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NEWSLETTER NO.2 OCTOBER 29th 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 (GBV) 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 HHRI-GBV 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. It 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 HHRI-GBV 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
    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.

    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 (Only in spanish).
  • 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 Colombia.
  • 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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    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.1 July 10TH 2014

    Dear friends and colleagues

    The right to redress for Gender Based Violence 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.”

    Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

    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 gender based violence (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 violence Redress 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 Amnesty International and RedreSS 2011
      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. Plain Sense has edited and finalised the manual. Please let us know if you are interested in receiving a copy of the manual, free of charge by sending us an e-mail.

      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

      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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      NEWSLETTER NO.4 DECEMBER 23rd 2013

      Dear friends and colleagues

      Mental health and psychosocial support for refugees

      In 2013 we have witnessed several emergency situations, such as the situation in Syria, including the refugee crisis that the conflict has created in the neighboring countries; heavy fighting in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and severe natural disasters such as flooding in Bolivia, Colombia, Mozambique, and the typhoon in the Philippines. As a result of these emergency situations people have suffered and will struggle in the years to come to cope and try to rebuild their lives. In settings of mass displacement the community structures, that usually regulate normal life and community well-being, frequently breaks down. This again may lead to social and psychological problems worsening existing problems. As we all know, mental health is crucial to the overall wellbeing and productivity of individuals, communities, and countries recovering from emergencies. As a possible support to all those involved in trying to assist people in these highly stressful situations, we have gathered and will present some guidelines that have been developed for this purpose, that is to strengthen mental health as part of humanitarian assistance in and after emergencies.

      Manuals that highlights the importance of securing mental health support

      • Operational Guidance Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Programming for Refugee Operations 2013 UNHCR
        This operational guidance on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) provides a practical orientation and tools for country operations. It covers specific points of good practice to consider when developing MHPSS programming and offers advice on priority issues and practical difficulties, while also providing some background information and definitions. The focus is mainly on refugees and asylum seekers, but it may apply to others in both camp and non-camp settings, and in both rural and urban settings in low and middle-income countries. This guidance has an extensive link collection on strategies, policies and other resources throughout the guide.
      • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings: What should Camp Coordination and Camp Management Actors Know? IASC 2012
        Humanitarian assistance agencies try their best to help people with their psychosocial needs in the immediate aftermath of emergencies. In spite of the adversity and challenges they create – are openings to transform mental health care. Can Emergencies be opportunities to build better mental health systems for all people in need? This report provides the proof of concept that it is possible to build back better, no matter how weak the existing mental health system or how challenging the emergency situation.
      • Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) to Persons of Concern UNHCR 2013
        An evaluation reports on how well UNHCR considers and provides for the well-being and mental health of the Persons of Concern. The report offers a new way to look at humanitarian assistance. It calls into question the appropriateness, sensitivity, and empathy of humanitarian interventions and demands that humanitarian agencies support avenues for displaced people to address and heal their own trauma.
      • 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.

        HHRI wish you a peaceful 2014 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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