Victim Assistance & the CCM—April Update

Posted on April 22, 2013

The third Intersessional Meeting to the CCM was held  in Geneva on 15, & 16-18 April 2013.

According to recent reporting: of at least 30 states that have responsibility for cluster munition victims, 11 are States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions: Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, ChadGuinea-Bissau, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Montenegro, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone and five have signed, but not yet ratified the convention: AngolaColombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, and Uganda.

On Monday 15 April, Action on Armed Violence and Article 36 held a side event addressing the topics of Weapons, casualty recording and victims’ rights. Building on casualty recording as an obligation in the Convention on Cluster Munitions, this side event  explored the role of casualty recording as a basis for legal reforms regarding weapons, for armed violence reduction and as a basis for the fulfilment of the rights of victims.  It made the case for a stronger international policy movement towards improved casualty recording. Chair: Caroline Woergoetter, Counsellor (Disarmament), Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations in Geneva. Speakers: Loren Persi,  Monitor, on Casualty recording in the Context of the CCM, Serena Olgiati, Action on Armed Violence and Richard Moyes,  Article 36, on victim’s rights and controls on weapons.

A Technical Workshop on Victim Assistance  was also held on 15 April with the objectives of enhancing the understanding of victim assistance in the context of the CPRD and emphasizing the importance of reporting on victim assistance activities.

“Currently, in most cases, services in cluster  munition and mine affected countries are far from adequate and the highest attainable standard would seem to be beyond the life-time of survivors.” was one of the key points made in an intervention by Megan Burke, Coordinator of the Survivor Network Project and Monitor Casualty and Victim Assistance Research. “In these cases we should encourage states to report to both the CCM and the CRPD why they are not applying the highest standards in communities and what steps they are taking to reach these standards. To make this effective, survivors must be involved in both processes.”

Regarding the question of “why” States need to report on victim assistance,  the ICBL-CMC agreed that victim assistance is at the heart of the CCM and noted that reporting is in fact a legal obligation.

The Technical Workshop Cooperation and Assistance, on the same day included issues of victim assistance resource mobilization. Elke Hottentot, Victim Assistance Technical Advisor for Handicap International presented an overview and  recommendations on what countries, UN agencies and affected States could do to mobilize international resources more effectively.

During the Victim Assistance Session, on Tuesday 16 April, CMC campaigner Moaffak Al Khafaji made a statement calling for states to ensure that survivors participate in victim assistance in a free, informed and meaningful way. The majority of States Parties and signatory states where there are cluster munition victims do not have a national plan for victim assistance and must create one. He noted that there has been very little improvement in the accessibility of services in recent years, especially in remote and rural areas where many survivors are. He also called on countries with cluster munition victims, such as Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Serbia and Vietnam, to accelerate their accession to the CCM.

Read more in the CMC Summary of the sessions on Victim Assistance and Cooperation and Assistance.

Tech workshop

Side event (Top) and CCM Intersessional Meeting Technical Workshop, Monday 15 April. Images (c) CMC

Posted in: VA processes