IS VICTIM ASSISTANCE?
survivors require assistance for life. Victims assistance
is a term that refers to the care and rehabilitation provided
for the immediate and long-term needs of mine survivors, their
families, and mine-affected communities.
Social and emotional support
among landmine survivors is one of the most important aspects
of mine victim assistance. Survivors usually feel at ease with
other survivors, which becomes an excellent moral support.
is guaranteed under the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention.
Tragically, the majority of landmine victims live in countries
where medical care is limited or non-existent. Article Six of
the AP Mine Ban Convention states that "Each State Party
in a position to do so shall provide assistance for the care
and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of
mine victims and for mine awareness programmes."
There are a number of components
of Victims Assistance, designed to help survivors not only heal,
get artificial limbs, but also rejoin society. They are:
continuing medical care, including first aid treatment,
clean supplies and trained medical staff.
prostheses (artificial limbs) and assistive devices such as
wheelchairs and crutches that are inexpensive, fit, are safe,
durable and can be maintained locally.
and social support, employment and economic reintegration
programs involving survivors in all levels of the decision making
into society, helping survivors adjust to an entirely new
lifestyle after they have sustained their injuries.
Many very young children do not survive
from intense landmine blasts, because their bodies are too small
to overcome the shock, pain, and injury.
|In mine-affected countries, the groups
generally most at risk for mine injuries are the poorest members
of society. Their daily tasks
routinely put them in harm’s way. For example, as peasants
collect firewood and food, herd cattle, or cultivate their fields,
they often pass through mine-contaminated land. Shepherds travel
through mined areas while following their flocks to remote areas
in search of new grazing land. Children are at great risk as
they carry out any of these tasks or as they play, leaving safe
paths to explore new areas. In 2000, the ICRC issued 16,442
prosthetics to war-wounded people across twenty-five countries,
and more than half were landmine victims. However, an actual
figure of landmine victims is unknown, because many people never
get medical treatment at health centers. These victims never
receive prosthetics and are therefore not officially registered.
An estimated 300,000 mine survivor amputees live in developing
(poorer) countries. In Cambodia,
for instance, one person out of 236 is an amputee. In these
developing countries, adequate first aid is not readily available
and health care centers frequently lack sufficient stocks of
medication and good surgical instruments. Furthermore, these
countries do not have the money to pay for survivor assistance
and rehabilitation programs. This funding shortage is due to
a combination of weak economies, a lack of resources and adequate
infrastructures, and the often held view that extensive long-term
survivor assistance programs are not necessary.
The United Nations works with governments
to develop victim assistance programs and standards.
They all work closely with partner organisations outside the United
Nations system, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC), Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), World Rehabilitation Fund
(WRF), Handicap International (HI) and Vietnam Veterans of America