The launch of landmine monitor report 2016 for Pakistan was held at Islamabad Hotel, on 23rd November 2016. Mr. Raza Shah Khan, Executive Director, SPADO, Mr. Jawad Afzal, the deputy director of Directorate of Special Education, Mr. Adnan Zaman Salim, the deputy director Mine Risk Education (MRE), representatives from Japan Embassy, handicap International, ICRC, UN, Ministry of information and representatives of civil society organizations, media and other relevant stakeholders participated in the event.
Nasreen Samad Program Coordinator, Sustainable Peace and Development Organization (SPADO) gave a brief introduction of the organization’s vision, goal, interventions and engagement with local and international partners. All the participants from government, local and international organizations and media groups were formally welcomed.
Further, Ms. Nasreen elaborated that SPADO is the official contact point of the International Campaign To Ban Landmines (ICBL), laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize is striving for the universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. Then, she told the participants about global landmine monitor report 2016 and quoted that
“Landmine Monitor 2016 is released by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in advance of the Mine Ban Treaty’s Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, taking place in Santiago, Chile, from 28 November–1 December. More detailed country-specific information is available in online country profiles, while the overviews in the report provide global analysis and findings. The report focuses on calendar year 2015, with information included up to November 2016 in some cases. Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor is the research arm of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines – Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC). The ICBL was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to eradicate landmines. The Monitor is coordinated by a Monitoring and Research Committee comprised of ICBL-CMC expert staff, research team leaders, and representatives of four non-governmental organizations: DanChurchAid, Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, and Mines Action Canada”.
In order to explain the history of ICBL and to show how ordinary people around the world contributed in bringing together governments and civil society organizations for a mine free world a short video was played for the audience.
Mr. Raza Shah, Executive Director SPADO briefed on the different sections of the Landmine Monitor report 2016 that was printed and distributed among the participants. In the first section of his presentation he elaborated on the global perspective of the landmine monitor report and highlighted that number of casualties have increased globally, in which most of the victims remained civilians but the funding to support clearance and mine action has decreased. In the second part of his presentation, he presented the case of Pakistan, initially focusing on the policy and then highlighing the casualties due to landmines in 2015 and its comparison with previous years. He also mentioned the limitation in the data collection, as many areas where landmine related incidents are being reported are not in the reach of media and researchers due to ongoing conflict situation and the knowledge of media on the subject is also not impeccable. In addition, he emphasized on the need to come up with a regional approach for the universalization of the MBT. He said that the continued use of antipersonnel mines by non-state armed groups globally as well as in Pakistan is a big threat and an escalating issue for the campaign and communities living around the world. While discussing the challenges he emphasized on the need to improve mine-affected communities’ lives through risk education and via giving assistance and rehabilitation services on time. At the end of his presentation Mr. Raza shared different statistics of casualties to show gender wise, province wise and age wise segregation of the data.
The second speaker of the session Mr. Jawad Afzal, the deputy director of Directorate of Special Education, Pakistan briefed on the needs of person with disabilities in Pakistan and government initiatives to support Victims of Landmines and Persons with Disabilities. He described his department’s vision in addressing the needs of person’s with disabilities. He attended the whole session and really appreciated the efforts of different civil society organization working to assist the landmine victims. He put forward realistic suggestions and recommendations that can improve the quality of services to assist the victims in Pakistan.
Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) plays an instrumental role in emergencies and relief work and also aware and delivers risk education to the affected communities. Mr. Adnan Zaman Salim, the deputy director Mine Risk Education (MRE) was also invited as a speaker. He highlighted the activities and role of Pakistan Red Crescent Society in addressing landmine related issues in Pakistan mostly through reducing the effects of weapon contamination in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He briefed the participants on the integrated multi-sector mine action program of PRCS that includes Risk Education and Victims’ Assistance and then explained both programs in detail. At the end he also shared the community-based approach of their interventions to assist and educate the communities affected by or prone to landmine related incidents.
Lastly, Landmine report launch session proceeded to question and answer session, participants were keen to know more on the stance of Pakistani government on accession to the mine ban treaty and also different technical questions were raised by the participants which were responded in detail by the panelists.
After detailed presentations, discussions and Q&A session, participants appreciated the campaign and the voice of ordinary citizens and how it emerged on the global stage and also got clear idea on the adverse impacts of use of landmines on the people. This platform gave opportunity for different stakeholders to come together to learn and share knowledge and experiences. In addition, it provided a great opportunity for the participants representing different organization working for persons with disability and landmine victims to network with each other.