12 June 2009

Parallel Programme on Victim Assistance, 29 May 2009 - Delivered by Firoz Ali Alizada, ICBL Treaty Implementation Officer

Let me thank the Victim Assistance Co-Chairs and Implementation Support Unit for the opportunity given to civil society organizations during the last two days of the parallel program and Victim Assistance retreat last week to share their concerns, expertise and inputs for the Cartagena Action Plan.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines supports the concepts included in the food for thought paper proposed by the Victim Assistance Co-Chairs. I don't see the need to repeat what we have proposed and included in the food for thought paper; however I would like to highlight the following points as high priorities to be taken into account in the Cartagena Action Plan:

  • Inclusion: The Cartagena Action Plan has to ensure continued and expanded inclusion of landmine survivors and people with disabilities in the work of convention at the national and international levels.
  • Accessibility to services and facilities: The Cartagena Action Plan has to ensure landmine survivors and people with disabilities can access all the relevant services including the ability to access them physically, culturally, and economically.
  • Financial and technical assistance: On Tuesday we all noticed the inadequacy and in some countries the drastic decrease of funding for victim assistance, in the statements of affected countries. Therefore the Cartagena Action Plan has to ensure adequate financial and technical resources by the affected countries and international community.
  • Planning and Coordination: Experience over the past years has shown that it is essential for states to set up an inter-sectoral mechanism to conduct planning, implementation and monitoring of VA activities. Such a mechanism, again, must include survivors and other relevant stakeholders from civil society.
  • The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and other international instruments provide more opportunities for a better and more comprehensive implementation of victim assistance. Therefore, the ICBL insists that States Parties develop a harmonized approach in planning, implementation, reporting and monitoring of victim assistance with the CRPD and/or any other international instruments that they are part of. We also call for expanded inclusion of victim assistance in states' development and poverty reduction strategies and policies.

We want to ensure that these and other key ideas from the food for thought paper are translated into a strong, action-oriented plan full of concrete and measurable provisions. Landmine survivors and people with disabilities want change in their day-to-day lives, they want their governments to take concrete actions by utilizing adequate resources, and they want the international community to increase their financial and technical support too.

Yesterday the Victim Assistance Co-Chairs asked the participants of the parallel program to highlight three priorities for the Cartagena Action Plan. Many of the participants including Margaret, Reth, Katleen, Netty and Firoz underlined the most important and high priorities as: 1. implementation, 2. implementation and 3. implementation. I quote them and insist on implementation to bring change in day-to-day lives of landmine survivors, their families and communities.

The ICBL thanks the President-Designate for her special focus on promoting victim assistance at the Second Review Conference and beyond. Survivors are looking forward to a productive and forward-looking Review Conference. Thank you.