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Working Group on Victim Assistance, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

Working Group on Victim Assistance

The WGVA was formed at the ICBL General Meeting of February 1998 to strengthen the Victim Assistance pillar of the campaign, and to serve as a resource to the ICBL, and others, on victim assistance issues. As Article 6, Section 3 of the Mine Ban Treaty requires states parties to “provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration of mine victims,” the WGVA vigorously presses states to abide as seriously by that obligation as they do others in the Mine Ban Treaty.

From nine original member organizations, the WGVA has grown to include more than forty NGOs and country campaigns. Members share a commitment to increase the level and quality of the local, national, and international response to the situation of landmine victims worldwide. Landmine Survivors Network has facilitated the group’s activities since its formation.

Key definitions

The work of the WGVA is based upon a definition of “landmine victim” that includes individuals who have been directly hit by a landmine explosion, their families, and communities. Mine victims include those who have, either individually or collectively, suffered physical, emotional and psychological injury, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights through acts or omissions related to the use of landmines.[1]

Following this three-tiered definition of landmine victim, the concept of victim assistance also involves multiple layers. On the level of individual survivors, victim assistance includes interventions to provide for the care and rehabilitation, and the social and economic integration of landmine victims. The provision of prostheses is a critically important element of assistance to these individuals, but is not the only type of intervention needed to ensure their full rehabilitation and reintegration. Other components of comprehensive victim assistance are: emergency and continuing medical care, physical rehabilitation treatment, psychological and social support, employment and economic integration programs. Efforts to enact legislation to protect the rights of persons with disabilities including landmine victims, disability awareness activities, and providing support to associations of landmine victims or persons with disabilities are also forms of victim assistance. In addition, victim assistance may include programs to ensure that socio-economic needs of affected communities are met in the broader contexts of repatriation, rehabilitation, and development strategies.

Goal areas

The goals of the WGVA have evolved somewhat since their formulation in 1998. They include:

  1. To secure increased levels of funding for victim assistance programs;
  2. To promote a broad range of activities to meet the needs of landmine survivors;
  3. To promote inclusion of landmine survivors in decision-making, planning, and implementation of programs and activities that concern them;
  4. To advocate for the rights of landmine survivors; and
  5. To facilitate information sharing about victim assistance among all relevant actors.


Participation in Intersessional Work: In September 1999, the WGVA began to shift its focus from internal activities to involvement in the intersessional work of the SCEs. In the first round of meetings, the WGVA coordinated a slate of eleven speakers and organized a number of further interventions from the floor. It also produced a “Sample Portfolio of Victim Assistance Programs” to encourage the development of a Global Portfolio of Victim Assistance as an SCE project.

Action points from the first SCE meeting on Victim Assistance were so numerous that for purposes of organization, the work was sub-divided into five on-going “Network Groups.” The WGVA facilitates two of these groups, Victim Assistance Reporting and Portfolio of Victim Assistance Programs. We also produced recommendations papers on each of the five topics, and participated, although minimally, in the other three groups. The groups include:

  • Portfolio of Victim Assistance Programs: facilitated by WGVA
  • Victim Assistance Reporting: facilitated by WGVA/HI
  • Strategic Use of Guidelines: The WGVA encourages wide distribution and use of all existing guidelines
  • Donor Coordination: The WGVA urges donors to support a range of activities through a range of partners/implementers in a range of countries
  • Information and Data Collection: We promote the principle of data collection without harm to individual survivors

Development of the Portfolio of Victim Assistance Programs: As of March 2000, the Portfolio had forty-eight one-page program descriptions representing a range of victim assistance activities in twenty-one countries and seventeen organizations. By September 2000, in time for the Second Meeting of States Parties, the Portfolio will have at least doubled the number of entries. The following are excerpts from the introduction to the March 2000 version of the Portfolio, which explains both its purposes and its limitations:

The purposes of the Portfolio are:

  • To raise awareness among governments, donors, and program implementers on the range of activities that constitute victim assistance.
  • To promote transparency among all actors in victim assistance.
  • To highlight needs that have not been addressed due to lack of resources.
  • To facilitate contact and information sharing among actors in victim assistance.

These limits of the Portfolio are important to clarify:

  • Programs included in the Portfolio have not been judged or evaluated by the SCE-VA. Users are advised to make their own inquiries and judgments of the programs.
  • The present edition is far from complete. Entries will be added on a continuous basis; active solicitation of entries from local NGOs and government programs is ongoing.
  • The Portfolio is not a substitute for in-depth investigation into a country’s national priorities and plans. It is merely a tool to use in the early stages of a full needs assessment.
  • The SCE-VA supports the principle that national level assessments, long-term strategic planning, and government ownership of issues are crucial for the development of sustainable responses to the problems created by landmines. Programs included in the Portfolio do not necessarily contribute to the operationalization of this principle.
<Mine Action Working Group | Non-State Actors Working Group >

[1] ICBL Guidelines for the Care and Rehabilitation of Survivors.