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Supporting rehabilitation services and preventing accidents

An injured man reading a mine risk education leaflet, Iraq
© A.Carle/Handicap International

Handicap International works with disabled people's organisations and service providers in Iraq to make everyday services accessible to all. We promote the rights of people with disabilities, create awareness about the needs and abilities of disabled people, and work to reduce the number of people killed and injured by accidents involving landmines and explosive weapons.

Handicap International's activities in Iraq were launched in 1992 in the immediate aftermath of the first Gulf War. Since then we have provided rehabilitation care in northern Iraq by supporting rehabilitation centres and mobile rehabilitation units.

In 2003 we launched a huge mine risk education campaign to prevent accidents caused by landmines and other explosive weapons. At the same time we set up a demining programme in the densely populated suburbs of Baghdad to identify and safely destroy cluster munitions and other deadly weapons, which littered the ground. That demining team is still working today. Over time, we have also trained physiotherapists and launched initiatives to make rehabilitation services more accessible.

Key facts

With millions of landmines and other explosive weapons still contaminating large parts of the country, Iraqis live with the legacy of conflict every single day. Demining and mine risk education will need to continue for years. Ongoing violence has left vital infrastructure, including health services, struggling to recover and many people with injuries have been unable to access the treatment and care they need.

• Human Development Index: 131st out of 186
• Life expectancy: 69 years
• Population: 33 million
Source: UNDP HDR 2013

Iraq, ten years on
Iraq, ten years on: Civilians dramatically exposed to armed violence
Iraq, 20th March 2013. Ten years after the launch of Anglo-American military operations in Iraq, Handicap International has expressed its alarm at the dire situation facing the country’s civilian population. For the last 10 years, civilians have borne the brunt of armed violence in Iraq and the withdrawal of coalition troops has not improved the security situation.
Lynn Bradach
"We can stop those tragedies happening"
Iraq, 2011. Lynn Bradach, the mother of a US soldier killed by a US sub-munition in Iraq, talks about her anger against this weapon.
War victim in Iraq
Feras Ibrahim Ias, war victim
Iraq. On the 8th April 2003, as Feras, 33, his wife and their five month old baby were crossing the bridge over the Tigris in Baghdad, a tank hit their car with a rocket.

Our projects

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Improving access to rehabilitation services in northern Iraq

Goal: To provide sustainable access to people-centred rehabilitation services for disabled people in northern Iraq.
Beneficiaries: People with disabilities, particularly children with disabilities.

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Mine Risk Education in northern and southern Iraq

Goal: To give people the knowledge they need to protect themselves and others from the dangers of landmines and other explosive weapons. In 51 communities in northern Iraq and 12 communities in southern Iraq, volunteers trained by Handicap International create local awareness about the ways to avoid accidents. The volunteers develop risk reduction strategies with both local and national partners.
Beneficiaries: People living with the danger of landmines and explosive weapons in 51 areas of northern Iraq and in 12 areas within the governorates of Basra and Missan in southern Iraq. Local partners include the Bustan Association for the Protection and Education of Children, UNICEF and regional mine action centres.

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Assistance to the victims of landmines and other explosive weapons

Goal: To ensure that the victims of landmines and other explosive weapons, and other people with disabilities, can access quality rehabilitation care. In northern Iraq we are providing training and technical guidance to physiotherapists and prosthetics & orthotics technicians working at rehabilitation centres. We are also developing home-based rehabilitation care and working with the families of landmine victims so they can be involved in the rehabilitation of family members.
Beneficiaries: At least 17,000 people (mostly children) each year in the areas of Duhok and Sulaymaniyah as well as staff at three rehabilitation centres, disabled people's organisations, the Iraq Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) and the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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