Landmine Survivors Network.
For several years the personal stories presented by landmine survivors have had a significant impact in reminding experts, diplomats and decision-makers of the human faces behind issues being discussed. However, after the successful realization of a convention banning anti-personnel mines, there is a need to deepen the practice of inclusion to ensure that landmine survivors are effectively involved in the expression of their needs and in the development of means to meet these needs.
Raising the Voices, a leadership training program for survivors is being held in Geneva during the standing committee meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty attended by government representatives, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The goal is to develop a team of survivor representatives from mine-affected countries who have the capacity to advocate on behalf of survivors and other people with disabilities both within their own countries and internationally.
Each year, the training brings survivors from different regions of the world to the meetings. In addition to learning about the rights of people with disabilities, participants to the January 2002 session prepared a statement to the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance about the importance of basic literacy and education to the lives of survivors, and developedr advocacy projects to work on in their home countries. Another group, consisting of anglophone or lusophone survivors from Africa, will participate in the same Raising the Voices training during the May, 2002 meetings of the Standing Committees. Both groups of survivors will return to Geneva in September to participate in the Fourth Meeting of States Parties and to report on their projects.
Assistance and logistic help