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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 developed refers primarily to women and young girls as victims. But we know that men and boys are also victims of rape, and sexual violence against males may often be especially difficult to live with and to talk about. The training outlined in the manual includes references to documents on GBV against children and males, but it does not elaborate on their needs or address their situations explicitly.

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.
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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.

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    Elisabeth Ng Langdal
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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.

    Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

    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 www.hhri.org 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 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
      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.
    • Facebook

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      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 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.

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        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.3 november 15tH 2013

        Dear friends and colleagues

        Mental health guidelines for relief workers in the Philippines

        The devastating Typhoon may until now have taken more than 10 000 lives. This is truly a global natural and human disaster. The typhoon has created severe and still untold mental health consequences for the survivors as well as for their family and network all over the country. The survivors are every day struggling for their lives, and are encountering extremely difficult conditions in the Philippines. And there will be a major and continuing task facing the many who will try to assist all those who have lost everything, and still are struggling with the fact that many of the loved ones have disappeared. These helpers must try to address the many consequences of the disaster and many of them will themselves be among the strongly affected ones. The challenges they are facing in trying to assist and support in such an incredible tragic situation, will remain difficult and 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 may have a long lasting work ahead of them. We know that professionals in the area of psychosocial assistance are being mobilized to create necessary support in this devastating situation, and as this work will be something that will be ongoing together with reconstruction and other efforts to try to recreate lives and communities. For those that work with survivors we want to refer to our thematic pageon the mental health consequences after disaster.

        General information on the situation in the Philippines

        • Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Situation Report No. 13
          This report is produced by OCHA Philippines in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued by OCHA Philippines. It covers the period as of 19 November 2013. The next report will be issued on or around 21 November.
        • Reliefweb
          Informing humanitarians and has been the leading online source for reliable and timely humanitarian information on global crises and disasters, continuously updated.
        • Humanitarian Response Philippines
          is provided by UN OCHA to support humanitarian operations globally and are continuously updated.

        Guidelines for relief workers

        • 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).
        • 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.
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          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

          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

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            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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            NEWSLETTER NO.3 NOVEMBER 15th 2013

            Dear friends and colleagues

            Mental health guidelines for relief workers in the Philippines

            The devastating Typhoon may until now have taken more than 10 000 lives. This is truly a global natural and human disaster. The typhoon has created severe and still untold mental health consequences for the survivors as well as for their family and network all over the country. The survivors are every day struggling for their lives, and are encountering extremely difficult conditions in the Philippines. And there will be a major and continuing task facing the many who will try to assist all those who have lost everything, and still are struggling with the fact that many of the loved ones have disappeared. These helpers must try to address the many consequences of the disaster and many of them will themselves be among the strongly affected ones. The challenges they are facing in trying to assist and support in such an incredible tragic situation, will remain difficult and 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 may have a long lasting work ahead of them. We know that professionals in the area of psychosocial assistance are being mobilized to create necessary support in this devastating situation, and as this work will be something that will be ongoing together with reconstruction and other efforts to try to recreate lives and communities. For those that work with survivors we want to refer to our thematic pageon the mental health consequences after disaster.

            General information on the situation in the Philippines

            • Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Situation Report No. 13
              This report is produced by OCHA Philippines in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued by OCHA Philippines. It covers the period as of 19 November 2013. The next report will be issued on or around 21 November.
            • Reliefweb
              Informing humanitarians and has been the leading online source for reliable and timely humanitarian information on global crises and disasters, continuously updated.
            • Humanitarian Response Philippines
              is provided by UN OCHA to support humanitarian operations globally and are continuously updated.

            Guidelines for relief workers

            • 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).
            • 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.
            • 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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