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Vietnam

Last Updated: 08 August 2012

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Casualties

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2011

104,902 mine/ERW casualties (38,922 killed; 65,980 injured)

Casualties in 2011

31 (2010: 42 )

2011 casualties by outcome

14 killed; 17 injured (2010: 8 killed; 34 injured)

2011 casualties by device type

1 mine; 30 ERW

Details and trends

On the basis of incomplete data,[1] at least 31 new mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties were identified in Vietnam in 2011. All but one casualty were civilians: 26 civilian casualties were adult men, two were women and two were boys.[2] One military deminer was injured during clearance operations in 2011 by an antipersonnel mine in Dak Nong province.[3] The 2011 total represented a decrease from the 42 casualties reported in 2010.

At least 104,902 mine/ERW casualties, (38,922 killed; 65,980 injured) have been reported in Vietnam. It was reported that from 1975 to the end of 2007, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) recorded 104,701 mine/ERW casualties (38,849 killed; 65,852 injured).[4] The total number of casualties is not known due “inadequate statistics” and the absence of a nationwide casualty data collection mechanism.[5] The semi-governmental organization Project RENEW recorded 7,081 mine/ERW casualties (including 2,637 people killed) between 1975 and the end of 2011 in Quang Tri Province alone.[6]

At least 2,111 casualties from incidents involving cluster munition remnants were reported as of the end of 2011. However, one estimate put the likely total of such casualties as high as 34,000.[7] In many cases, the type of explosive remnants causing casualties could not be determined and all these were recorded as ERW casualties, although there were likely many among them caused by unexploded submunitions. [8] In addition, numerous casualties during cluster munition strikes have been reported.[9]

Victim Assistance

The total number of mine/ERW survivors is unknown, but has been estimated to be between 66,000 and 100,000.[10]

Summary of victim assistance efforts since 1999

Vietnam does not have a national casualty data collection system, however a major study of survivor needs was made by an NGO in 2006 and updated in 2010. Clear Path International (CPI) continued the geographic expansion of passive surveillance together with services to new survivors while it transitioned to national management. Coordination among governmental bodies responsible for the provision of victim assistance and the protection of the rights of persons with disability improved considerably since 2010.[11] The number of the survivors that received services by both government agencies and civil society organizations or NGOs gradually increased. The NGO and local government collaboration, Project RENEW, steadily increased its services to survivors and the capacity-building of local medical institutions. Landmine Survivors Network Vietnam (LSNV) became the first organization to include survivors in the design and provision of services and the only international NGO to successfully transition from an international to a national NGO, becoming the Association for Empowerment for Persons with Disability (AEPD) in 2010.

Survivors had more opportunities to access free healthcare programs and inclusive education programs provided by the government and relevant organizations. Physical rehabilitation also improved in both quality and in the number of services available from existing service providers. Since 1995, the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD) assisted the Vietnamese rehabilitation sector to both increase the quality of its services and expand their geographical coverage to virtually the entire country, while serving the country’s most vulnerable populations.[12]

The greatest improvements seen by organizations representing mine/ERW survivors and persons with disability since the Monitor began reporting on Vietnam in 1999 have been in the development of laws designed to protect their rights and provide access to services; the least progress has been reported in economic reintegration through employment or direct financial assistance.[13] Gradual improvements were made to increase employment opportunities, accessibility to available services and in social inclusion activities. Poor survivors in rural areas were especially vulnerable.[14] Reaching survivors in remote and rural areas remained difficult for service providers and generally these populations did not receive adequate assistance. [15]

Assessing victim assistance needs

There was no national survey or needs assessment for mine/ERW survivors in 2011. However, an ongoing nationwide impact survey conducted by the National Steering Committee for Mine Action (NSCMA) contains information regarding casualties. Vietnam Bomb/Mine Action Center (VBMAC), which is the secretariat for the steering committee, also hosts the national database which became operational in September 2011.[16] In 2012, inter-sectoral government discussions began with international organizations regarding the development of a pilot injury surveillance system that would include mine/ERW casualties.[17]

MoLISA is responsible for the collection and management of information regarding persons with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors. Information on the needs of mine/ERW survivors was collected through broader assessments of the needs of persons with disabilities. However, during this period MOLISA was not capable of developing a comprehensive national database on persons with disabilities. Therefore, information on persons with disabilities remained scattered and inconsistent. Various ministries, such as Education and Heath, also collect and manage information on persons with disabilities as part of their activities. This information was used to develop, adjust, or supplement policies and programs that support persons with disabilities, including survivors.[18] In 2012, MoLISA began planning a needs assessment for the employment of persons with disabilities.[19]

In 2011 there were ongoing NGO activities to assess the needs of the survivors through regular implementation of projects and services. Follow up from the 2010 social survey undertaken by the Association for Empowerment for Persons with Disability (AEPD) focused on expansion of existing activities. The findings of the survey were used by local agencies to better integrate the needs of persons with disabilities into their work and were used by one lending institution to directly assist survivors with the loan application process.[20] Project RENEW continued to use its 2010 survey update to improve program effectiveness.[21] CPI routinely used information collected from survivors to inform the services they provided.[22]

Victim assistance coordination in 2011[23]

Government coordinating body/ focal point

The Department of Social Protection under MoLISA is responsible for coordination addressing the rights of persons with disabilities and for victim assistance

Coordinating mechanism

The Victim Assistance Project within the National Mine Action Program (NMAP), managed by MoLISA

Landmine Working Group, a mine action forum consisting of national and international NGOs and other relevant stakeholders, is also used to coordinate victim assistance

Plan

Vietnam does not have a specific victim assistance plan: however National Mine Action Program includes a framework called the Victim Assistance Project; Since 2012, MOLISA had been developing a comprehensive nation-wide victim assistance plan for Vietnam. 

The “National Mine Action Program for Vietnam Period 2010-2025,” which includes victim assistance, was approved by the prime minister in April 2010.

In April 2011, MoLISA issued the decision to implement the first phase of the “Victim Assistance Project for the Period 2012-2015.” The project is managed and implemented by MoLISA in cooperation with relevant authorities at the central, provincial, and sub-provincial levels. MoLISA’s Department of Social Protection is directly responsible for coordination.[24] The project framework details key actions to be taken, responsible or cooperating agencies and annual budgets. The project framework does not specify timeframes for the actions or the method of coordination. However, the responsible agencies met several times in 2011, primarily to establish the budget[25] and to plan activities for 2012.[26]

The Victim Assistance Project was to focus on provinces with highly mine/ERW affected areas and those with significant numbers of casualties. Beneficiaries include mine/ERW survivors and affected families. The budget was to be funded by the government, although MoLISA also planned to seek funding from international sources in order to offset some government expenditure.[27] Key activities of the Victim Assistance Project include:

·         Developing victim assistance standards;

·         Strengthening the emergency medical and physical rehabilitation sectors;

·         Amending existing social assistance policies and decrees;

·         Increasing social allowances to which mine/ERW survivors are entitled;

·         Expanding social work services and promoting social reintegration.

The Victim Assistance Project’s aims were in line with those of the National Coordination Committee on Disabilities (NCCD), an interministerial body chaired by MoLISA that also includes NGO representatives; both are coordinated by the Department of Social Protection.[28] The NCCD is responsible for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In 2011, the NCCD held quarterly meetings as well as focus workshops.[29] It also liaised with national and foreign organizations.[30] Overall, despite high-level meetings, the involvement of agencies and ministries in victim assistance disability planning and coordination was not comprehensive.[31]

Non-governmental service providers also discussed victim assistance at meetings of the Landmine Working Group. In 2011, the Landmine Working Group organized two coordination meetings, the same frequency as in the previous year.[32]

The first official national DPO coordination body, the Vietnam Federation on Disability (VFD), was established in March 2011. Its activities included regional workshops, a jobs fair and monitoring visits.[33]

Inclusion and participation in victim assistance

Survivors and organizations which represent them were not included in the development of the Victim Assistance Project within the NMAP.[34]

The inclusion of mine/ERW survivors and persons with disabilities or their representative organization in planning and provision of victim assistance again increased in 2011.[35] Survivors/persons with disabilities or their representative organizations were consulted in the planning or monitoring of programs and activities and in developing legislation. They also attended meetings, seminars, or workshops to contribute recommendations and share lessons learned.[36]

Survivors and other persons with disabilities did not have many opportunities to participate in the development, implementation and monitoring of plans. The Government requests MoLISA to develop plans and MoLISA officially consults ministries and departments. However, in some cases the opinions and comments of survivors and other persons with disabilities or their representative organizations were taken into account.[37] Persons with disabilities and their representative organizations were consulted in the development or review of national programs, such as the national poverty reduction program, vocational laws, and various educational policies relevant to them.[38]

Many NGOs have consulted survivors and other persons with disabilities on issues that related to their needs and adjusted their services in accordance with survivors’ recommendations. Survivors and persons with disabilities implement victim assistance activities with some NGOs. The NGO AEPD continued to employ survivors as outreach workers and, in 2011, one survivor joined the office staff.[39]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities in 2011[40]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2010

MoLISA and the Ministry of Health

Government

Prosthetics and rehabilitation services

Overall services decreased due to phasing out ICRC support in some centers; increased proportion of services to survivors

AEPD

National NGO

Peer support program; economic inclusion; loans to survivors and vocational training, referrals, counseling and medical assistance in Quang Binh province; national advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities

Ongoing; increased services due to expansion of existing projects

PeaceTrees Vietnam

International NGO with local partnerships

Medical assistance and education/economic inclusion for mine/ERW survivors in Quang Tri province

Ongoing

Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH)

International NGO with local partnerships

Operated six regional prosthetics centers in cooperation with MoLISA; provided vocational training and psychological support

Ongoing; established the Vietnam Federation on Disability in March 2011

Project RENEW

International NGO and provincial government partnership

Provided assistive devices and a prosthetic and orthopedic mobile outreach program and community-based rehabilitation for amputees; life support training for local health workers; first-aid equipment to commune health stations and surgery equipment for district hospitals; micro-credit projects, and psychological support. Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province.

Ongoing activities increased due to expansion of mobile outreach, CBR, life support training and micro-credit; increased the number of beneficiaries by 25% from the previous year

Solidarity Service International

International NGO

Built houses and provided credit to survivors and their families

No assistance was provided in 2011 due to completion of project, however a new project with the same services was planned for 2012/2013

Clear Path International (CPI)-Vietnam

International NGO

Provided and facilitated emergency and ongoing medical care; family counseling for recent victims; prosthetics and rehabilitation; small grants, including educational scholarships and sponsorship of special Olympics sport events in eight districts of Central Vietnam; emergency relief support, as needed, in partnership with local provincial government

Provided services to slightly fewer beneficiaries in 2011 but increased the level of services; increased geographical coverage for assistance to new casualties

ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD), in cooperation with the Vietnamese Red Cross Society

International organization with local partner

Subsidized the provision of assistive devices and rehabilitation; identified amputees in need of prostheses replacement; and covered transport costs to centers and food costs, targeting amputees not covered by social security schemes

Support and services ongoing; slightly fewer amputees received subsidized services in 2011

In 2011, services for mine/ERW survivors continued to improve in quality, quantity, and accessibility in Vietnam. The number of the survivors that received services from both government agencies and civil society organizations or NGOs gradually increased.[41] However, outside major population centers and particularly in remote areas, accessibility to activities and services was lacking.[42]

To improve emergency medical response, the ICRC supported first-aid courses for community representatives and volunteers in Quang Tri province.[43]

The Ministry of Health estimated less than 10% of mine/ERW survivors are able to access rehabilitation programs in Vietnam.[44] In 2011, there was no progress in ICRC discussions with the Vietnamese National Red Cross Society (VNRCS) on whether the VNRCS could possibly take over some of the SFD’s assistance to destitute disabled persons.[45]

There remained a significant need for employment and training opportunities for mine/ERW survivors and other people with disabilities. The majority of people with disability remain unemployed and continued to face discrimination in hiring. In 2011, economic inclusion services for persons with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors, continued to increase. Training for persons with disabilities generally remained inadequate and was not aligned with demands of the labor market.[46]

In 2011, international and domestic NGOs increased initiatives to create work opportunities for survivors and other persons with disability through the establishment or expansion of small-scale businesses. The Blue Ribbon Employers Council (BREC) increased the number of businesses that were members and provided consultations and employment for persons with disabilities.[47]

Psychological support was not widely available and, although it was integrated in rehabilitation processes, did not receive separate government resources. Social inclusion services for survivors and other persons with disabilities increased through both government and NGO programs, including new resources allocated for social reintegration activities. More self-help clubs and sports groups were established in 2011. However, the number of the survivors and persons with disabilities participating in cultural and sport activities remained very limited.[48]

The first comprehensive national law providing for the rights of persons with disabilities came into effect in January 2011. The new law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and requires equality in health care, rehabilitation, education, vocational training and employment.[49] The Ministry of Transportation implemented accessibility for public transport. Construction or major renovation of new government and large public buildings must include access for persons with disabilities. The Ministry of Construction units enforced accessibility regulations, primarily in major cities and pilot locations.[50]

Vietnam signed the CRPD on 22 October 2007.

 



[1] Casualty data was available primarily for one province (Quang Tri) of 58 in Vietnam, with casualties recorded for an additional eight: Binh Phuoc, Bind Thuan, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Ngai and Thua Thien Hue.

[2] Email from Tran Hong Chi, Program Coordinator, CPI, 30 May and 6 June 2012; and casualty data provided by Dang Quang Toan, Mine Victim Assistance Manager, Project RENEW, 1 June 2012.

[3] Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, “Minutes of Meeting: Landmine Working Group Meeting,” Hanoi, 14 October 2011. In addition one person was killed and 10 injured in an accident in a military munition storage facility. These casualties were not included in the annual total. “Explosion kills one, injures 10 at Vietnam military depot,” Thanh Nien, 20 September 2011, www.thanhniennews.com/2010/pages/20110920173414.aspx.

[4] Email from Quang Toan, Project RENEW, 9 August 2008. The additional casualties for 2008, 2009, and 2010 were reported by the Monitor, see the Vietnam country reports and profiles, www. the-Monitor.org.

[5] Socialist Government of Viet Nam Web Portal (VGP News), “Hard to clear post-war bombs and mines,” Vietnamese government press noted that the total number of casualties remains approximate due to “inadequate statistics:” see, http://news.gov.vn/Home/Hard-to-clear-postwar-bombs-and-mines/20125/14389.vgp.

[6] Email from Quang Toan, Project RENEW, 1 June 2012 and 28 June 2008.

[7] This estimate assumes that some 33% of all mine/ERW casualties reported since 1975 were likely to have been caused by unexploded submunitions. HI, Circle of Impact: The Fatal Footprint of Cluster Munitions on People and Communities (Brussels: Handicap International, May 2007), p. 39; Monitor analysis of data provided by emails from Tran Hong Chi, CPI, 12 March 2009 and 1 July 2009; Phan Van Hung, Project RENEW, 12 August 2008; Monitor media analysis from January to December 2008. Monitor analysis of data provided by email from Tran Thi Thanh Toan, Administrative Coordinator, CPI, 24 July 2008; and data provided by email from Hung, Project RENEW, 12 August 2008.

[8] Email from Quang Toan, Project RENEW, 28 June 2008.

[9] See for example documentation on deaths and injuries caused by cluster munitions in “International War Crimes Tribunal – 1967,” www.vietnamese-american.org.

[10] “Scrap metal search a risky business,” Thanh Nien (Ho Chi Minh City), 30 May 2008, www.thanhniennews.com.

[11] MoLISA, Victim Assistance Project Period 2012-2015, Hanoi, 2011; Socialist Republic of Vietnam, National Mine Action Program Period 2010-2025, Hanoi, 2010; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Le Thi Khanh, Deputy Head of Planning and Finance Department, MoLISA (MoLISA), 25 May 2012.

[12] See the Vietnam country reports and profiles from 1999 to date: www. the-Monitor.org.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Thanh Hong, Vice-Chairperson, AEPD, 11 May 2011; interview with Quang Toan, Project RENEW, in Geneva, 27 June 2011; and ICRC SFD “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 42.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, “Minutes of Meeting: Landmine Working Group Meeting,” Hanoi, 14 October 2011. NSCMA is alternately known as the National Mine Action Authority.

[17] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Thi Khanh, MoLISA, 25 May 2012; email from Ted Paterson, Head, Strategic Management, Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), 6 June 2012; and email from Nguyen Thu Ha, Program Manager, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), 6 June 2012. Discussions to date have involved MoLISA, GICHD and VVAF.

[18] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Thi Khanh, MoLISA, 25 May 2012; and response Monitor questionnaire by Nguyen Thi Thanh Hong, AEPD, 11 May 2011.

[19] Telephone interview with Nguyen Thi Thanh Hong, AEPD, 6 June 2012.

[20] Ibid., AEPD, 1 June 2012, and 6 June 2012. Among these local agencies were the Departments of Industry and Social Affairs, the Fatherland Front, Vietnam Red Cross and the Social Policy Bank.

[21] Email from Quang Toan, Project RENEW, 1 and 5 June 2012.

[22] Email from Hong Chi, CPI, 30 May and 6 June 2012.

[23] MoLISA, Victim Assistance Project Period 2012-2015, Hanoi, 2011; Socialist Republic of Vietnam, National Mine Action Program Period 2010-2025, Hanoi, 2010; response to Monitor questionnaire by Thi Khanh, MoLISA, 25 May 2012; and Telephone interview with Nguyen Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012.

[24] Ibid. The government bodies named in the National Mine Action Program and Victim Assistance Project are: Ministries of Defense, Health, Agriculture and Rural Development, Planning and Investment, and the National Institute of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation; Departments of Social Protection, Planning and Finance, and of Accredited People (MoLISA); People’s Committees at the provincial and sub-provincial levels.

[25] MoLISA, Victim Assistance Project Period 2012-2015, Hanoi, 2011; Socialist Republic of Vietnam, National Mine Action Program Period 2010-2025, Hanoi, 2010; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Thi Khanh, MoLISA, 25 May 2012.

[26] Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, “Minutes of Meeting: Landmine Working Group Meeting,” Hanoi, October 2011.

[27] MoLISA, “Victim Assistance Project Period 2012-2015”, Hanoi, 2011; Socialist Republic of Vietnam, “National Mine Action Program Period 2010-2025,” Hanoi, 2010; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Thi Khanh, MoLISA, 25 May 2012. For 2012, the estimated budget for the Victim Assistance Project was VND 257 billion, or about $US 12.4 million.

[28] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Thi Khanh, MoLISA, 25 May 2012; and email from Thanh Hong, AEPD, 6 June 2012.

[29] Telephone interview with Thanh Hong, AEPD, 6 June 2012.

[30] US Department of State, “2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Vietnam,” Washington, DC, 24 May 2012.

[31] Telephone interview with Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012.

[32] Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, “Minutes of Meeting: Landmine Working Group Meeting,” Hanoi, April and October 2011.

[33] VNAH, “Updates VNAH and HealthEd,” Winter 2011-2012, p.8, http://www.vnah-hev.org/News-Letter-Winter-2011-2012.html.

[34] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Thi Khanh, MoLISA, 25 May 2012.

[35] Telephone interview with Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012.

[36] Ibid., 6 June 2012; and response to Monitor questionnaire by Thanh Hong, AEPD, 11 May 2011.

[37] Telephone interview with Thanh Hong, AEPD, 6 June 2012; and US Department of State, “2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Vietnam,” Washington, DC, 8 April 2011.

[38] US Department of State, “2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Vietnam,” Washington, DC, 24 May 2012.

[39] Telephone interview with Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012, and 6 June 2012.

[40] Email from Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012; email from Pham Thi Hoang Ha, Project Officer, Peace Trees Vietnam, 15 May 2012; VNAH, “Updates VNAH and HealthEd,” Winter 2011-2012, pp. 6 and 8, www.vnah-hev.org/News-Letter-Winter-2011-2012.html; email from Quang Toan, Project RENEW, 1 and 5 June 2012; email from Rickard Hartmann, Country Representative and UXO Program Manager, Solidarity Service International, 27 May and 5 June 2012; email from Hong Chi, CPI, 30 May 2012; and ICRC SFD “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, pp. 41–43. A total of 1,944 destitute amputees received subsidized services in 2011 (53% were war victims) and 2,432 in 2010 (50% were war victims): 65% of all ICRC services are for survivors.

[41] Email from Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012.

[42] Ibid.; and ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD) “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 42.

[43] ICRC SFD “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 42.

[44] Email from Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012.

[45] ICRC SFD “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 40.

[46] Email from Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012.

[47] VNAH, “Updates VNAH and HealthEd,” Winter 2011-2012, p.6, http://www.vnah-hev.org/News-Letter-Winter-2011-2012.html.

[48] Email from Thanh Hong, AEPD, 1 June 2012; and NCCD, “Annual Report on Status of People with Disabilities in Vietnam,” Hanoi, December 2010.

[49] US Department of State, “2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Vietnam,” Washington, DC, 24 May 2012; and US Department of State, “2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Vietnam,” Washington, DC, 8 April 2011.

[50] US Department of State, “2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Vietnam,” Washington, DC, 24 May 2012. Physical accessibility was enforced in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Nam, and Ninh Binh.