War, Armed Conflict & Disability Challenges, Statistics, Facts Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on DisabilityDjerba, TunisOctober 24, 2007
ContentsDefinition of conflictTypes of conflictSize of conflict worldwideCharacteristics, tools & conflict arenasRelationship between conflict and disabilityEffects of conflict on individual safety, health, wellbeing and developmentRehabilitating & improving the lives of persons disabled by armed conflict
Definition of Conflict
Conflict is a human phenomenon, a social process which has been going on since the dawn of humanity.
2. Types of Conflict
Regional warsCivil warsSocial violenceFamily violenceTerrorist attacks
3. Size of Conflicts
The world spends over 839 billion dollars a year on conflicts, arms and equipping armiesLandmines and random explosions result in the largest number of disabilities caused by wars and armed conflicts
3. ContinuedThere is in the world today more than 65 active conflicts in all regions of the worldModern conflicts encompass cities, human settlements & urban centersThe increase in the number of victims of conflict is proportional to the increase & variety of conflictsPopulations of Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Guatemala, Lebanon, Sarajevo, Sudan suffer the greatest consequences of landmines in the world
3. Continued1/3 of the world spends more on their military budget than they do on medical servicesIn June 2002 the G8 agreed to allocate 22 billion dollars to stop terrorism & weapons of mass destruction, but no actions were taken on small weapons and handgunsWorld estimates put the number of child soldiers used in different conflicts at 300.000 children
3. continuedAfrica, Asia & Latin America spend more than 22 billion dollars a year on weaponsthe same amount needed to reach the targets of the Millennium Development GoalsThere are more than 639 million individual arms and light weapons manufactured by 1135 companies in 89 countriesA great percentage of the funds that should be used in development are used to fund conflicts
3. continuedOver 8 million new weapons & small arms are produced annually 60% of which end up in civilian hands16 billion units of ammunition are produced annuallyi.e. two units (bullets, bombs) for every man, woman & child on the planetBy the year 2020 more people are expected to die as a result of armed conflicts & war than from all other causes
Highlights of the results of conflict in LebanonLebanese army reports in June 2005 put the number of landmines victims since 1970 at 1835 deaths and 2140 injured with permanent disabilitiesThere are half a million landmines and one million cluster bombs scattered in 155 Lebanese villages in Southern and Eastern Lebanon. These have resulted in 224 victims since July 2006 to this day.
Highlights of the results of conflicts in Iraq2003 estimates put the number of individual arms in Iraq at 24 million pieces, enough to arm every Iraqi man, woman & child Landmines & random explosions constitute the main threat to Iraqi civilians causing to date between 15-20,000 disability a year
4. Characteristics, tools & arenas of armed conflictsCharacteristics of conflict:Expansion of the areas of conflictGlobalization of conflictIntensity of conflictVariety of tools usedGreater powers of destructionGreater harm to persons, environment, way of life
5. Relationship between armed conflict & disabilityThere is a direct correlation between armed conflict & disabilityDealing with the results of a few minutes of conflicts can take up to 10 years and cost several million dollarsIn as much as wars & armed conflicts lead to disability, persons with disabilities are in turn more likely to become victims of violence due to their disabilityChildren & women with disabilities are often more vulnerable in times of armed conflict
5. continuedIn addition to traditional wars between nations, civil wars & armed conflicts between local factions, cluster bombs, landmines and terrorist attacks are the principal cause of disability among civilians in most countries
6. Effect of armed conflict on the health, safety, wellbeing, developmentViolence is one of the main contributors to disabilityThe world needs intensive awareness raising programs on the effects of violencePersons with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence, abuse and exploitation
Violence remains one of the main threats to the safety, development and wellbeing of childrenWar, terrorism, domestic violence, neglect, confessional/sectarian violence, organized crime constitute major threats to civilians, particularly children & women across the world57,000 children die every year due to violence & armed conflict, according to WHO.
For every child that is killed as a result of armed violence, 100 children are left with permanent, life-long disabilitiesIn many countries persons with disabilities are the victims of hate crimes, racial conflicts & racismIn many countries children & persons with disabilities are forced into lives of begging on the streetsIn many countries children with mild or intellectual disabilities are victims of sexual exploitation & trafficking
7. Challenges of rehabilitation in face of violent conflict
a process aimed at enabling persons with disabilities to reach & maintain their optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric, social functional levels, providing them with the tools to achieve higher levels of independence
2. Rehabilitation is a right for every individual with disability regardless of the type and degree of their disability3. Governments, organizations & communities are required to ensure the provision of appropriate rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities
Wars & armed conflict situation also produce invisible psychosocial disabilities resulting from trauma.
Left untreated trauma will result in permanent and debilitating disabilities
Depression & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A 1996 study has found that depression & PTSD will become the second leading cause of disability in post-conflict countries. (Murray & Lopez)Rehabilitation for PTSD has been on the assumption that the effects are transitoryStudies show that for displaced & refugee populations PTSD is long-lasting & requires on-going rehabilitation
Depression & PTSD
Prevalence of depression among populations that have experience armed conflict is 60-70% as opposed to 10-20% in non-conflict countriesPeople who have suffered physical disabilities due to war require rehabilitation services at all levels
5. Measures necessary for successful rehabilitationAt the national level:Adopting clear policiesEnacting legislationsImplementing programmesAllocating financial resourcesTraining personnelMaking rehabilitation services accessibleInvolving disabled persons organizations
Rehabilitation Services should include:All persons who need itAll types of disabilitiesAll socio-economic groupsAll racial groupsAll geographic areasAll religions, denominations, sectsRefugees & displaced populations