casualties and does not take into account the many casualties that are believed to go unreported, as innocent civilians are killed or injured in remote areas away from any form of assistance or means of communication.
Comprehensive data on landmine/UXO casualties is difficult to obtain, particularly in countries experiencing ongoing conflict, or with minefields in remote areas, or with limited resources to monitor public health services. The sources used to identify new casualties include databases, government records, hospital records, media reports, surveys, assessments, and interviews.
The reported casualty rate declined in 2002 from 2001 in the majority of mine-affected countries. Where an increase was reported in 2002 this generally appears to be due to population movements within affected areas (Cambodia), or to a new or expanded conflict (India and Palestine). In other mine-affected countries, the increase appears to be largely the result of improved data collection: Burma, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Pakistan, and Thailand. In Chechnya and Colombia, both factors contributed to significantly higher numbers of reported casualties.
In several mine-affected countries, mine incident and casualty data is collected and stored using the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) or other comparable databases. Of the 65 countries, and seven areas, reporting new mine casualties in 2002-2003, only 25 countries and four areas report using IMSMA, or other databases, to record casualty data. Of those, only 18 countries and two areas provided Landmine Monitor with full year data. Even with a functioning data collection system in place it is believed that not all mine casualties are reported. IMSMA has the capacity to record mine casualty data; however a reported lack of human and financial resources sometimes prevents this facility from being used effectively. The principal collectors of mine casualty data are the mine action centers, the ICRC, UNICEF, and a number of NGOs.
Although Landmine Monitor considers that in some instances reported casualty figures are incomplete and understated, a sampling of the findings for calendar year 2002 from countries and areas with established mine casualty databases follows:
- In Afghanistan, 1,286 casualties recorded, down from 1,445 in 2001. It is still, however, estimated that there are around 150 new casualties each month;
- In Cambodia, 834 casualties recorded, up from 829 in 2001;
- In Colombia, 530 casualties reported, up 145 percent from the 216 reported in 2001;
- In Iraq, 457 casualties recorded in the northern governorates, up from 360 in 2001;
- In Angola, 287 casualties recorded, down from 673 in 2001, however, NGOs and UN sources report a dramatic increase in mine incidents;
- In Sri Lanka, 142 casualties recorded, down from 207 in 2001, although the data is reportedly incomplete;
- In Pakistan, 111 casualties reported, up from 92 in 2001;
- In Laos, 99 casualties recorded, down from 122 in 2001, however, it is not clear whether the reduction is due to fewer incidents or a reduced capacity to collect data;
- In Eritrea, 78 casualties recorded in the Temporary Security Zone, down from 154 in 2001;
- In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 72 casualties recorded, down from 87 in 2001;
- In Ethiopia, 67 casualties reported, down from 71 in 2001 (data is only available for the Tigray and Afar regions);
- In Senegal, 56 casualties reported, the same number as in 2001;
- In Mozambique, 47 casualties recorded, down from 80 in 2001;
- In Lebanon, 42 casualties reported, down from 85 in 2001;
- In Kosovo, 15 casualties recorded, down from 22 in 2001;
- In Croatia, 29 casualties recorded, down from 30 in 2001;
- In Nicaragua, 15 casualties recorded, down from 19 in 2001;
- In Nagorno-Karabakh, 15 casualties recorded, down from 18 in 2001;
- In Albania, 7 casualties recorded, down from 8 in 2001;
- In FYR Macedonia, 4 casualties recorded, down from 38 in 2001.
In other mine-affected countries, limited data on landmine/UXO casualties is collected from government ministries and agencies, international agencies and NGOs, hospitals, media reports, and country campaigns of the ICBL. In some cases, available data is well below the estimates of the number of people killed or injured by landmines each year. For example, in Burma estimates have previously been as high as 1,500 casualties a year. In Chechnya, the Ministry of Health released casualty data for the first time, reporting new mine and UXO casualties that exceeded previously available statistics.
- In Chechnya, 5,695 mine and UXO casualties reported, up from 2,140 in 2001;
- In India, 523 casualties reported, up from 332 in 2001;
- In Chad, 200 casualties reported, up from 10 recorded in IMSMA in 2001;
- In Nepal, 177 civilian mine and improvised explosive device casualties reported, including 46 children;
- In Vietnam, 166 casualties reported, down from 237 in 2001, however, estimates include 1,110 people killed and 1,882 injured every year “on average;”
- In Burundi, 114 civilian casualties, down from 116 in 2001;
- In Burma (Myanmar), 114 casualties reported, up from 57 in 2001;
- In Georgia, 70 casualties reported, down from 98 in 2001;
- In Sudan, 68 casualties reported by a limited number of sources;
- In Palestine, 57 casualties reported, up from 20 in 2001;
- In Somalia, 53 casualties reported by a limited number of sources;
- In Turkey, 40 casualties reported, down from 58 in 2001;
- In Thailand, 36 casualties reported, up from 24 in 2001;
- In Guinea-Bissau, 33 casualties reported, up from 8 in 2001;
- In Iran, 32 civilian casualties reported, up from 18 civilians in 2001;
- In DR Congo, 32 casualties reported, down from 135 in 2001;
- In Yemen, 22 casualties reported, up from 21 in 2001;
- In Namibia, 19 casualties reported, down from 50 in 2001;
- In Jordan, 15 casualties reported, up from 8 in 2001;
- In the Republic of Korea, 15 casualties reported, up from 4 in 2001;
- In Tajikistan, 9 casualties reported, down from 29 in 2001;
- In Uganda, 7 casualties reported, down from 32 in 2001;
- In Serbia and Montenegro, 5 casualties reported, down from 32 in 2001.
Casualties continue to be reported in 2003. For example in Afghanistan, 412 new casualties were reported to 30 June; in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 27 new casualties to 9 May; in Cambodia, 371 new casualties reported to the end of May; and in Sri Lanka, 12 new casualties were reported in January. In Iraq, the mine/UXO casualty rate rose considerably due to the hostilities. During March and April the number of reported mine/UXO casualties increased by 90 percent in the north compared to the same period in 2002. In 2003 through May, 493 new mine/UXO casualties were recorded in the northern region.
Addressing the Needs of Survivors
A landmine incident can cause various injuries to an individual including the loss of limbs, abdominal, chest and spinal injuries, blindness, deafness, and less visible psychological trauma not only to the person injured in the incident, but to the families of those killed or injured.
The Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration promotes a comprehensive integrated approach to victim assistance that rests on a three-tiered definition of a landmine victim. This means that a “mine victim” includes directly affected individuals, their families, and mine-affected communities. Consequently, victim assistance is viewed as a wide range of activities that benefit individuals, families and communities.
However, throughout the Landmine Monitor Report 2003 the term Survivor Assistance is used in the country reports to describe activities aimed at the individuals directly affected by a landmine incident. The use of the term survivor is intended to emphasize this distinction.
The Mine Ban Treaty requires, in Article 6, Paragraph 3, that “Each State in a position to do so shall provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of mine victims....” In many mine-affected countries the assistance available to address the needs of survivors is inadequate and it would appear that additional outside assistance is needed to provide for the care and rehabilitation of mine survivors.
The number of landmine/UXO survivors requiring assistance continues to grow every year. The exact number of mine survivors in the world is unknown, although previous estimates suggest there could be more than 300,000. Through Landmine Impact Surveys and increased data collection more information is becoming available. For example, in Afghanistan the database now contains information on 5,405 people injured in mine incidents since 1998, in Bosnia and Herzegovina the database records 3,871 people injured since 1992, and in Cambodia the database records 38,875 people injured since 1979.
In addition to the new casualties registered in 2002-2003, Landmine Monitor has identified 42 other countries with, in medical terms, a “residual caseload” of landmine survivors from previous years. In other words, many countries with no new reported landmine casualties nevertheless have landmine survivors from prior years that continue to require assistance. Consequently, almost two-thirds of the countries in the world – 124 countries including those with nationals injured abroad – are affected to some extent by the landmine/UXO problem and the issue of survivors.
The Mine Ban Treaty sets no time frame for mine victim assistance, as it does for mine clearance and stockpile destruction. The needs of landmine survivors are long-term, in many instances lasting a lifetime. A landmine survivor will require ongoing medical and rehabilitation services, and services assisting their socioeconomic reintegration and psychological well-being. For amputees, prostheses wear-out, and need repairs or replacement. Medical problems can resurface years after the original incident. Similarly, socioeconomic reintegration is not always easily achievable or sustainable. Vocational training programs and other methods to facilitate economic reintegration struggle to succeed in economies facing high levels of unemployment in the general population.
To ensure sustainability, assistance to landmine survivors should be viewed as a part of a country’s overall public health and social services system. Within those general systems, deliberate care must be built in to ensure that landmine survivors and other persons with disability receive the same opportunities in life – for health care, social services, a life-sustaining income, education, and participation in the community – as every other sector of a society. The ultimate goal of survivor assistance programs should be the complete rehabilitation of mine survivors and their reintegration into the wider community. Providing resources to support programs that address the needs of landmine survivors is in effect assisting to build the infrastructure that will benefit all persons with disabilities in a mine-affected country.
Capacities of Affected States to Provide Assistance to Landmine Survivors
The principal actors in landmine victim assistance generally agree that assistance includes the following components:
- Pre-hospital Care (first aid and management of injuries)
- Hospital Care (medical care, surgery, pain management)
- Rehabilitation (physiotherapy, prosthetic appliances and assistive devices, psychological support)
- Social and Economic Reintegration (associations of persons with disabilities, skills and vocational training, income generating projects, sports)
- Disability policy and practice (education and public awareness and disability laws)
- Health and Social Welfare Surveillance and Research capacities (data collection, processing, analysis, and reporting)
A detailed analysis of efforts and capacities of mine-affected States to address the needs of landmine survivors, and persons with disabilities in general, is beyond the scope of the research undertaken for Landmine Monitor. Based on a purely quantitative analysis of the information available in the Landmine Monitor Report 2003, it would appear that most countries have facilities to address some of the needs of landmine survivors. However, Landmine Monitor has identified 48 mine-affected countries with new mine casualties in 2002 where one or more aspects of survivor assistance are reportedly inadequate. This is also the case for the seven mine-affected areas on which Landmine Monitor reports. Even when services exist, they are often long distances from mine-affected areas, making them inaccessible to many survivors, are too expensive for survivors to afford, or are bureaucratically off-limits to one group or another.
From the research collected in 2002-2003, several general observations can be made:
- Most services are still located in urban centers, but the majority of mine survivors can be found in rural areas where the concentration of mine pollution is greatest;
- The majority of resources continues to be directed towards medical and physical rehabilitation;
- The availability of assistance in psycho-social support and economic reintegration continues to be limited;
- International organizations, NGOs, and UN agencies continue to play a key role in the delivery of services to mine survivors;
- Local NGOs often lack the financial resources to continue programs after international organizations have withdrawn;
- On-going conflict and the consequent security concerns in some mine-affected countries severely limit the ability of the government and international agencies to provide assistance to landmine survivors;
- The economic situation of many mine-affected countries remains an obstacle to the provision of adequate assistance to landmine survivors;
- The development of programs that address the long-term needs of landmine survivors, and other persons with disability, is hampered by the practice of some donors to only fund programs for a limited period of time. A commitment to long-term funding is needed to ensure sustainability and to build local capacities to continue the programs;
- In a positive development, more mine-affected States are now taking, or have taken, steps to develop a plan of action to address the needs of mine survivors, or more generally to improve rehabilitation services for all persons with disabilities.
Emergency and Continuing Medical Care
In 2002 and the first half of 2003, at least 1,491 landmine casualties were identified in hospital records, including 364 casualties in Africa, 21 in Americas, 954 in Asia/Pacific, 17 in Europe/Central Asia, and 135 in Middle East/North Africa.
- In Albania, the health infrastructure in mine-affected areas is inadequate for the treatment and rehabilitation of mine survivors.
- In Angola, less than 30 percent of the population has access to health care, and few facilities are available for mine survivors and other persons with disabilities.
- In Iraq, some health facilities lack running water and constant electricity supplies, equipment has not been properly maintained, and there is a lack of well-trained and experienced health care workers.
- In Nepal, three of the eight hospitals providing assistance to mine/IED casualties reported difficulties in providing treatment due to financial constraints.
- In Yemen, 132 mine survivors received various forms of medical assistance from government-organized programs.
In 2002 and 2003, Landmine Monitor identified a total of 128,348 patients or services in the area of physical rehabilitation, including at least 15,994 services for landmine survivors. This includes 34,647 services in Africa, at least 1,994 for survivors; 320 services in Americas, at least 280 for survivors; 52,000 services in Asia/Pacific, at least 9,619 for survivors; 37,815 services in Europe/Central Asia, at least 3,423 for survivors; and 3,566 services in Middle East/North Africa, at least 678 for survivors.
- In Angola, the Ministry of Health is developing a national policy for physical rehabilitation.
- In Kosovo, the Ministry of Health has appointed an officer for physical medicine and rehabilitation to strengthen the rehabilitation sector.
- In Somaliland, the recent Landmine Impact Survey found that of 184 recent mine survivors, most had received emergency medical care but very few had received rehabilitation.
- In Syria, emergency and rehabilitation services will be improved in the mine-affected area with the opening of a community rehabilitation center, a physiotherapy center, and the construction of a 120-bed hospital.
In 2002, ICRC prosthetic/orthotic centers produced 16,921 prostheses (including 10,098 for landmine survivors), 13,365 orthoses (including 101 for mine survivors), 17,052 pairs of crutches, and 1,598 wheelchairs. According to data collected by Landmine Monitor, NGOs and other agencies working in mine-affected countries also produced or distributed at least 20,651 prostheses, 9,480 orthoses, 13,705 crutches, 3,019 wheelchairs, 25,206 other assistive devices and components, and repaired 975 prostheses; at least 5,727 devices were for mine survivors.
- In Algeria, the Ben Aknoun prosthetic/orthotic center began production and assisted 61 mine survivors during the year, the majority of which were mine survivors from Western Sahara.
- In Chechnya, the Grozny Prosthetic/Orthotic Center started production.
- In Ethiopia, a physiotherapy unit and gait-training area is being developed to expand and improve the quality of services available at the Dessie orthopedic center.
- In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the ICRC launched an amputee rehabilitation program in a newly renovated prosthetic center in Songrim.
- In India, civilian mine survivors living in remote border villages have no access to rehabilitation services; however, the government has indicated its support for the rehabilitation of survivors, including their socioeconomic reintegration.
- In Georgia, the Tbilisi Orthopedic Center had 458 amputees on its waiting list for services as at the end of December 2002.
- In Namibia, the ICRC-upgraded Rundu prosthetic/orthotic workshop began production.
Landmine Monitor recorded 10,965 people that received psycho-social support, including at least 3,074 survivors. This included 3,618 people in Africa, at least 1,152 landmine survivors; 183 in Americas, at least 60 survivors; 833 in Asia/Pacific, at least 522 survivors; 5,904 in Europe/Central Asia, at least 1,127 survivors; and 427 in Middle East/North Africa, at least 213 survivors.
- In Perú, a new society, the Association of Victims and Survivors of Landmines, has been created.
- In Russia, the St. Petersburg Elks participated in the first World Standing Amputee Ice Hockey Championships in Helsinki; seven mine survivors are on the team.
Vocational Training and Economic Reintegration
Landmine Monitor recorded 1,975 people assisted with vocational training and/or economic reintegration, including at least 824 survivors. This included 541 people in Africa, at least 417 survivors; 244 in Americas, at least 154 survivors; 778 in Asia/Pacific, at least 150 survivors; 313 in Europe/Central Asia, at least 99 survivors; and 99 in Middle East/North Africa, at least four mine survivors.
Although many mine survivors and actors in survivor assistance regard vocational training, opportunities for employment, and economic reintegration as a high priority, there is little evidence to show concrete progress in this area.
- In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a survey of around 1,200 mine survivors in Bosnia and Herzegovina revealed that 31 percent of respondents regard the lack of employment opportunities and economic reintegration as their main concern.
- In DR Congo, a social fund for mine survivors was created at the level of the Presidency.
- In Lebanon, more attention is reportedly needed on employment and economic reintegration activities.
- In Nicaragua, the government called for stronger socioeconomic reintegration efforts to assist mine survivors.
- In Sri Lanka, the UNDP Disability Assistance Project was started in Jaffna to promote the economic reintegration of mine survivors and other persons with physical disabilities.
- In Vietnam, 60 percent of survivors in Quang Tri have “poverty cards” identifying them as below the national poverty line.
At least 4,256 surgeons, nurses, first aid providers, prosthetic/orthotic technicians and physical therapists received training in 2002. This included 3,186 local healthcare providers in Africa, 16 in Americas, 932 in Asia/Pacific, 122 in Europe/Central Asia, and an unknown number in Middle East/North Africa.
- In Eritrea, the UNDP Capacity Building Program in Victim Assistance is working with the government to build national capacity to provide adequate assistance to mine survivors.
- In Jordan, an amputation surgery workshop was held for surgeons from the Ministry of Health and the Hussein Medical Center.
Landmine survivor assistance, as with assistance for all persons with disabilities, is more than just a medical and rehabilitation issue; it is also a human rights issue. Until this is recognized and addressed people with a disability will continue to face significant barriers to their social and economic reintegration.
- In Afghanistan, the Transitional Islamic Government established the National Disabled Commission, which will draft a comprehensive law on the rights of persons with disabilities.
- In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the “Development Strategy for BiH: PRSP (poverty reduction strategy policy) and Social Protection of People with Disabilities” includes a proposal for a law on the protection of people with disabilities, without distinction to the cause of disability.
- In Croatia, the Parliament passed a resolution accepting a new national strategy aimed at improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities, without distinction to the cause of disability.
In mine-affected country reports in this Landmine Monitor Report 2003, information is provided on the facilities that have been identified as assisting landmine survivors and other persons with disabilities. Many of these facilities were asked to report on how many people were assisted in 2002, and how many were landmine survivors. Landmine Monitor was not always able to get this information and some facilities do not keep records on the cause of injury, as all persons with disabilities are treated equally. Some facilities reported not having the capacity to record any form of data. Nevertheless, while acknowledging that the data is far from complete, it does give an indication of where additional attention may be needed in landmine survivor assistance. It is also recognized that the figures presented in the preceding sections do not represent the total number of individuals assisted, as one person may have accessed several of the services recorded.
- In Cambodia, an external evaluation of the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS) reported that the system is “unique in the world in terms of coverage and detail.”
- In Colombia, as part of the Comprehensive Action Against Antipersonnel Mines (AIMCA), the OAS Mine Action Program in Colombia supported the implementation of the Antipersonnel Mines Observatory to record and monitor information on mine casualties and mine survivors.
- In El Salvador, a recent census by the Association of War Wounded of El Salvador identified around 3,700 landmine survivors.
Coordination and Planning
Following the results of an UNMAS consultative process undertaken on behalf of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, coordination and planning by mine-affected States was identified as a key priority to ensure adequate assistance for mine survivors. In a positive development, more mine-affected States are now taking, or have taken, steps to develop a plan of action to address the needs of mine survivors, or more generally to improve rehabilitation services for all persons with disabilities.
- In Albania, the Albanian Mines Action Executive (AMAE) has appointed an MRE and victim assistance officer to coordinate activities and develop a plan of action for addressing the needs of mine survivors.
- In Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) has appointed a victim assistance officer to coordinate activities of the Mine Victim Assistance Working Group and develop a long-term assistance program.
- In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Mine Action Center plans to establish a mine victim assistance coordination group to develop a plan of action.
- In Chile, the government announced that survivor assistance would be an integral part of the new National Demining Commission’s work.
- In Guinea-Bissau, the National Mine Action Center organized its first meeting to elaborate a national plan of action to support mine survivors.
- In Laos, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare held the Second National Workshop on Victim Assistance to follow up on initiatives undertaken in 2001.
- In Mozambique, the National Demining Institute’s Five Year National Mine Action Plan (2002-2006) affirms its coordinating role in mine victim assistance.
- In Rwanda, a national plan for the rehabilitation of persons with a physical disability was drafted.
- In Slovenia, the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance facilitated a regional study on mine victim assistance in the Balkans to identify gaps and promote regional cooperation.
- In Somalia, a Minister of Disabled and Rehabilitation was named in the new cabinet of the Transitional National Government.
- In Sudan, the National Mine Action Office has recruited a Victim Assistance Officer to assist in capacity building and develop a plan of action for victim assistance.
- In Thailand, a comprehensive model for victim assistance has been designed; however, the national plan of action recommended in November 2001 has not been completed.
- In Zimbabwe, a Victims Assistance, Rehabilitation, Reintegration, and Resettlement Office was established as part of the Zimbabwe Mine Action Center.
The Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration (SC-VA) has been co-chaired by Colombia and France since September 2002 and the co-rapporteurs are Australia and Croatia (who will become co-chairs in September 2003). Two intersessional meetings of the SC-VA were held in February and May 2003. More information on the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, including texts of presentations, is available at www.gichd.ch.
In 2003, the SC-VA continued to identify practical means to assist States Parties in meeting their obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty in relation to mine victim assistance. It placed an increased emphasis on hearing concrete plans of action from mine-affected States for the care and rehabilitation of landmine survivors. The SC-VA focused on the priority areas for victim assistance identified during an UNMAS consultative process in 2002: emergency and continuing medical care; physical rehabilitation / prosthetics; psychological and social support; economic reintegration; and laws, public policies and national planning. Fifteen States Parties presented their plans, progress and priorities for mine victim assistance, and their problems in meeting needs, to the SC-VA during its 2003 meetings (Afghanistan, Albania, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Croatia, DR Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Namibia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, Tajikistan, and Zambia), as well as Turkey, a non-State Party.
Eleven States Parties reported on their policies and initiatives to support mine-affected States in providing funding and other assistance to mine victims (Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). In February, the SC-VA welcomed four survivors from Thailand and two survivors from Laos, taking part in the Raising the Voicesinitiative. At the May meetings, ten Raising the Voices participants from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated and made focused and substantive interventions.
The ICBL’s Working Group on Victim Assistance (WGVA) participated in the SC-VA 2003 meetings. Its co-chair (Landmine Survivors Network) and the Landmine Monitor thematic research coordinator on victim assistance gave presentations on aspects of progress in the implementation of Article 6.3. In May 2003, representatives of the WGVA met with several NGOs working in prosthetics and orthotics to develop a joint strategy and specific plans to strengthen coordination, collaboration, and long-term planning in mine-affected countries. Details on the WGVA are available at www.icbl.org.
Voluntary Form J of the Article 7 transparency report, developed by the SC-VA, allows States Parties to report on victim assistance measures, mine action activities, and any other matters. As of 31 July 2003, a total of 27 States Parties submitted Form J with their Article 7 reports for 2002, including eleven mine-affected States Parties (Albania, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Malawi, Mozambique, Perú, Philippines, Tajikistan, Thailand, and Zimbabwe) and 16 non-affected States Parties (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, México, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, South Africa, and Sweden). In addition, three mine-affected States Parties (Guinea-Bissau, Nicaragua, and Yemen) provided casualty and victim assistance information in Form I of their Article 7 reports.
Among the 29 countries where UNICEF is supporting mine action, eleven have survivor assistance components. UNICEF focuses on access of mine survivors and other people with disability to services and programs, rather than on service provision itself. It advocates for and with mine survivors and other people with disabilities to ensure their voices are heard, rights respected, basic needs met and that they are able to fully participate in their societies.
In December 2001, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to establish an Ad Hoc Committee to consider proposals for an international convention to “promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.” The Ad Hoc Committee first met from 29 July to 9 August 2002 and again from 16-27 June 2003, where it agreed to establish a Working Group to prepare and present a draft text for the “Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.” The Working Group will be comprised of 27 governmental representatives and 12 NGO representatives, particularly organizations of, and for, persons with disabilities. The Working Group is scheduled to meet for ten days in early 2004 to prepare the draft text, which will then be discussed at the Third Session of the Ad Hoc Committee in May/June 2004.
In addition to governments, participants in the Ad Hoc Committee meetings included representatives from NGOs, academic institutions, legal experts, specialists in disabilities, and people with a disability, including those representing mine survivors. In a scenario reminiscent of negotiations for the Mine Ban Treaty, the active participation of civil society, and people with disabilities themselves, has made a significant contribution to the progress achieved so far.
 For the purposes of Landmine Monitor research, casualties include the individual killed or injured as a result of an incident involving antipersonnel mines, antivehicle mines, improvised explosive devices, dud cluster munitions, and other unexploded ordnance. From the information available in many countries it is not always possible to determine with certainty the type of weapon that caused the incident. Where this level of detail is available, information is included in the country report.
 Landmine Monitor Report 2002 recorded 61 countries with mine/UXO casualties and nine with UXO casualties.
 These include Abkhazia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Palestine, Somaliland, and Western Sahara. Northern Iraq is no longer being reported separately from the rest of Iraq.
 Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi and Niger recorded landmine casualties in early 2003. Kenya and Kyrgyzstan also recorded casualties caused by UXO in 2002.
 Landmine Monitor identified 9,405 new mine/UXO casualties in calendar year 2001, including revised statistics obtained from various sources during the course of research for this year’s report. The significantly larger number of reported casualties in 2002 is attributable to improved data collection in a few mine-affected countries, rather than an actual increase in the number of casualties. Most notably, the reported number of casualties in Chechnya in 2002 is 5,695, compared to 2,140 in 2001, yet there is no evidence that the number of mine incidents or casualties increased dramatically during 2002. Previously, official data was not available for Chechnya. The 2002 figure was reported by the Chechen Ministry of Health.
 The figures for mine casualties involving women and children should be viewed as a minimum; in many instances this level of detail was not made available to Landmine Monitor.
 For further information, see ICBL Working Group on Victim Assistance, Guidelines for the Care and Rehabilitation of Survivors; see also, Providing assistance to landmine victims: A collection of guidelines, best practices and methodologies, compiled by the Co-Chairs of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance, Socio-Economic Reintegration and Mine Awareness, May 2001.
 More detailed information is compiled by Handicap International in Landmine Victim Assistance: World Report 2002 which examines a wide range of indicators to determine a State’s capacity to adequately address the needs of persons with disabilities, including landmine survivors.
 ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programs, “Annual Report 2002,” Geneva, June 2003.
 In addition, Bulgaria, DR Congo, Denmark, Jamaica, Romania, and Rwanda submitted the Form J to report on other issues.
 UNGA Resolution 56/168.
 For more information see www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/; see also www.rightsforall.com.