Aleema Shivji is Director of Handicap International UK. With more than fifteen years of experience working in the field of disability, Aleema is particularly an expert in the inclusion of disabled and vulnerable people in humanitarian emergencies. Originally a qualified physiotherapist, since 2005 Aleema has worked with Handicap International across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean, in crisis and post-crisis contexts. Before taking over as Executive Director of Handicap International UK in 2012, Aleema was Country Director for the organisation’s programme in Haiti.
56 countries have received official invitations to gather in London this week for the world's largest arms fair. As buyers and sellers of arms are networking and making preliminary deals, we must not forget the appalling impact explosive weapons have on civilians and encourage all arms users to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
The level of contamination is unprecedented in Iraq: there are explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices in fields, homes, sometimes inside corpses, or behind refrigerator doors. Our weapons clearance experts have already destroyed more than one thousand explosive remnants of war in just a few weeks.
Children are most at risk. With the innocence of youth, they fetch water, collect wood and play football. On a path, they step on an invisible landmine, or reach for a brightly coloured cluster bomb found in a bush. In a split second, if they survive, their life will be devastated - changed forever.
Seeing the images of Haiti devastated by Hurricane Matthew moves me and gives me a feeling of déjà vu. I have been lucky enough to work in Haiti over several years and loved my time spent alongside some incredible Haitians. But it also brings back memories of facing a terrible disaster...
The tragedy behind Iraj's story is shared by millions of Syrians displaced by the ongoing conflict. The numbers related to this crisis are so big, it can be hard to think of them as individual stories, specific families, unique faces... Each story we hear has one thing in common: explosive weapons are always part of their heart-breaking account.
27/09/2016 16:45 BST
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