Goto main content

A better future for Joc, wounded by a submunition in Laos when 15.

Explosive weapons

Joc was hit by a cluster munition while he was fishing. He was 5. His life changed.

Portrait of Joc

Portrait of Joc | © Singkham / HI

HI is supporting Joc, 19, from the village of Soplao in the north east of Laos, who lost part of his hearing and his left arm following the explosion of a sub-munition.

Joc's accident

Joc was a resourceful 5-year-old boy. He used to fish. One day, he looks for earthworms to make bait. An old cluster munition buried in the ground exploded and tore his hand. He spent 30 days in the hospital in Xiengkhuang, in the province next to where Joc lives, and lost part of his left arm and his hearing.

Joc's difficult daily life

Portrait of Joc.Since his accident, Joc has a lot of difficulties to realize different tasks of the daily life such as wearing clothes, cooking, riding a bike… To continue school was difficult for him because of his hearing disability: he was not able to listen to the teacher; socialize with friends became difficult, etc.  He felt marginalized and was even the target of his classmates' mockery...

Be a local “ambassador” of inclusion thanks to HI

In 2019, Joc at school writing on a poster, with his classmates.Joc attended a training course organised by HI for the inclusion of people with disabilities.
Thuas, Joc became an ambassador an HI inclusion: he supports, advises and integrates other people with disabilities in his village.

“Survivors or people with disabilities tend to be marginalized. Having a survivor like Joc as an HI local ambassador on inclusion helps us to raise awareness of communities on the fact that survivors and people with disabilities have the right to participate meaningfully in all decision-making processes that affect them.”

Julien Kempeneers, Regional AVR/HMA Specialist

This year, Joc attended a cows raising training organized by HI. Raising animals will be a great opportunity, which will make him more autonomous and independent.

"I want to have a good future, to be included in the society, to live happily and independently".


Mine clearance in Laos: a crucial issue

HI launched its first depollution operations in Laos in June 1996: it consists in "collecting" remains of exploded bombs, pieces of bombs, explosive residues, grenades, ammunitions... The deminers also detect larger bombs, often weighing several hundred kilos, which did not explode on impact and transport them to a specialized site to be detonated.
Laos is mainly known for its contamination by cluster bombs (small bombs as big as a tennis ball) that the association detonates on site. Laos has the highest level of cluster bomb contamination in the world. 1 200 km² of areas (more than ten times Paris) have already been identified as dangerous.
The demining by HI in Laos started in June 1996.
•    HI has decontaminated 1,5 million square meters since 2018 in Houaphan province ;
•    5 millions square meters since 2006 in Houaphan and Savannakhet provinces.
•    Since 2019, Hi has destroyed 6,710 unexploded ordnances.

Where your



Fatou Thiam




Help them

To go further

 Increase of use of landmines driven by Russia, Myanmar and non-state armed groups Explosive weapons

Increase of use of landmines driven by Russia, Myanmar and non-state armed groups

The Landmine Monitor 2022 reports a high number of casualties caused by landmines - including improvised mines and explosive remnants of war - for the seventh year in a row. The Monitor recorded 5,544 casualties in 2021. 75% of them were civilians. This high figure is mainly the result of increased armed conflicts and contamination with improvised mines since 2015. The use of landmines by the Russian and Myanmar armies, as well as by non-state armed groups in five countries, are the main factors of a sharp global increase of the use of these weapons in 2022.

States will gather in Geneva from November 21th to 25th for the 20th annual Mine Ban Treaty conference. As we celebrate the 25 years of the Ottawa Treaty, HI urges States to pressure parties to conflict to end the use of these barbaric weapons and to support the funding of victims assistance that is shrinking despite growing needs and high casualty rates in recent years.

Read the full report.

80 States have made history by endorsing the international agreement against bombing on towns and cities
© G. Lordet / HI
Explosive weapons

80 States have made history by endorsing the international agreement against bombing on towns and cities

Acknowledging the devastating humanitarian consequences of bombing and shelling of towns and cities, 80 States adopted an international agreement to better protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, at the Dublin Conference on November 18, 2022.

The day I stepped on a mine, my fate was sealed
© J. M. Vargas / HI
Explosive weapons

The day I stepped on a mine, my fate was sealed

Marta Quintero has been part of HI’s demining operations in Colombia for seven years. She is working for the future of her country with an unerring determination born out of personal experience.