This year UNICEF’s flagship publication has become a strong advocacy tool for campaigners … by Dr. Ghassan Shahrour

12 Jun

UNICEF Rep Cover 2013 A UNICEF Rep Cover 2013 E


     For many years, as a part of my professional work, I wait for the annual publication of UNICEF or the UNICEF’s flagship publication, The State of the World’s Children, which closely examines a key issue affecting children of the world. The report, which is usually available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish language versions, includes supporting data and statistics. Thousands of government officials, NGOs, academics and Media people from all parts of the world usually read it and use it as an important reference.

    This year 2013, the report has covered an interesting issue for me and for many others as well. It is about the children with disabilities.

    Yes, the report which was launched on 30 May in Vietnam and around the world covers children with disabilities in  varying worldwide landscape. The report calls for inclusive and equitable approaches in areas such as early childhood development, education, health, nutrition, humanitarian response and others. Based on documented experience and lessons learned, the report recommends ways in which governments, the private sector, international donors and agencies, and other stakeholders can help advance this agenda. 

     I was inspired to read the “focus” of this flagship report of this year which is “the explosive remnants of war” that was written by our colleagues; Megan Burke, Stephane De Greef and Loren Persi Vicentic at (Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor). They have briefed very successfully the readers on the different aspects of the issue. They also highlighted important findings, including:

-The need for more funding of victim assistance interventions;

– The fact that Survivor assistance programs must take into consideration the specific needs of children, whether they are direct survivors or victims in the broader sense;

– Challenges the child survivors face in addition to the physical trauma, including the psychological consequences of surviving an Explosive Remnants of War, ERW, or landmine blast since these are often devastating for the development of the child.

   The focus has also stressed that as children account for an increasing percentage of the total civilian casualties from ERW and landmines, it is essential to implement specific policy and programmatic recommendations on victim assistance that meet the needs of child survivors. These recommendations include:

-Supporting and promoting the establishment of national injury surveillance systems able to provide systematic and continuous information on the magnitude and nature of ERW and landmine injuries (and other types of injuries if appropriate), including age- and gender specific data about child casualties;

– Developing and promoting the establishment of victim assistance databases able to provide systematic data to monitor the rehabilitation, psychosocial and socioeconomic needs of each child and adult survivor appropriately and across time;

– Sensitizing governments, mine action actors, donors and other relevant stakeholders, through both international and national forums, on the importance of prioritizing victim assistance (including for child survivors and the children of people killed by victim-activated explosives) as a key pillar of mine action and international laws;

– Making government, humanitarian and developmental actors and service providers aware of the importance of ensuring the availability of age- and gender-specific health and physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support, protection, education and livelihood support services for child survivors and victims of ERW and landmines;

– Training health professionals, including emergency response personnel, surgeons and ortho-prosthetic service providers, in the specific considerations and special needs of child survivors;

– Training education service providers, including school management, teachers and educators, in providing accessible and appropriate education for child survivors and victims;

– Formulating national laws, plans and policies responding to the needs of survivors and victims of ERW and landmines, or of persons with disabilities in general, so that they integrate and respond to the age- and gender-specific needs of child survivors and victims.

    Moreover, the issue of ERW was also highlighted and incorporated in other chapters of this widely known UN publication and under different themes including:

-The introduction (chapter one) of the publication: “From exclusion to inclusion”, the chosen picture was  for a child who lost his leg in a landmine explosion, and takes part in a training workshop for electricians at a centre for war-affected children in Kandahar, Afghanistan;

-In chapter two: “FUNDAMENTALS OF INCLUSION”, also the chosen picture was a child, who used crutches after losing a leg to a bomb explosion in Mogadiscio, Somalia;

– In chapter five: Humanitarian Response, the two pictures appeared: Explosive remnants of war (ERW) on display at a school in Ajdabiya, Libya, and a boy who has survived a landmine explosion and has gone on to become a mine risk educator in Sri Lanka.


    Although this focus of the publication highlighted the positive impact  of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions in terms of protecting the lives of people living in areas contaminated by ERW and landmines, I was looking to see in this publication one or two lines of introduction about the International Campaign to Ban Landmine and  Cluster Munition Coalition as global civil society coalitions tell the readers of the UNICEF’s annual publication who belong to diverse background about the difference that civil society has made and can make.

   I highly recommend sharing, As I did, this publication, or at least the focus part of it with all governments, non-government and media contacts. This year UNICEF’s flagship publication has become a strong advocacy tool to urge the governments to join the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munition.

                                  Available on (

      by Dr.Ghassan Shahrour, G. Coordinator

One Response to “This year UNICEF’s flagship publication has become a strong advocacy tool for campaigners … by Dr. Ghassan Shahrour”

  1. MUSA TOGHOZ November 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    لا يأس مع الحياة
    We must be strong to face our problems in our life, and over come it, with out come weak,
    god bless all

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