Newsletter Index     Boletín 2015

 

NEWSLETTER NO.2 June 24th 2015

Dear friends and colleagues

“If you are blind what are your options in an Earthquake?”

What happens to persons with disabilities in emergencies, war and conflict situations? The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – article 11

“Persons with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disaster, emergency, and conflict situations due to
inaccessible evacuation, response (including shelters, camps, and food distribution), and recovery efforts”.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2013

Around 15% of the world’s population has a disability. According to the UNHCR, the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people who were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013 was 51.2 million. This means that at least 4.5 million of the refugees have a disability. The numbers are probably higher since wars and disasters are continuously increasing the amount of persons with disabilities.

This is why it is important to highlight the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and especially article 11, regarding situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies that claims:

“States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters”.

Among the most vulnerable are children with disabilities , , whose right to assistance – ranging from health to education – is often overlooked in humanitarian response. As a result, they are left more vulnerable to a life of poverty and abuse, and denied their rightful place in helping strengthen and rebuild their communities and countries.

Women and girls with disabilities are at large at higher risk to being exposed to gender based violence. How can we address violence against women and girls with disabilities, and emphasis the need for a holistic approach aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls with disabilities? Is it possible to promote their autonomy and addressing specific risk factors that expose them to violence?

In war and conflict situations, who will be the ones to make sure that the rights of people with disabilities are fulfilled? Who is responsible when the State fails to fulfill its duties? What happens with human rights in conflict situations, and how do such situations affect the most vulnerable groups in society?

The Conclusion on refugees with disabilities and other persons with disabilities protected and assisted by United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) migh give us some answers. The Conclution Recognice that host States, which are often developing countries, have limited resources and face various challenges in providing such services and facilities; reaffirming, therefore, the international community and UNHCR's role to assist States in fulfilling these responsibilities, in the spirit of international cooperation and burden sharing.

Further reading

Articles, publications and websites that highlight different aspects of human rights and disabilities

  • Definition of disabilities
    Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.

  • International norms and standards relating to disability part v. persons with disabilities and multiple discrimination - rights of special groups < Disabled persons who have to leave their countries find themselves in particularly disadvantaged situations. Disabled refugees are an extremely vulnerable group and are, therefore, in need of special attention. However, there are no legal instruments at an international level, as such, to protect the rights disabled refugees. Disabled refugees can only refer to scattered provisions of conventions, instruments and international humanitarian law.

  • Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs
    For the millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenge also applies to the elderly and other special needs populations. Protecting yourself and your family when disaster strikes requires planning ahead. This booklet will help you get started.

  • Disability Inclusion: Policy to Practice -
    This report presents the approaches, positive practices and ongoing challenges to operationalizing disability in¬clusion across UNHCR and its partner organizations, and provides lessons and recommendations for the wider humanitarian community.

  • The United Nations office of the High Commissioner of Human Right´s website on the Human rights of persons with disabilities

  • Monitoring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Guidance for human rights monitors
    The adoption and the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol challenge such attitudes and mark a profound shift in existing approaches towards disability. In the Convention, the focus is no longer on a perceived “wrongness” of the person, with the impairment seen as a matter of deficiency or disease. On the contrary, the Convention views disability as a “pathology of society”, that is, as the result of the failure of societies to be inclusive and to accommodate individual differences. Societies need to change, not the individual, and the Convention provides a road map for such change.)
  • Thematic study on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability
    It analyses national legislation, policies and programs for the protection and prevention of violence against women and girls with disabilities. It highlights the remaining challenges in addressing the root causes of violence against women and girls with disabilities and incorporating women and girls with disabilities into gender-based violence programs. The study concludes with recommendations on legislative, administrative, policy and programmatic measures to address violence against women and girls with disabilities, with emphasis on the need for a holistic approach aimed at eliminating discrimination against women and girls with disabilities, promoting their autonomy and addressing specific risk factors that expose them to violence.


  • Disabilities Among Refugees and Conflict-affected Populations
    Based on field research in five refugee situations, as well as global desk research, the report maps existing services for displaced persons with disabilities, identifies gaps and good practices and makes recommendations on how to improve services, protection and participation for displaced persons with disabilities. It also includes a Resource Kit geared toward UN and nongovernmental organization (NGO) field staff working with displaced persons with disabilities.

  • Women with Disabilities: The Forgotten Peace Builders
    Women across the world are standing their ground against political exclusion, but more must be done to ensure that a gender-sensitive approach is used, that all women have the opportunity to participate in building the rule of law and strengthening democracy, and that all women have a voice in decision-making processes post-conflict.
  • Facebook

    Please check out our Facebook page and like us. On our HHRI face book page we are posting new and relevant articles that we add to our web site, as well as newsletters and videos.

    Upcoming events

    We appreciate feedback and comments

    The Health and Human Rights Newsletter is an electronic newsletter launched by HHRI with an aim to give insight to a certain subject in the cross section of our work; human rights violations in war & conflict areas and mental health. Our intention is to form the newsletter as a short “lecture” where you can find relevant information regarding a specific subject with a mental health perspective. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have views to share or ideas/suggestions for forthcoming issues. As always we are delighted to receive comments and suggestions for the HHRI newsletter and for the web page. In order to improve our assistance to those working with psychosocial support with persons in situations of conflict, emergency and subjected to human rights violations, we need information from you. We are also interested in spreading news about events and conferences held in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

    Health and Human Rights Info writes and distributes this newsletter, currently reaching more than 4.300 subscribers, free of charge. If you receive this newsletter for the first time, it is either because someone has recommended that we add your e-mail address to the list of subscribers, or because we believe that you might be interested in some or all of its content. Consider it an offer. If you want to continue to receive this newsletter, you don't need to do anything.

    If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this e-newsletter about our project, please forward it, and encourage them to sign up by sending us an e-mail.

    Health and Human Rights Info
    Elisabeth Ng Langdal
    Executive Director
    postmaster@hhri.org
    www.hhri.org

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    NEWSLETTER NO.1 April 29th 2015

    Dear friends and colleagues

    We have gathered some links for relief workers working with survivors of the earthquake in Nepal

    “This natural disaster will create untold mental health consequences – not just for the survivors who live and work in the communities and villages that were in the center of earthquake. This is truly a global natural and human disaster. Yet, the major and continuing task to address the disaster’s aftermath will fall on volunteers and professionals living and working in extremely difficult conditions in Nepal. Their jobs will remain the most difficult and most wrenching, long after the television news teams are gone and the world’s attention moves to new events and occurrences. Mental health professionals and volunteers, of all the relief workers, have some of the hardest and longest lasting work ahead of them”.

    General information on the situation in Nepal

    Guidelines for relief workers

    • HHRI thematic page on disaster
      A webpage with useful links to guidelines on disaster. By definition is a disaster a tragedy of a natural or human-made hazard that negatively affects society or environment. Often developing countries suffer much greater costs when a disaster hits because these countries are much more vulnerable, and have less appropriate disaster management measures. Earthquakes, floods, volcano eruptions and man-made disasters, can cause – in addition to all damages on the infrastructure – significant psychological and social suffering to the population that has been affected. The psychological and social impacts of disasters may be acute in the short term, but they can also undermine the long-term mental health and psychosocial well-being of the affected population.
    • Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings
      IASC 2008
      These guidelines reflect the insights of practitioners from different geographic regions, disciplines and sectors, and reflect an emerging consensus on good practice among practitioners. The core idea behind them is that, in the early phase of an emergency, social supports are essential to protect and support mental health and psychosocial well-being (191 pages pdf).
    • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network gives you information on how to help children in a situation of earthquake
      These pages covers the impact on Children and Families with headlines as Description, Readiness, Response, Recovery regarding earthquakes.
    • Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide
      National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD
      an evidence-informed modular approach for assisting people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism: to reduce initial distress, and to foster short and long-term adaptive functioning. It is for use by disaster responders including first responders, incident command systems, primary and emergency health care providers, school crisis response teams, faith-based organizations, disaster relief organizations
    • Guidelines for gender-based violence interventions in humanitarian settings IASC 2005 We also know that in times of crises and disaster there is an increased level of violence, in particular in gender based violence (GBV) . GBV is a serious problem in the context of complex emergencies and natural disasters where normal structures of society are seriously affected and alternative safeguards not yet in place. Women and children are often targets of abuse, and are the most vulnerable to exploitation, violence, and abuse simply because of their gender, age, and status in society. Women and girls that are displaced from their home will often experience multiple traumatic experiences.
    • Managing stress in humanitarian workers - Guidelines for Good Practice
      For mental health workers empathy is an essential aspect of good help. This is also a source for compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatisation or secondary traumatic stress (STS). Early recognition and awareness is crucial to be resilient to these symptoms. Awareness of this is important for workers in areas of conflict and disaster, and in extreme environments such as these, people may be more vulnerable to secondary traumatization. We also know that professionals under this kind of stress may be at risk to perform less efficiently and not perform as they would normally do. You can dowload the guidelines ( English, French, Arabic, Spanish and Albanian) at the bottom of the page.
    • Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings
      These guidelines reflect the insights of practitioners from different geographic regions, disciplines and sectors, and reflect an emerging consensus on good practice among practitioners. The core idea behind them is that, in the early phase of an emergency, social supports are essential to protect and support mental health and psychosocial well-being.
    • Managing Traumatic Stress: Tips for Recovering From Natural Disasters
      APA Help Center (2005)
      When a natural disaster affects a community, the resulting trauma can reverberate even with those not directly affected by the disaster.
      Disasters of this type can be sudden and overwhelming. In addition to the often catastrophic toll on lives and property, a disaster like a tsunami(tidal wave), hurricane or fire can have an impact on those who have lost loved ones and even those who feel more vulnerable as a result of learning about the disaster.
    • Inter-Agency Guiding Principles on Unaccompanied and separated children
      Children separated from their parents and families because of conflict, population displacement or natural disasters are among the most vulnerable. Separated from those closest to them, these children have lost the care and protection of their families in the turmoil, just when they most need them. They face abuse and exploitation, and even their very survival may be threatened. They may assume adult responsibilities, such as protecting and caring for younger sisters and brothers. Children and adolescents who have lost all that is familiar – home, family, friends, stability – are potent symbols of the dramatic impact of humanitarian crises on individual lives.

      We appreciate feedback and comments

      The Health and Human Rights Newsletter is an electronic newsletter launched by HHRI with an aim to give insight to a certain subject in the cross section of our work; human rights violations in war & conflict areas and mental health. Our intention is to form the newsletter as a short “lecture” where you can find relevant information regarding a specific subject with a mental health perspective. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have views to share or ideas/suggestions for forthcoming issues. As always we are delighted to receive comments and suggestions for the HHRI newsletter and for the web page. In order to improve our assistance to those working with psychosocial support with persons in situations of conflict, emergency and subjected to human rights violations, we need information from you. We are also interested in spreading news about events and conferences held in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

      Health and Human Rights Info writes and distributes this newsletter, currently reaching more than 4.300 subscribers, free of charge. If you receive this newsletter for the first time, it is either because someone has recommended that we add your e-mail address to the list of subscribers, or because we believe that you might be interested in some or all of its content. Consider it an offer. If you want to continue to receive this newsletter, you don't need to do anything.

      If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this e-newsletter about our project, please forward it, and encourage them to sign up by sending us an e-mail.

      Sincerely yours

      Health and Human Rights Info
      Elisabeth Ng Langdal
      Executive Director
      postmaster@hhri.org
      www.hhri.org

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      NEWSLETTER NO.4 December 22nd 2014

      Dear friends and colleagues

      Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Rights

      “As men and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general, and in particular discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. When individuals are attacked, abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation, we must speak out … Today, many nations have modern constitutions that guarantee essential rights and liberties. And yet, homosexuality is considered a crime in more than 70 countries. This is not right. Yes, we recognize that social attitudes run deep. Yes, social change often comes only with time. But let there be no confusion: where there is tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, rights must carry the day. Personal disapproval, even society’s disapproval, is no excuse to arrest, detain, imprison, harass or torture anyone, ever. “ –

      UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon, 10 December 2010

      The Universal Declaration of Human rights states in Article 2: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" This article is an important reminder of the absolute right not to be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

      OHCHR claims that protecting LGBT people from violence and discrimination does not require the creation of a new set of LGBT-specific rights, nor does it require the establishment of new international human rights standards. The legal obligations of States to safeguard the human rights of LGBT people are well established in international human rights law on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequently agreed international human rights treaties. All people, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law.

      Even so, in many countries it is not only illegal to be LGBT, but if you, as a parent, neighbor, fellow worker or physician fail to report someone if you find out, you might face charges and imprisonment.

      In addition to judicial difficulties and the lack of full enjoyment of civil rights in many countries, the stigma of being LGBT may lead to a number of other serious issues, including health problems. According to the American Psychological Association (APP) several studies suggest that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals appear to have higher rates of some mental disorders compared with heterosexuals, although not to the level of a serious pathology. Discrimination, also in the area of health system may help fuel these higher rates. We are talking about the serious consequences of human rights violations on persons’ health, well-being and possibility to live according to own choices and preferences.

      To follow up on the human rights perspective in relation to this, we have added a new thematic page on LGBT rights where we have collected publications on UN resolutions and documents, articles regarding LGBT and mental health and organizations that are working with LGBT issues. We would very much appreciate feedback, comments and suggestions on relevant publications to add to this page. Please check our thematic page on LGBT rights for more links.

      For many, gender orientation may be related to serious and painful events, for some even traumatic experiences with the consequences known from the trauma field in general In our search for good links we found limited information regarding psychological trauma in persons with LGBT background due to stigma and persecution. But we would nevertheless take the opportunity to refer to our recently published manual about GBV where outline of what is trauma, what are trauma reactions and how to deal with them are outlined and described rather concretely. Our manual is freely available from our website.

      Facebook

      Please check out our Facebook page and like us. On our HHRI face book page we are posting new and relevant articles that we add to our web site, as well as newsletters and videos.

      Upcoming events

      We appreciate feedback and comments

      The Health and Human Rights Newsletter is an electronic newsletter launched by HHRI with an aim to give insight to a certain subject in the cross section of our work; human rights violations in war & conflict areas and mental health. Our intention is to form the newsletter as a short “lecture” where you can find relevant information regarding a specific subject with a mental health perspective. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have views to share or ideas/suggestions for forthcoming issues. As always we are delighted to receive comments and suggestions for the HHRI newsletter and for the web page. In order to improve our assistance to those working with psychosocial support with persons in situations of conflict, emergency and subjected to human rights violations, we need information from you. We are also interested in spreading news about events and conferences held in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

      Health and Human Rights Info writes and distributes this newsletter, currently reaching more than 4.300 subscribers, free of charge. If you receive this newsletter for the first time, it is either because someone has recommended that we add your e-mail address to the list of subscribers, or because we believe that you might be interested in some or all of its content. Consider it an offer. If you want to continue to receive this newsletter, you don't need to do anything.

      If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this e-newsletter about our project, please forward it, and encourage them to sign up by sending us an e-mail.

      HHRI wish you a peaceful 2015 with improved conditions for justice and human rights for all.

      Sincerely yours

      Health and Human Rights Info
      Elisabeth Ng Langdal
      Executive Director
      postmaster@hhri.org
      www.hhri.org

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      NEWSLETTER NO.3 December 9th 2014

      Dear friends and colleagues

      Child survivors of sexual violence

      According to UNOCHA during the last civil conflict in Liberia, local media reported on a massive increase of sexual violence. Of the 658 rape survivors, nearly 50 per cent were between 5 and 12 years of age. In 90 per cent of the cases involving children, the perpetrator was someone known to the victim. This situation, we know, is not unique for Liberia.

      In our work on and piloting of the training manual “Mental health and gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict” we have been asked several times about how to approach child survivors of sexual violence. The manual we have developed refers primarily to women and girls as victims of sexual violence. However, we know that men and boys are also victims of rape and other sexual violence, what we have observed is that it tends to be especially difficult for them to overcome these experiences, to the point of avoiding in most of the cases, talk about it. In our manual we have introduced a number of bibliographic references related to gender violence that can be used to understand a little better the situation in which men and children are trying to overcome and although in the manual are not developed in detail its own needs, links and bibliographical references included there, can help answer the questions that may arise in relation to such support specifically to them.

      When talking to child survivors the use of metaphors may be a useful tool. We have used the metaphor of the butterfly woman in order to speak of the trauma event. With children you might want to use another story where the child is the hero/heroine. The grounding exercises in our manual may also be suitable for older children. For younger children you will find some good grounding exercises here.

      Nevertheless we believe this manual is suitable for work with male survivors of gender-based violence as well, provided it is adapted appropriately. But a separate training module would be required for working with children (boys and girls) who survive GBV.

      When preparing the manual, we did a desk review study. When doing this we found that there is little written about how to assist, and how to heal children after sexual violence in war and conflict. We have seen that a majority of publications related to this topic is related to sexual violence in close relationships.

      The importance now is to focus more clearly on the situation of children survivors of sexual violence in war and conflict, who in addition to sexual violence, usually have endured other traumatic experiences as well, in situations defined by insecurity and lack of basic needs All this may inflict strongly on the short as well as long term consequences of sexual violence.

      A large part of the literature concerns children, sexual violation focus on legal protection, legal provision and legal measures. We have here listed a few publications, guidelines and websites that will say more about the mental health aspect and the difference in how children and grownups react to the traumatic experience of sexual violence.

      Some of you have received the manual already. For others we would like to invite you to have a closer look at the manual. It can be downloaded directly from the webpage. Please let us know if you are interested in receiving a copy of the manual, free of charge by sending us an e-mail.

      Articles, publications and websites that highlight different aspects of children and sexual violence.

      • Caring for Child Survivor’s Resources Guidelines for health and psychosocial service providers in humanitarian settings
        The Caring for Child Survivors (CCS) of Sexual Abuse Guidelines were developed to respond to the gap in global guidance for health and psychosocial staff providing care and treatment to child survivors of sexual abuse in humanitarian setting. The CCS Guidelines are based on global research and evidenced-based field practice, and bring a much-needed fresh and practical approach to helping child survivors, and their families, recover and heal from the oftentimes devastating impacts of sexual abuse. (International Rescue Committee 2012).
      • Mapping of Psychosocial Support forgirls and boys affected by Child Sexual Abuse in Four Countries in South and Central Asia
        Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is one of the most serious violations of children’s rights in the South and Central Asian region. The extent of the problem is not known exactly as it is difficult to obtain data on it. However, there are clear indications that the problem is widespread and that it takes place in all spheres of life: families, schools, workplaces, communities etc. It is a well-known fact that sexual abuse has severe consequences for the concerned children and that the violation affects them for the rest of their lives.
        (Save the children 2003)
      • Children and trauma helping families from war to Peace: trauma – stabilizing Principles for helpers, parents and children.
        What are the implications of modern trauma theory for teachers, therapists, community health workers, youth workers and parents to support the healing processes after horrors of war? This article is intended as a translation of modern trauma theory into 10 practical principles for people working with war traumatized refugee families. Complex trauma exposure can be caused by war, and children exposed to complex trauma often experience lifelong problems.
        (Cecilie Kolflaath Larsen, Judith van der Weele 2011)
      • Caring for Kids: What Parents Need to Know about Sexual Abuse
        that research has repeatedly shown that child sexual abuse can have a very serious impact on physical and mental health, as well as later sexual adjustment. Depending on the severity of and number of traumas experienced, child sexual abuse can have wide-reaching and long-lasting effects on an individual’s physical and mental health. Sexual abuse also tends to occur in the presence of other forms of child maltreatment and life adversity.
        (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
      • Treatment for Abused and Neglected Children: Infancy to Age 18
        Therapy is the art and science of helping children make sense of their feelings, thoughts, and behavior and learn how to control their behavior and improve interactions with others. It is art because it calls on the therapist's creativity, intuition, and spontaneity. It is a science because therapy with abused and neglected children is based on theory, research, and clinical studies. The goals that need to be accomplished and the techniques or interventions that help children address and grow beyond the experience of abuse and neglect are gleaned from theory and clinical literature, research, and experience.
        (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
      • Exercises for Grounding, Emotional Regulation & Relaxation for children and their parents
        Grounding is an important therapeutic approach for handling dissociation or flashbacks, and reducing the symptoms of anxiety and panic. It is important to practice the exercises until the skill becomes automatic and can be called on even during moments of distress. The aim of grounding is to take the survivor out of whatever traumatic moment that is remembered.
        (National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health)
      • The national child traumatic stress network
        The kit provides parents and caregivers with tools to help them support children who have been victims of sexual abuse, information on the importance of talking to children and youth about body safety, and guidance on how to respond when children disclose sexual abuse. Also included is advice on how to cope with the shock of intra-familial abuse and with the emotional impact of legal involvement in sexual abuse cases (both in English and in Spanish).
        (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
      • Qué Es el Abuso y la Negligencia de Menores? Reconociendo los Indicios y los Síntomas
        Qué Es el Abuso y la Negligencia de Menores? Reconociendo los Indicios y los Síntomas El primer paso para ayudar a los niños que han sido abusados o descuidados es reconocer los indicios del maltrato de menores. La presencia de un solo indicio no necesariamente significa que haya ocurrido el maltrato en una familia, pero merecen tomarse en cuenta si estos indicios aparecen con frecuencia o en combinación. Esta hoja informativa está diseñada para ayudarle a entender mejor la definición legal de abuso y negligencia de menores, aprender sobre los diferentes tipos de abuso y negligencia y reconocer los indicios y síntomas de abuso y negligencia. También se incluyen recursos sobre el impacto del trauma al bienestar personal.
      • Ayudando a Niños y Adolescentes a Superar la Violencia y los Desastres: Que Pueden Hacer los Padres
        Los padres y demás miembros de la familia juegan papeles importantes. Ellos ayudan a aquellos niños que experimentan violencia o desastres. Ellos ayudan a los niños a superar el trauma. Ellos ayudan a proteger a los niños de traumas adicionales. Ellos ayudan a los niños a obtener atención médica y asistencia psicológica. Ellos también ayudan a los jóvenes a evitar o superar problemas emocionales. Estos problemas pueden ser resultado de un trauma.
      • Facebook

        Please check out our Facebook page and like us. On our HHRI face book page we are posting new and relevant articles that we add to our web site, as well as newsletters and videos.

        Upcoming events

        We appreciate feedback and comments

        The Health and Human Rights Newsletter is an electronic newsletter launched by HHRI with an aim to give insight to a certain subject in the cross section of our work; human rights violations in war & conflict areas and mental health. Our intention is to form the newsletter as a short “lecture” where you can find relevant information regarding a specific subject with a mental health perspective. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have views to share or ideas/suggestions for forthcoming issues. As always we are delighted to receive comments and suggestions for the HHRI newsletter and for the web page. In order to improve our assistance to those working with psychosocial support with persons in situations of conflict, emergency and subjected to human rights violations, we need information from you. We are also interested in spreading news about events and conferences held in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

        Health and Human Rights Info writes and distributes this newsletter, currently reaching more than 4.300 subscribers, free of charge. If you receive this newsletter for the first time, it is either because someone has recommended that we add your e-mail address to the list of subscribers, or because we believe that you might be interested in some or all of its content. Consider it an offer. If you want to continue to receive this newsletter, you don't need to do anything.

        If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this e-newsletter about our project, please forward it, and encourage them to sign up by sending us an e-mail.

        Sincerely yours

        Health and Human Rights Info
        Elisabeth Ng Langdal
        Executive Director
        postmaster@hhri.org
        www.hhri.org

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        NEWSLETTER NO.2 OCTOBER 22ND 2014

        Dear friends and colleagues

        Gender Based Violence in War and Conflict – Approaching and Assisting Survivors

        HHRI is proud to - finally, after 3 years of work - present our manual
        “Mental health and gender-based violence - Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict – a training manual”,
        a manual intended to assist helpers in their direct work with survivors of gender based violence.

        Gender-based violence in war and conflict areas has for decades been a constant threat to civil society, and in particular women and children, and this form of violence has also been termed, a tool of war. Thousands of women have been affected by gross violations of their rights, including reproductive rights, and are struggling to get their lives back on track. Gender-based violence is a serious attack on the dignity of the survivor, and it strongly affects family and community as well. Different UN resolutions have over time aimed at placing these women’s lives on the agenda – that is to prevent, to stop, to hold to account those who are responsible and provide redress to survivors. And many good manuals and handbooks have been made to follow up on these objectives.

        The Manual that we are now presenting addresses the trauma of rape and aims at creating an understanding of the impact that such events have on individuals, what kind of reactions a survivor may have and that these may be reactions that are frequently observed after violent events. There is also focus on reactions as being painful, strong and distressing. By following a story, practicing exercises, and being active in group work, the participants will explore understandings of trauma, and practice ways of dealing with trauma-related reactions. The exercises will offer the participants skills that are useful in their work with trauma survivors and give them an opportunity to discuss and share their experiences as helpers and their own good practices. At the same time much weight will be given to the importance of having a respectful and human rights based approach in this work. The aim is to enable helpers to apply these skills in a practical context, as well as approaches and attitudes addressed in the training. This is important regardless of whether they work with survivors over long periods of time or meet with them only briefly.

        This manual is a training-manual, not a therapy manual. The training is designed for individuals who directly provide care, help and assistance to people who have been exposed to human rights violations and abuse, notably gender-based and sexual violence, and for personnel who support other care providers involved with the same survivor group.

        To ensure its cultural applicability we have conducted trial-trainings of the manual in workshops in 5 different places or regions. You can read more about these workshops and our experiences on our website directly connected to the manual.

        Some of you may have received the manual already, while some will find it in their mailbox soon. For others we would like to invite you to have a closer look at the manual at GBV-manual website. The manual can be downloaded directly from the webpage.

        Let us know what you think. It is very important for our further work with the implementation of the manual that you let us know if you want to use it for training, group work or inspiration in your own work. Please send us an e-mail if you have queries regarding how it can be used in practice, we will be glad to provide some ideas and advice.

        If you would like a free hard copy or a memory stick with the manual, please send us an e-mail with your address to postmaster@hhri.org and we are happy to mail it to you. We hope that this manual will be a useful tool to enable survivors to regain dignity and be empowered to be in charge of their own lives.

        For further information about the team that has developed the manual please click into our new GBV-manual website.

        Articles and publications that highlight different aspects of GBV: in the following we are presenting other very relevant manuals and reports.

        • Revision of the Guidelines for GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Interventions to protect the mental health of survivors must take account of broader humanitarian guidance. “Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings”, published by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC 2005), indicates the minimum support that should be in place to prevent and respond to GBV. Survivors of GBV need help to cope with immediate physical injuries, as well as psychological and social support, security, and legal redress. This guideline is now being revised and will be updated. The GBV Area of Responsibility Working Group. (“GBV AoR”), the global coordinating body for GBV in humanitarian settings, has received funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration for this two-year revision project. The first year of the project will be undertaken by two consultants (Jeanne Ward and Julie Lafreniere) and be overseen by an advisory group within the GBV AoR.
        • The GBV Prevention Network
          The Network is over 500 members strong, working in 18 different countries in the Horn, East and Southern Africa to build a just and violence-free world for women. We are dedicated organizations, individuals, academics, and activists. We come from rural and urban areas, community-based organizations, academic institutions and more. We are both women and men from all walks of life. We are people who believe that violence is an injustice and that we have the power and responsibility to prevent it!
        • Course E054: Gender-based Violence Human Rights Education Associates
          This e-learning course introduces participants to general definitions, concepts and normative and legal frameworks related to concepts of gender-based violence. The course will cover forms, causes and consequences of GBV in conflict contexts, as well as on an endemic basis. Prevention and response programming, as well as models underpinning mainstreaming and targeted actions on GBV, and the need for coordinated approaches will be covered. The course will provide basic knowledge and skills on GBV to staff of international humanitarian and development organisations aiming to deepen their understanding and engagement on GBV responsive programming.
        • Humanitarian Practice Network´s Special feature GBV in emergencies
          For those who missed this special edition from February 2014 that feature GBV in humanitarian crises. International concern over GBV in emergencies has grown significantly in recent years, and good practice standards, guidelines, training resources and other tools have been developed. Yet as Dharini Bhuvanendra and Rebecca Holmes point out in their article on the findings of their recent review of literature on GBV in humanitarian contexts, very little of the evidence and learning from good practice has been adequately documented or disseminated, and there is a profound lack of agreement amongst humanitarian practitioners on how to define, prevent and respond to GBV.
        • Verdad, justicia y reparación:Cuarto informe sobre la situaciónde derechos humanos en Colombia www.cidh.org
          COMISIÓN INTERAMERICANA DE DERECHOS HUMANOSOEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc. 49/1331 de diciembre 2013 Original: Español Verdad, justicia y reparación : Cuarto informe sobre la situación
          La Comisión constata en su informe el grave impacto que continúa teniendo el prolongado conflicto armado interno colombiano en la situación de derechos humanos en el país. La guerra ha conjugado todas las formas de violencia y ha acontecido en los lugares más apartados, perpetuando y acentuando contextos de discriminación y exclusión social histórica, en especial con los sectores en mayor situación de vulnerabilidad, en particular, personas afrodescendientes, raizales y palenqueras; niños, niñas y adolescentes; pueblos indígenas; mujeres; periodistas y comunicadores sociales; personas lesbianas, gays, trans, bisexuales e intersex, y personas privadas de libertad.
        • Mujeres en territorios urbanos de inseguridad
          HUMANAS 2011
          This report of Corporación Humanas, which is the result of cooperation with scholars, representatives of NGOs and religious organizations, is a recollection of information regarding the cities of Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta and Kennedy, suburb of Bogotá, in order to understand how the dynamics of the violence and the armed conflict affect the lifes of women.
          Desde 2011 la Corporación Humanas viene recogiendo información en las ciudades de Barranquilla, Cartagena y San Marta y en la localidad de Kennedy de Bogotá, para comprender mejor cómo las dinámicas de la violencia urbana afectan la vida de las mujeres y si estas dinámicas tienen relación con las transformaciones que en los últimos años ha tenido el conflicto armado en Colombia.
        • Desplazamiento Forzado y Violencia Sexual Basada en Género BUENAVENTURA, COLOMBIA: REALIDADES BRUTALES NRC 2014
          El vínculo existente entre el desplazamiento forzado y la violencia sexual basada en género, en el marco del conflicto armado en Colombia es cada vez más evidente. Este documento describe cómo la violencia sexual se ha constituido en una práctica habitual y frecuente en el contexto colombiano. A través de la visión de sobrevivientes de este delito y de la experiencia de trabajo de varias mujeres de Buenaventura (una de las ciudades más afectadas por el conflicto armado) se exponen elementos para la comprensión de esta práctica regular e invisible, que afecta miles de mujeres en Colombia.
        • Forced Displacement and Gender-based Sexual Violence BUENAVENTURA, COLOMBIA: BRUTAL REALITIES NRC 2014
          The relationship existing between forced displacement and gender-based sexual violence within the framework of the armed conflict in Colombia has become ever more obvious. This document describes how sexual violence has become a habitual, frequent practice within the Colombian context. Through the viewpoints of survivors of this crime and the work experience of several women from Buenaventura (one of the cities most affected by the armed conflict), factors are explained which help to understand this common yet invisible practice that affects thousands of women in Colombia1 .
        • The Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) Dataset sexualviolencedata.org 2014
          The Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) Dataset measures reports of the conflict-related sexual violence committed by armed actors (state forces, pro-government militias and rebel groups) during the years 1989-2009. The dataset includes information about the prevalence, perpetrators, victims, forms, timing, and locations of the reported sexual violence by each armed actor in each conflict-year.
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          The Health and Human Rights Newsletter is an electronic newsletter launched by HHRI with an aim to give insight to a certain subject in the cross section of our work; human rights violations in war & conflict areas and mental health. Our intention is to form the newsletter as a short “lecture” where you can find relevant information regarding a specific subject with a mental health perspective. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have views to share or ideas/suggestions for forthcoming issues. As always we are delighted to receive comments and suggestions for the HHRI newsletter and for the web page. In order to improve our assistance to those working with psychosocial support with persons in situations of conflict, emergency and subjected to human rights violations, we need information from you. We are also interested in spreading news about events and conferences held in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

          Health and Human Rights Info writes and distributes this newsletter, currently reaching more than 4.300 subscribers, free of charge. If you receive this newsletter for the first time, it is either because someone has recommended that we add your e-mail address to the list of subscribers, or because we believe that you might be interested in some or all of its content. Consider it an offer. If you want to continue to receive this newsletter, you don't need to do anything.

          If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this e-newsletter about our project, please forward it, and encourage them to sign up by sending us an e-mail.

          Sincerely yours

          Health and Human Rights Info
          Elisabeth Ng Langdal
          Executive Director
          postmaster@hhri.org
          www.hhri.org

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          NEWSLETTER NO.1 JUNE 26TH 2014

          Dear friends and colleagues

          The right to redress for GBV survivors

          “Victims of sexual violence bear the cost of the harm they suffered with dramatic physical, psychological and material consequences which destroy not only their lives but often also the lives of their children. This creates irreparable damage to the very fabric of societies and in turn poses serious threats to the prospects of reconciliation and sustainable peace and development.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay

          Rape, being recognized as torture or other ill-treatment, may today be prosecuted as an act of torture (and therefore subject to universal jurisdiction). Rape is furthermore identified as a war crime (state and non-state actors), a crime against humanity (state and non-state actors) and as genocide (state and non-state actors). This means that the right to redress is enforceable for victims of GBV according to the Convention against torture art. 14, and outlined in General comment no 3 on the implementation of article 14.

          For survivors of GBV to seek redress after what they have suffered may be important steps in reestablishing the survivor´s dignity and integrity. Recognizing the violations as serious crimes that must be addressed through truth and justice seeking, may form an important platform in the lives of survivors, but this must often be combined with forms of reparation such as providing care and support with regard to physical, psychological or social needs through a range of services. The right to a remedy and reparation is thus, articulated as an integrated right that consists of access to justice, compensation, rehabilitation and other forms of reparation. We have, pursuant to the adoption of General Comment no 3, to article 14 of the CAT, been particularly aware of the importance of ensuring psychological support to survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence, both immediately after the violence if possible, and as part of reparation. In order to strengthen the focus on psychological needs of survivors, HHRI has developed a manual to assist helpers who meet victims of these crimes in situations where specialized services may be scarce and the level of insecurity high. See more information on our manual further down.

          As for the main theme in this newsletter we have gathered important articles that address the issue of redress to GBV survivors, including the legal as well as the physical, psychological and social aspects.

          Articles and publications that highlight the importance of securing redress for GBV survivors

          • What is reparation? Challenges and avenues to reparation for survivors of sexual violenceRedress 2013
            For many victims, monetary compensation, while helpful, is not necessarily the first form of reparation that comes to mind. In many instances, victims will be living in dire physical, psychological or social conditions and have immediate as well as long term needs, both for themselves but also for their dependents. They may need services or the financial means to access services. However the mere provision of compensation or services would not amount to full and adequate compensation on account of the absence of recognition of wrongdoing.
          • Redress for Rape Using international jurisprudence on rape as a form of torture or other ill-treatment Redress 2013
            It is now clearly established at the international level that rape is a crime of the highest order, that states do have the responsibility to prevent and respond to it, whoever commits it, and that survivors of rape are entitled to the same level of protection and response as any other victim of violence. Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment3 are high profile international crimes and human rights violations. Advocates and others have drawn on the torture framework to pursue individual cases and to push for policy change. The primary aim of this report is to bring together the developing international human rights law jurisprudence and significant other writing linking rape and torture and other ill-treatment in a comprehensive and useable way.
          • Gender and torture - conference report
            Conference report the recognition of certain forms of harm inflicted by both state and non-state actors including rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and denial of reproductive rights as torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the practical effect this recognition has had in actual cases to hold states to account for their failure to prevent such violations, and to provide a remedy to victims.
          • Protection and restitution for survivors of SGBV in Uganda 2010 ACORD Uganda
            Some forms of reparation may find a legal basis in domestic law or in international human rights law, while other forms are a matter of government policies and priorities. The right to compensation for survivors of torture is an individual subjective right in Uganda’s domestic legal system and is justiciable in criminal, civil, administrative or other proceedings.
          • Healing the spirit: Reparations for survivors of sexual violence related to the armed conflict in Kosovo OHCHR 2013
            OHCHR commissioned this study with three primary aims: to highlight the most prevalent consequences of sexual violence committed during the armed conflict in Kosovo; to analyse the current state of affairs with respect to reparations for these crimes; and to highlight the most desirable forms and methods to provide redress for these crimes from the perspective of its survivors.
          • DRC victims of sexual violence rarely obtain justice and never receive reparation - Major changes needed to fight impunity FIDH 2013
            In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), victims of sexual crimes are facing insurmountable obstacles to obtain justice and reparation. The cost of proceedings is prohibitive and judicial decisions are hardly implemented. This is the damaging picture described in a report FIDH and its member organisations in DRC are publishing today, following several missions in that country.
          • Report of the Panel on Remedies and Reparations for Victims of Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to the High Commissioner for Human Rights OHCHR 2011
            This need to raise the status of victims of sexual violence and publicly shift the blame from victims to their perpetrators is integral to the reparation of victims of sexual violence and adds a unique dimension to the task. The reparations fund envisioned by the National Strategy to Combat Gender-Based Violence in the DRC is a fund specifically for victims of sexual violence.
          • Nairobi declaration on women’s and girls’ right to a remedy and Reparation OHCHR 2013
            OHCHR commissioned this study with three primary aims: to highlight the most prevalent consequences of sexual violence committed during the armed conflict in Kosovo; to analyse the current state of affairs with respect to reparations for these crimes; and to highlight the most desirable forms and methods to provide redress for these crimes from the perspective of its survivors.
          • Latest about our training manual on GBV and Mental Health consequences

            We are now in the final stage of our training manual for helpers working with GBV survivors. The manual is designed for individuals who directly provide care, help and assistance to people who have been exposed to human rights violations and abuse, notably gender-based and sexual violence, and for personnel who support other care providers involved with the same survivor group. To ensure the quality and that the manual is useful in different cultural settings, we conducted four pilots in 2013. This was done in cooperation with LIMPAL-Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad, in Colombia, Human Rights Foundation Turkey in Adana, Turkey. In Cambodia we cooperated with AFESIP-Cambodia on the third pilot training and with Kristin Andrea Wilmann on a mini-pilot in Oslo, Norway. The last training was conducted together with Arab Resource Collective in Amman, Jordan. Please let us know if you are interested in receiving a copy of the manual, free of charge.

            Facebook

            Please check out our Facebook page and like us. On our HHRI face book page are posting new and relevant articles that we add to our web site, as well as newsletters and videos.

            Upcoming events

            We appreciate feedback and comments

            As always we are delighted to receive comments and suggestions for the HHRI web page. In order to improve our assistance to those working with psychosocial support with persons in situations of conflict, emergency and subjected to human rights violations, we need information from you. We are also interested in spreading news about events and conferences held in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

            Health and Human Rights Info writes and distributes this newsletter, currently reaching more than 4.300 subscribers, free of charge. If you receive this newsletter for the first time, it is either because someone has recommended that we add your e-mail address to the list of subscribers, or because we believe that you might be interested in some or all of its content. Consider it an offer. If you want to continue to receive this newsletter, you don't need to do anything.

            If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this e-newsletter about our project, please forward it, and encourage them to sign up by sending us an e-mail.

            Sincerely yours

            Health and Human Rights Info
            Elisabeth Ng Langdal
            Executive Director
            postmaster@hhri.org
            www.hhri.org

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