Cluster munitions and victim assistance

Cluster munitions are large weapons deployed from the air or from the ground that scatter widely in smaller submunitions. They have been used extensively over the last 40 years in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Between five per cent and 30 per cent of cluster munitions do not explode on impact. This hazardous unexploded ordnance, very often found in civilian zones, has serious consequences for communities, long after a conflict is over.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions was signed by 94 countries at the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008. The Convention will enter into force when thirty states have ratified it. The treaty bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and places obligations on countries to clear affected areas and destroy stockpiles. Another key provision of the treaty relates to victim assistance.

Survivors of cluster munitions incidents will often have serious blast or fragment injuries, requiring long -term treatment and rehabilitation. Cluster munition victims include all persons directly impacted by cluster munitions as well as their affected families and communities. The goal of victim assistance is to promote and respect the human rights, fundamental freedoms and inherent dignity of all cluster munitions victims. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities provides the most comprehensive framework to address these issues. The core elements of victim assistance are: emergency and long-tem medical care; physical rehabilitation; psychological support; social and economic inclusion; data collection, disability laws and policies.

This keylist draws together key policy documents, tools and information resources providing a comprehensive introductory resource on Cluster Munitions and Victim Assistance. We welcome your suggestions: please send comments or suggested additions to

This keylist has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The content is the sole responsibility of Source and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of The European Union.

To research topics covered by this key list in greater detail please refer to the following Source keylists:

Emergencies and Disability

Community-based functional rehabilitation

Mental Health

Disability research

Disability, Human Rights and the Convention

Selected resources

Introductory Resources (CMVA)

Banning of cluster munitions : government policy and practice

May 2009

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This report details information about the international treaty banning cluster munitions. It contains entries on 150 countries, including signatories to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, stockpiler countries, and affected states. It highlights governments’ policies and efforts to clear contaminated areas and meet the needs of cluster munition victims. It also mentions government practices with respect to the use, production, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions. The report is useful for people interested in a comprehensive overview of the banning of cluster munitions

Caring for landmine victims

June 2005

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This booklet examines the challenges involved in providing assistance to landmine victims, many of whom cannot be provided with sufficient care because of poverty and a lack of health facilities. It also highlights the responsibilities of states to the Ottawa Convention and the new protocol on explosive remnants of war (ERW), and encourages increased efforts by both health-care systems and governments to support the victims

Cluster bombs : the military effectiveness and impact on civilians of cluster munitions


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This report assesses both the military effectiveness of cluster bombs and the impact on civilians looking at their use in a number of conflicts including Loas, the Gulf War and Kosovo. It provides recommendations on changes to international law to prevent future civilian casualties. This document is useful for people interested in the military effectiveness and impact on civilians of cluster munitions

CMC briefing paper on the convention on cluster munitions


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This paper gives a summary of the key obligations for states, and provides details regarding the signing and ratifying of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This resource is useful for people interested in learning about the convention

Drop today, kill tomorrow : cluster munitions as inhumane and indiscriminate weapons

WIEBE, Virgil
June 1999

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This study draws attention to the human suffering caused by cluster weapons and landmines, which continue to kill long after intended use, due to functional failures of the design. More often then not, civilian adults and children are among the primary victims. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in disability, advocacy and the Treaty to Ban Landmines

Data Collection

Data and statistics on disability in developing countries

EIDE, Arne H
LOEB, Mitch E

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This report was produced for the UK Department for International Development's (DFID) Disability Knowledge and Research Programme. Disability statistics in low-income countries have so far largely comprised impairment-based prevalence figures. It is argued that prevalence in itself is of limited interest and that there is a need for data that can describe, analyse and compare the situation among individuals with disabilities, as well as contribute to increased knowledge about the link between disability and poverty. By using the conceptual scheme inherent in the ICF (international classification of functioning, disability and health) model, an alternative approach to disability statistics may be developed. As an alternative to dividing the population into disabled and non-disabled, activity limitation and/or restrictions in social participation can be measured as a continuous variable among all regardless of the presence of any impairment. We thus have two different approaches for developing disability statistics, and it is argued that they will both provide useful information

Guidelines and principles for the development of disability statistics


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This publication is aimed at assisting national statistical offices and other producers of disability statistics to improve the collection, compilation and dissemination of disability data. The document addresses methodological issues in the area of disability by providing guidelines and principles related to data collection, through surveys and censuses and also on the compilation, dissemination and usage of data on disability.

International disability rights monitor (IDRM) regional reports


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These regional reports are the primary focus of the International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM) project and have been compiled by local IDRM researchers. Each report focuses upon several key areas such as legal protections, education, employment, accessibility, and health and housing services for people with disabilities. The reports include a detailed report on each country and a report card that compares the progress made by countries across the region. Reports are available on the Americas, Asia and Europe, as well as two thematic reports, in downloadable pdf format. They are useful for people interested in research on disability and development

Landmine casualty data : best practices guidebook


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This guidebook seeks to serve as a reference book to assist people and organizations trying either to create a mine/Explosive Remnants of War victim information system or enhance an existing system. It consists of data, surveys and interviews from a broad range of resources across countries and regions affected by landmine use. It includes case studies from Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Landmine monitor


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This website highlights the activities of the Landmine Monitor, an initiative providing research for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC). It contains updated information about the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Links are provided to several publications including the annual Landmine Monitor, cluster munition reports, country specific factsheets and maps. This website is useful for people seeking current information about Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munition initiatives

Disability Laws and Policies

Disability rights convention : ratification campaign handbook

Landmine Survivors Network

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This toolkit raises awareness around the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and aims to mobilise support for its ratification. It is a practical guide divided into 3 sections, covering general information about the convention; ratification advocacy tools; and media tools. Essentially this is a step-by-step guide for planning a ratification campaign in different contexts, containing sample letters, publicity materials and other useful resources. The handbook would be of use to anyone with an interest in promoting disability rights

Implementation toolkit : disability rights = human rights


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DPI, an international cross-disability human rights organization has put together this practical toolkit to support implementation campaigns for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The toolkit supports a previous DPI 'Ratification Toolkit', also available free online. The toolkit is an accessible and practical guide for anyone interested in disability rights and social development. It provides a clear introduction to the aims of the Convention along with practical suggestions for translating this treaty into policy, planning and practice. Each section of the toolkit comes with exercises designed to support understanding of the Convention and how it can be applied to different contexts

Making it work


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This website provides information about Making it Work (MIW), a global multi-stakeholder initiative to promote effective implementation of the Convention for the Right of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The initiative aims to collect and exchange examples of good practice and to use this to influence policy development in line with the CRPD. The MIW website highlights general information about the initiative and specific information about exisitng MIW projects and reports. It provides access to a series of user-friendly tools and resources to support practitioners working in the field of disability and development. The MIW Guidelines are available in downloadable pdf format in English, French and Spanish. A resource library is provided with links to CRPD-related information, disability and development topics and a news archive. This website is a useful tool for anyone working on disability rights issues

Making PRSP inclusive


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This website offers suggestions on how to include people with disabilities in national poverty reduction strategies (PRS). It comprises an impressive range of general background information, links, resources and tools on key issues regarding PRS, disability and project and process management, in addition to tools on advocacy and lobbying

Recommendations for national action plans on victim assistance 2010 - 2014|Building on international standards, lessons learned and field expertise for an effective and sustainable impact

MUNOZ, Wanda
October 2009

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This report provides recommendations to support stakeholders involved in creating and updating national action plans on victim assistance throughout the period 2010-2014. The recommendations are in accordance with the Cartagena Action Plan and other international humanitarian and human rights standards. The report provides a background on victim assistance and highlights recommendations using six key elements. This report is useful for countries affected by mines/explosive remnants of war (ERW), survivors, disabled persons’ organisations (DPO) and other civil society representatives, international organisations and countries committed to international cooperation

United Nations Enable

Division for social policy and development

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This website is about the UN's disability programmes and focuses on rights, international standards and declarations, such as the World Programme of Action. Thematic issues covered include accessibility, promoting the rights of disabled people, mainstreaming disability and development, and building the capacity of disabled people's organisations. There are also links to disability databases and other disability organisations


Making schools inclusive : how change can happen|Save the Children's experience

LEWIS, Ingrid

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This report looks at how non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can help school systems in developing countries become more inclusive. It shares experience of developing tools and approaches that have improved education for the most excluded children in society. Taking examples from 13 countries around the world it describes case study programmes that: target specific groups of vulnerable children; build inclusive school communities; promote change throughout an education system; and address financial barriers to inclusive education. This report will be of interest to policy-makers, managers and advisers in government, donors and NGOs, and to education students

Young voices : young people’s views of inclusive education

LEWIS, Ingrid
September 2008

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This booklet provides young people's perspectives of inclusive education based upon the findings of Young Voices, an inclusive education project in primary, secondary and vocational schools in Uganda and Tanzania. Students with and without disabilities participated in the Young Voices activities. The booklet highlights the issues raised about inclusive education policy, attitudes, behaviour, resource allocation and environmental issues. It contains students’ photos, drawings and quotations to illustrate their responses. It is useful for people interested in inclusive education issues in Eastern Africa

Emergency and long-term medical care

A health handbook for women with disabilities

DAVID, Darlena
February 2007

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This book deals with practical advice on health care for women with disabilities. It has been developed in partnership with health care professionals and disabled women in over 42 countries. It covers the key issues of disability in the community; accessible health care; mental health; sexual health; family planning; and child birth. The book is written in a practical and accessible style, suitable for anyone with an interest in disability, social development and women's health issues. In particular, the book offers a valuable insight into 'real-life' personal experiences of disabled women

Guidelines for essential trauma care

et al

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These guidelines provide a series of resource tables for essential trauma care that detail the human and physical resources that should be in place to assure optimal care of the injured patient at a range of health facilities throughout the world. The health facilities range from rural health posts, to small hospitals staffed by general practitioners, to hospitals staffed by specialists, to tertiary care centres. They also offer a series of recommendations on methods to promote such standards including training, performance improvement, trauma team organisation and hospital inspection.
The guidelines are a collaboration between the World Health Organization, the International Society of Surgery and the International Association for the Surgery of Trauma and Surgical Intensive Care

Prehospital trauma care systems

et al

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This manual provides guidance for policymakers on the issue of prehospital trauma care systems. The main areas covered include the organisation of the prehospital trauma care system, capacity development, data collection, transportation and communication, as well as ethical and legal considerations

Psychological Support

Coping with disasters : a guidebook to psychosocial intervention

October 2001

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This manual is a guide to psychosocial interventions to help people cope with the emotional effects of disasters. Some are direct responses to the trauma of disasters, while others are longer-term responses. Even more than the physical effects of disasters, the emotional effects cause long-lasting suffering, disability and loss of income

Mental health and development from the local to the global - the involvement of mentally ill people in the development process


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From practical experience at local and regional levels, the author discusses the potential for mentally ill people to be involved in the development process. Insisting on the right of mentally ill people to be consulted in development work of all kinds, the author illustrates failures and successes in supporting mentally ill people. He uses evidence from India and Sri Lanka to show that stigma bars mentally ill people from development processes and that this is a human rights issue.


Drawing on the statistical evidence available today, the global implications of the high prevalence of mental illness are considered in relation to the lack of community facilities. The author concludes that mentally ill people will only take their place in the development process, as does any marginalised group, by finding ways of achieving knowledge, leadership and resources through self-help, and by creating appropriate alliances with other groups in society.

Where there is no psychiatrist : a mental health care manual

PATEL, Vikram

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This is a practical manual about mental health care, aimed at community health workers, primary care nurses, social workers and primary care doctors. It describes more than 30 clinical problems associated with mental illness, using a problem-solving approach to guide the reader through their assessment and management. It addresses the lack of understanding of mental health among many health workers

Regional or Country Specific

Capitalisation on network strengthening, community-based approach and partnership in mine risk education project : Lessons learned from experience in Angola

SAVI, Gabrielle

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This report highlights three components of Handicap International's Mine Risk Education project in Angola. The first involves networking in the Angolan context and the associated lessons, constraints and the strengths. The second, is a discussion on the evolution of the community-based approach in Angola. Lastly, this report discusses the strengths and weaknesses of partnerships made with local NGOs

Fatally flawed : cluster bombs and their use by the United States in Afghanistan

December 2002

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This report investigates the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan, by the United States. This work argues that despite advances that have improved the accuracy and targeting of cluster bombs they still predominantly and unjustly impact civilians. This report also examines the after effect of cluster munitions and offers a set of legislative recommendations

Physical Rehabilitation

CIRRIE database of international rehabilitation research

January 2006

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Includes references to over 24,000 materials about international rehabilitation research conducted outside the USA. Most of the references include abstracts or links to the full text of the material. The database offers a detailed search facility allowing users to select broad, narrow or related search terms from a detailed thesaurus, as well as specify geographical region, language, or year of publication of materials. A very useful database, materials indexed are mainly articles from a wide range of journals including 'Disability and Rehabilitation', 'Asia and Pacific Journal on Disabilty', and 'International Journal of Rehabilitation Research'. In addition to indexing from mainstream journals and internet sites, CIRRIE also includes citations to resources not readily available to U.S. researchers

Disabled village children : a guide for community health workers, rehabilitation workers, and families


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This well-known manual contains a wealth of information that is crucial for therapists, professionals and community groups. It deals comprehensively with all common childhood disabilities including polio, cerebral palsy, juvenile arthritis, blindness and deafness. It provides clear, detailed information and easy-to-implement ideas for rehabilitation at the village level, the development of skills, making low-cost aids and the prevention of disabilities

Fun inclusive : sports and games as means of rehabilitation, interaction and integration for children and young people with disabilities

et al

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This handbook looks at the activities used in the GTZ (German Agency for Technical Co-operation) pilot project called "Rehabilitation through sports activities for children and young people in war-affected countries". The project aimed to strengthen disabled children both physically and mentally by promoting their rehabilitation, social integration and capacity for self help. The handbook provides basic guidelines for the implementation of sports and games as a means of rehabilitation and integration, building on the experiences from workshops in Angola and Cambodia, which tested 12 games. It includes an evaluation sheet that can be adapted and used

The challenge of prosthetic services in developing countries

December 2002

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This article describes the challenges of providing landmine victims and other disabled persons in developing countries with the support and services they need to recover. The author explains that a holistic approach to rehabilitative care is necessary and applies this principle to community-based rehabilitation


101 great ideas for the socio-economic reintegration of mine survivors


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This document describes various programmes worldwide focusing upon the socio-economic reintegration of mine survivors. These involve a process whereby the economic development of individual survivors is tied to a plan to better the economic situation of the community of which they are members. The participatory planning process also includes conducting market studies to insure that the business ventures being contemplated are truly viable under current and anticipated market conditions. This document is useful for people seeking progamme ideas for the socio-economic reintegration of mine survivors and people with disabilities generally

Microcredit for self-employed disabled persons in developing countries

October 2005

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This paper aims to close the gap in knowledge and culture between the disability and the micro finance communities. Resource-based theory is applied to analyse when microcredit for disabled persons is an appropriate tool and when it is not. General recommendations are provided for the inclusion of disabled entrepreneurs, as well as lists of recommendations that are both easy to understand and to apply for micro fiance institutions, disabled people's organisations and donors. This paper is useful for academics, professionals and organisations interested in micro finance for people with disabilities in developing countries