Newsletter Index     Boletín 2016

 



Invitation to participate in a webinar training


“MENTAL HEALTH AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCE”
Training Manual: Mental Health Management:
Consequences of Sexual Violence in Conflict


GBV training August – September 2016
Introduction to training manual - 90 minutes a week for 6 weeks –
with a focus on the crisis in Syria


GBV certificate training - 6 online sessions






NEWSLETTER NO.4/2016 JUNE 26TH

Dear friends and colleagues
Supporting victims of torture and their families – life after torture

The 26th of June is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. One of the themes this year will be on Life after torture. This important topic is raised by the IRCT. A number of institutions and organizations all around the world will mark this day with activities and information with a view to strengthen the combat against torture and in particular, strengthen international attention on rehabilitation and recreating life after torture. In this newsletter we will present some links that touch upon ways of helping families living with torture survivors and ideas as to how they can manage and deal with daily life and all the challenges that a family may encounter. Torture, as is well known, affects the individual as well as the family in many ways.

There is not much literature on how life in families develops in the after math of torture. There has been some research on family therapy with refugee families (Sveaass & Reichelt, 2001), and some studies based on families where member have disappeared, such as Paz Rojas’ book on “La interminable ausencia. Estudio médico, psicológico y político de la desaparición forzada de personas” (only in Spanish). Other studies and reports have dealt with consequences of severe human rights violations for family life.

But there are far more publications that may be very relevant in this context, based on experiences of living in families where one member is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many who have survived torture develop different types of post-traumatic reactions, and many develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And as referred to above, severe reactions associated with traumatic events will of course affect the entire family.

We have focused on links that give the survivor tools to handling everyday life, how to raise children, how to keep your relationship/marriage going, how to sleep at night, how to keep your job and aging with torture memories. We hope that it might help survivors gain more knowledge and to come to terms with their experiences, with their haunting memories and build new lives. For more information about torture and for PTSD go to our thematic pages.

Further reading that highlight different aspects of life after torture

  • Sur, Dictadura y después. Elaboración psicosocial y clínica de los traumas colectivos
    Kordon, D. et al. (2010). Se trata entonces de la asistencia y tratamiento psicológico de víctimas de la represión, de situaciones extremas y de conflictos sociales, tratando de recomponer el equilibrio emocional, psicológico, para volver a encontrarse como persona, tener una mirada en el interior de la propia vida, de la sociedad, la identidad y la pertenencia. Es encontrar los caminos de la memoria, su diversidad y comprensión de lo vivido; no debe ser un retroceso al pasado que profundice el drama existencial y la negación de sí mismos. La memoria debe iluminar el presente para poder construir nuevos caminos de dignidad y recomponer el cuerpo social, profundamente dañado por gobiernos dictatoriales, tanto en la Argentina como en América Latina.

  • A new generation: How refugee trauma affects parenting and child development
    E. van Ee 2013, A thesis covering different aspects of life after torture, as relationship between parents and child and broken relationships.

  • Politically-motivated torture and its survivors - Social, familial, and societal sequelae
    J Quiroga, J. M. Jaranson Torture Journal 2005 2/3 IRCT page 27 and onwards. The social and economic consequences of torture have rarely been systematically studied. This is important for the less industrialized countries as well as for host countries providing asylum to large numbers of tortured refugees.

  • Cross cultural medicine – working with refugee survivors of torture
    B. Chester et N. Holtan 1992 Numerous factors must be taken into account to best provide for the health and well-being of refugee patients in developed countries. One issue that is rarely considered is the awful and not uncommon occurrence of political torture. Large numbers of refugees and other displaced persons are survivors of political torture. To facilitate the "re-making" of a survivor's world, the health care professional must recognize the multifaceted effects of torture and displacement on the individual, family, and community.

  • Disclosure and silencing: A systematic review of the literature on patterns of trauma communication in refugee families
    N.T. Dalgaard et E. Montgomery 2015 This systematic review aimed to explore the effects of different degrees of parental disclosure of traumatic material from the past on the psychological well-being of children in refugee families. A majority of studies emphasize the importance of the timing of disclosure and the manner in which it takes place, rather than the effects of open communication or silencing strategies per se.

  • Lifelong posttraumatic stress disorder: evidence from aging Holocaust survivors
    Y. Barak et H. Szor 2000. The literature provides ample evidence that posttraumatic stress disorder among survivors persists into old age. However, there is still a need to define the differences in frequency, clinical presentation, severity, and comorbid conditions among aging Holocaust survivors. Age at the time of trauma, cumulative lifetime stress, and physical illness are reported to have a positive association with more severe posttraumatic symptomatology.

  • Guidelines for psychiatric care of torture survivors
    David Kinzie, 2011 In describing the best psychiatric practices for the treatment of torture survivors, it is necessary to provide background on the various syndromes the survivors suffer and their corresponding neurobiology. There are also well known clinical aspects of these conditions and unique social and cultural considerations of survivors who usually come from very different cultures than the clinicians treating them.

  • Psychosocial trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and torture
    C. Madariaga 2002. Over the past few years, within the teams that provide medical-psychological care to people suffering from the psychic sequels of torture in our country, there has been a permanent discussion surrounding certain categories that arise from psychiatric nosography - as is the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSDA) – that have been put forward as descriptive or interpretative models of the whole set of effects produced by this act of violence on psychic functions.

  • Torture and trauma
    About seven out of 10 refugees in Australia have been tortured or gone through some kind of war-related trauma. Some forms of torture (such as beatings, amputation, rape and burns) harm the body and cause lasting scars. Other torture methods are painful, but don’t cause scarring, such as starvation or being forced to stand for long periods of time. Examples of trauma include imprisonment, seeing the rape or murder of a loved one, or a dangerous journey to freedom such as an attack by pirates at sea. Some people who have been tortured develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks and nightmares about the event that are so clear they seem real.

  • From darkness to light
    Fasstt 2011 Australia’s program of Assistance for survivors of torture and trauma.

  • Helping a family member who has PTSD
    US. Department of veteran affairs When someone has PTSD, it can change family life. The person with PTSD may act differently and get angry easily. He or she may not want to do things you used to enjoy together

  • Risk, Resilience and Rights: Therapeutic Approaches to Working with Children, Families and Separated Young People who have Survived Torture
    Jocelyn Avigad and Tina Puryear, Freedom from Torture Governments and regimes who torture people have very clear intentions. They carry out physical and psychological acts of violence against targeted individuals and families in order to break a person and fragment families and communities. And they do this to invoke such extreme fear and shame that victims and their families will remain silent.

Award to Diana Kordon from EATIP, Argentina

A health professional that for many years has been doing an incredibly important work in relation to assistance to torture victims, family of the disappeared, train helpers, raise awareness and has constantly been struggling against impunity, is the Argentinian psychiatrist Diana Kordon. She has recently been given the Barbara Chester award. For four decades, Dr Kordon has provided psychological services to the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and others affected by atrocities committed by the military dictatorship in her country.

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 Info 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 4.100 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.3/2016 MAY

Dear friends and colleagues

We would like to share some of our latest activivties. Between 5-8 April 2016 a team of three specialists of ICAR foundation (Romania) came to Oslo, Norway. The visit, was part of the project "Exploring the Romanian-Norwegian cooperation in the psycho-social area in the context of the migration flow in Europe” funded by the EEA Grants 2009-2014, through the NGO Fund in Romania, Fund for Bilateral Relations.

ICAR’s team visited several organisations/institutions and collected information about their activities, results, plans in the area of health and human rights.

Several visits took place at the Department of Psychology (UiO) – University of Oslo, where the Romanian team learned about the UiO area of interest, institutional history, researchers’ community, students and financing mechanisms. The topic of “impunity, justice in transitional societies (e.g. Romania), health consequences of human rights abuses” was identified as a topic of high interest for both the Norwegian and Romanian participants. Both parties are committed to seek funds for a partnership research in this area.

"Health and Human Rights Info” (HHRI), as a second Norwegian partner within the project, assisted ICAR team to meet other NGOs active in the human rights field. The future collaboration with HHRI is quite concrete and will consist in a series of training sessions that Norwegian experts will deliver to Romanian professionals in the area of sexual and gender based violence (Interesting opening for ICAR foundation to a new area of activity).

Translation of relevant chapters of the manual “Mental health and gender-based violence - Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict” is also foreseen, especially knowing now that it contains tools that can be easely adapted for training in similar topics, for severely traumatised categories of people.

Upcoming events

We would also like to inform you of three different conferences where we will present our manual “Mental health and gender-based violence - Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict”:

  • 5th International Conference on the Survivors of Rape, ICSoR2016
    Deadline for abstract submissions 1st May
    September 29 – October 1 in Stockholm, Sweden

  • The 10th International Society for Health and Human Rights - ISHHR Conference
    “Mental health, mass people displacement and ethnic minorities”
    3rd- 6th October in Novi Sad in Serbia.

  • IRCT's 10th international scientific symposium: delivering on the promise of the right to rehabilitation
    Scientific Symposium New date:- 5-7 December 2016
    General Assembly 8-9 December
    Mexico City, Mexico

    Hope to see some of you in the near future.

    Sincerely yours

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

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    NEWSLETTER NO.2/2016 MARCH 21ST

    Dear friends and colleagues

    In this newsletter we take the opportunity to point to some very important decisions and initiatives to strengthen the international response to sexual exploitation, violence and abuse against women and inform about upcoming conferences.

    Resolution 2272 - to prevent and combat sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers

    United Nations Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 mandates women and gender to be involved in all aspects of peace and security! According to the Peace women “1325 is a historic watershed political framework that recognizes that women – and a gender perspective – are relevant to negotiating peace agreements, planning refugee camps, and peacekeeping operations and reconstructing war-torn societies”. The Peace women have made a good overview over the different UN SC-resolutions in relation to 1325.

    The UN Security Council has so far adopted seven resolutions on “Women, Peace and Security”. These resolutions are: Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000); 1820 (2009); 1888 (2009) ; 1889 (2010); 1960 (2011) ; 2106 (2013); 2122 (2013); and 2242 (2015). These resolutions should be seen under one frame as they all are guiding documents for our work with women in war and conflict as well as in transitional societies and during peacetime.

    In addition to these resolutions, the security council has adopted SCR 2272 (2016); to prevent and combat sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. The resolution stresses that sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers undermines the implementation of peacekeeping mandates, as well as the credibility of United Nations peacekeeping, and reaffirming its support for the United Nations zero tolerance policy on all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. It further requested that the Secretary-General replace all units of the troop- or police-contributing country from which the perpetrator is from if appropriate steps have not been taken by the country to investigate the allegation, and/or when the perpetrators have not been held accountable, and/or when there has been failure to inform the Secretary-General of the progress of its investigation or actions taken.

    That the fight against impunity, also for military personnel, in fact works is clearly highlighted by the victory in the Sepura Zarco case in Guatemala. The women of Sepur Zarco have testified against their captors in a breakthrough trial;. For the first time, anywhere in history, sexual slavery has been tried as a war crime in a national court in the country where the crime was committed. Survivors of wartime sexual violence in Guatemala have secured a landmark victory in the Sepur Zarco trial: a true victory for international human rights in a domestic court. And we believe this will open doors for similar cases.

    Further reading

    We find it timely to repeat the information about the HHRI Training Manual “Mental health and gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict – a training manual” -as well as the IASC Guidelines for Gender- based Violence interventions in humanitarian settings Guidelines with focus on practical aspects and approach to GBV.

    Publications that highlight different aspects of combatting military sexual abuse

    The 10th International Society for Health and Human Rights - ISHHR Conference 3rd- 6th October 2017 in Serbia

    The title of the 2017 ISHHR Conference is “Mental health, mass people displacement and ethnic minorities” and it will focus on the displacement of communities as a result of conflict, the phenomenon of mass-traumatisation and the response of the European neighbourhood (particularly Central Europe) to the mass influx from the Middle East and North Africa (particularly as a result of the Syrian crisis). However, we will also welcome contributions from experts and speakers in Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, as mass people displacement and migration is a global challenge.
    Please note that deadline for abstracts are 15th April

    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 Info 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 4.100 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.1/2016 FEBRUARY 26TH

    Dear friends and colleagues

    Family reunification - challenges for refugees and asylum seekers

    Flight and exile divide millions of refugee families worldwide. The reality for many refugees is that they have lost track of their families or have had to leave them behind for economic or safety reasons.

    The family however plays an essential role to help persons rebuild their lives and can provide critical support to adapt to new and challenging circumstances. Restoring families can also ease the sense of loss that accompanies many refugees who, in addition to family, have lost their country, network and life as they knew it.

    Even so, family reunification may take time and that the rules for family reunification are strict. Some never get granted their application, while others have to wait for several years. This is straining both on those who came first and they are waiting to come by. Being separated is a serious trauma for many people, but strangely enough it is often not spoken about, and family reunification is often not put in the forefront, neither by therapists or policy makers.

    This quote points clearly to a major point related to this;

    ”Armed conflict and war trauma are seen as the violence of others,
    whereas an examination of prolonged separations highlights Western administrative violence”
    (Rousseau et al, 2001)

    When families get back together there are of course great expectations involved. Fear, uncertainty and waiting have preceded the reunification. But the situation may also involve difficult or ambivalent feelings. Many years apart do something with both parties. Little contact during the waiting may have created distance or feelings of distrust. This is important to talk about, to explore and to deal with, as a way of creating the best possible reunification and hopefully reduce some of the stresses involved. And it is important to convey that other families are experiencing some of the same feelings in the beginning. Raising awareness about the situation in itself can thus be of great help and assistance in this process from the host society, and may be an important preventive initiative.

    It might also be helpful to know more of the rights related to family reunification and what to expect. We have collected some useful publications related to family reunification.

    Further reading

    Articles, publications and websites that highlight different aspects of Family Reunification

    • Family reunion for refugees in the UK Understanding support needs
      The study highlighted evidence of need for family reunion support. Almost 5000 visas for dependents of individuals with refugee status or humanitarian protection were issued in the UK in 2010. The British Red Cross, the main provider of family reunion travel assistance in the UK, supported just over 100 family members through this programme (White and Hendry, British Red Cross 2011).

    • UNHCR guidelines on reunification of refugee families
      The note restates the position of the Office concerning the types of family reunification promoted by UNHCR, the categories of persons eligible for assistance, and the action to be taken by UNHCR Headquarters, by the Field Offices, and by refugees themselves to achieve the reunification of refugee families under various circumstances (UNHCR 1983).

    • Disrupted flight the realities of separated refugee families in the EU
      Available research shows that family separation tends to be associated with poor mental and physical health, which then has an impact on peoples’ ability to learn a language, look for a job, re-train, or simply interact with others (including with officials and administrations).3 Long separation can also damage the family structure and cause conflict when the family is reunited. By way of contrast, various studies document the positive effect of family reunification, particularly on people’s general well-being, but also on their employment prospects and on the educational achievement of their children (Red Cross 2014).

    • Background note for the agenda item: family reunification in the context of resettlement and integration protecting the family: challenges in implementing policy in the resettlement context
      The five guiding principles that sustain UNHCR efforts to protect family unity, and to promote and facilitate family reunification in the resettlement process (UNHCR 2001).

    • Engaging refugee families in therapy: exploring the benefits of including referring professionals in first family interviews
      The possible benefits of including referring professionals in the first family interviews are being explored as a way to engage refugee families in therapy. Families in exile confront a number of problems related both to premigration traumatic exposures and to present adaptation processes. Refugee clients and the referring professionals in the larger system frequently see the problems and their solutions quite differently. This situation may often result in unclear working alliances in a context of therapy (Sveaass and Reichelt 2001 ).

    • The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)
      The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) is a pan-European alliance of 90 NGOs protecting and advancing the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons.

    • Refugee Family Reunification UNHCR’s Response to the European Commission Green Paper on the Right to Family Reunification of Third Country Nationals Living in the European Union (Directive 2003/86/EC)
      UNHCR has been entrusted by the United Nations General Assembly with the mandate to provide international protection to refugees and, together with Governments, to seek solutions to refugee problems. Article 35 of the 1951 Refugee Convention5 and Article II of the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees6 oblige States Parties to cooperate with UNHCR in the exercise of its mandate, in particular facilitating UNHCR’s duty of supervising the application of the provisions of the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol.

    • Family therapy sessions with refugee families; a qualitative study
      Due to the armed conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s many families escaped to other countries. The main goal of this study was to explore in more detail the complexity of various family members’ experiences and perceptions from their life before the war, during the war and the escape, and during their new life in Sweden. There is insufficient knowledge of refugee families’ perceptions, experiences and needs, and especially of the complexity of family perspectives and family systems. This study focused on three families from Bosnia and Herzegovina who came to Sweden and were granted permanent residence permits. The families had at least one child between 5 and 12 years old (Jarkman Björn, Gustafsson, Sydsjö and Berterö 2013)

    • Refugee children and families psychological health, brief family intervention and ethical aspects
      To investigate parent-child agreement on the psychological symptoms of the refugee children; to explore refugee children’s well-being before and after three sessions of family therapy; to explore, in more detail, the complexity of various family members’ experiences and perceptions of their life before the war, during the war and their escape, and in their new life in Sweden; and also to highlight ethical issues and conduct ethical analyses using basic ethical principles that take into account the varying perspectives of the actors involved with regard to the psychological treatment of refugee children and families (Jarkman Björn, 2013).

    • The European Resettlement Network
      The European Resettlement Network is an inclusive network that supports the development of resettlement in Europe by connecting a variety of actors involved in refugee resettlement. Network members have a shared commitment to refugee resettlement and refugee protection, to ensuring the provision of durable solutions for refugees, and to ensuring refugees resettled to Europe receive integration support that provides them with the tools to become fully participating citizens.

    • Family reunification in exile – Preventive measures through family conversations (Only in Norwegian)
      Many refugee families have experience that they have been separated in connection with war, disaster or escape. Family members have separately or together been subjected to stressors and traumatic events. Reunification with the family after years of separation may involve major challenges. This publication is developed a method that could be of assistance to workers meeting these families (Gravråkmo et al 2016).

    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 Info 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 4.100 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.5 DECEMBER 16TH 2015

    Dear friends and colleagues

    Introduction of our new project coordinator for the Spanish speaking readers and improvement of our Gender based violence website

    We are proud to announce Diana Carolina Montoya as our Project coordinator for our work in the Latin American and Spanish speaking region. Carolina is a psychologist from Colombia, with a Master in Latin American studies from the University of Stockholm. Her thesis focuses on the social and economic reintegration of ex-combatants that were involved in the armed conflict in Colombia. She has also attended a course in Sustainable Development at the ETH Zürich and MIT, in Slovakia in 2007. She also participated in a course in Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration at the Folke Bernadotte Academy in Stockholm, Sweden in 2011. Her main area of responsibility at the HHRI now is being in charge of the work with the GBV manual and adapting it for application in Spanish-speaking countries, maintain the Spanish part of our data search engine and our thematic pages. Carolina is happy to receive any feedback, comments and ideas regarding her engagement with these issues.

    We will also in this letter introduce you to our Gender based violence manual – website. This website is concentrated on our manual Mental health and gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict – a training manual”. “On this web site, you can download the manual and have a closer look at the pilots –trainings that we organized prior to the completion of the manual. We have edited the Butterfly- woman story into one continuous story, as well presented the other tools, such as the grounding exercises, the helping the helpers part and ideas as to how you can conduct training in your context. This website is also translated to Spanish. Even though the manual itself, is not translated yet, many of the elements are now in Spanish. You will be able to read the Butterfly woman story, do grounding exercises and hopefully to set up your own training based on this. If you are interested in organizing training at your workplace, in your organization or other relevant contexts, please send us an e-mail and we will provide you with more information and advice, should you want this.

    Further reading

    Articles, publications and websites that highlight different aspects of Gender based violence

    • HHRI thematic page on Gender based violence
      An extensive selection of links related to Gender Based Violence are gathered at this thematic page. Gender-based violence has become an umbrella term for any harm that is perpetrated against a person’s (woman or man), will, and that results from power inequalities that are based on gender roles.

    • Gender based violence manual web site
      We have gathered a few tips and instructions on how to prepare when you are conducting a training based on the training manual - “Mental health and gender-based violence Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict”. A web site to ease your way into the training manual.

    • IASC Guidelines for Gender- based Violence interventions in humanitarian settings
      New release Guidelines with focus on practical aspects and approach ( f.e. shelter, security, food). Nothing in specific about mental health. - “Prevention of and response to sexual violence in emergencies” The GBV Guidelines have been revised from the 2005 version by an inter-agency Task Team led by UNICEF and UNFPA, and endorsed by the IASC in 2015 (pdf, 334 p.)

    • Engaging men
      Gender equality cannot be achieved without the involvement of men and boys. But change is slowly taking place, and men are increasingly working alongside women to support gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. We have gathered more links on the subject under the headline on our thematic page on GBV.

    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 Info 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 4.100 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.

    We wish you a peaceful 2016 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.4 November 30th 2015

    Dear friends and colleagues

    Secondary traumatisation – being a good helper

    Talking to survivors of trauma also affects the helper. For all helpers empathy is an essential aspect of being a good helper. This is also a source for compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatisation or secondary traumatic stress (STS). How are helpers to manage their own stress? Early recognition and awareness is crucial to be resilient to these symptoms and prevent burnt out.

    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 traumatisation. 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. Even large organizations that have the resources and knowledge about this particular kind of stress may have reduced capacity to deal with or take care of the affected personnel.

    This might be because managers are not adequately trained to spot symptoms, are unprepared for early intervention and prevention, are not equipped to assist, or have poor follow-up procedures. These problems are much more acute for local helpers, who usually have few resources and very little support. All helpers who work closely with traumatised people should take the time to make themselves aware of their own emotional state, and what they need to do to protect themselves from exhaustion while continuing to work with compassion.

    Being exposed vicariously to traumatic events, for example by listening to catastrophic testimonies, may generate some of the same trauma reactions that would occur if you were involved in a serious incident. You may struggle to manage your emotions, have problems in your relationships, find decision-making difficult, have physical problems (aches and pains, illnesses), feel hopeless, think your life has no meaning, or experience a collapse in self-esteem.

    It is important to develop strategies to cope with situations that might cause vicarious trauma-reactions. What helps you to take your mind off your work or your thoughts? How can you rest your body as well as your mind? Does an activity inspire you or put you in a better mood?

    For many local helpers, there may often not be any support or resources at all to deal with this. If possible, meet regularly with other helpers to discuss your experiences and feelings, or do things together. If there are too few helpers in your area to create a support group, find friends and other people you trust with whom you can share your feelings without breaking the confidentiality of the survivors you are helping. On HHRI´s thematic page for HHRI thematic page on helping thelpers we have gathered links that can be useful for all persons engaged in this kind of important but heavy work.

    Further reading

    Articles, publications and websites that highlight different aspects of helping the helper

    • HHRI thematic page on helping the helpers
      The helpers working in areas of conflict and disaster, and in extreme environments such as these are often trying to solve problems sometimes too overwhelming. They are also just human beings, and although they have not gone through those events themselves, they have to cope with horrible stories and impressions. This will of course leave marks and sometimes they develop severe psychological problems. On this thematic page we have collected a selection of articles high lightening some of these topics.

    • Compassion Fatigue, Secondary PTSD, Vicarious PTSD, Differences - You tube video
      In this webcast Frank Ochberg explains the differences between Compassion Fatigue, Secondary PTSD, burn out, and Caregiver Burden.

    • Manual on human rights monitoring – trauma and self care
      Vicarious trauma refers to the negative reactions that can occur when hearing about someone else’s traumatic experiences. Human rights defenders and officers are at risk of vicarious trauma when they interview victims of human rights violations and hear stories of their suffering.

    • Secondary Traumatic Stress
      Each year more than 10 million children in the United States endure the trauma of abuse, violence, natural disasters, and other adverse events. These experiences can give rise to significant emotional and behavioural problems that can profoundly disrupt the children’s lives and bring them in contact with child-serving systems. For therapists, child welfare workers, case managers, and other helping professionals involved in the care of traumatized children and their families, the essential act of listening to trauma stories may take an emotional toll that compromises professional functioning and diminishes quality of life.

    • Self-Care Assessment Worksheet
      This assessment tool provides an overview of effective strategies to maintain self-care. After completing the full assessment, choose one item from each area that you will actively work to improve.

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    We appreciate feedback and comments

    The Health and Human Rights Info 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.3 SEPTEMBER 23rd 2015

    Dear friends and colleagues

    Health professionals, ethics and serious human rights violations -
    Do no harm


    By Nora Sveaass - A clinical psychologist, member of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Chair of the HHRI Board

    The “Hoffman report” published on July 10th this year was a shocking but a very important document. The report was a result of a thorough investigation looking into the many allegations that had been raised with respect to psychologists’ participation in so-called enhanced interrogation in the context of national security in the USA. For many years, terror suspects have been kept deprived of liberty in so-called black sites or in other places of detention where the detainees were deprived of the basic human rights and legal safeguards. Moreover, the concern has been to what extent psychologists have taken part in interrogation and developed ways of interrogating, applying psychological knowledge in an unlawful and unethical way, and why information about psychologists’ involvement was not actively looked into, stopped and sanctioned.

    The American Psychological Association (APA) initiated the report, but the work was done in an independent way and published based on an analysis of very large material that had been revised. The report concludes very clearly that there has been a close collaboration between the US Department of Defence (DoD), CIA and the American Psychological Association during the Bush administration. APA has actively taken part in interrogations, including by finding ways of pressuring suspects for the sake of information and national security.

    The report refers to a “tailoring” of the APA principles of ethics to conform with the needs of the US DoD. It also refers to a number of ways in which the APA covered these decisions as well as the many attempts at “sugar coating” this with resolutions and documents to still the strong critics and to avoid insight into the actual engagement and abuse.

    Health workers’ participation in torture and other forms of serious abuses is unfortunately not something new. Psychologists and doctors tacitly accepted the sterilization laws that were adopted in Germany in 1933, resulting in 350-400 000 persons being sterilized. In addition, there were few protests against the Nürenberg laws of 1935 strictly regulating marriage, so that «German blood» would not be mixed with the blood of other «races». But the most serious was of course the Euthanasia programme implemented between 1940 – 1941 where around 70 000 adult psychiatric patients and ca. 5 000 intellectually disabled children were killed. The really scaring point is that this was put through practically without protests. But, at the Nürenberg trials in 1947, 15 out of 23 doctors who were charged were found guilty and seven were sentenced to death.

    Abuse of psychiatry as a tool for persecution of persons in opposition has had a long story in the former Soviet Union, and many dissidents were silenced after wrongly having been diagnosed as mentally ill. In 1971 Vladimir Bukovsky provided a comprehensive report about this abuse to a number of psychiatrists in Europa and USA and disclosed the arguments used when forcedly hospitalizing political dissidents. In 1972 it became known that a Russian psychiatrist, dr Gluzman had been imprisoned for 10 years because he had actively documented the abuse of psychiatry. This situation was discussed at the meeting in World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in Honolulu in 1977, where this was actively condemned and an international committee was established in order to investigate this situation.

    Under the military dictatorships in Latin America between 1970 and 1990 it was a well-known fact that health workers participated on the side of the oppressors and that doctors assisted in falsifying death and birth certificates so that death by torture could be masked and children born in captivity could be illegally adopted to families close to the dictators. In addition, there are allegations also that health workers participated in designing and carrying out torture. But on the other hand, nobody was so active and strong in the documenting, protesting and bringing into light what was going on. Their active condemnation of abuse as well as strong voices against impunity and for accountability for those responsible, was heard globally and their strong position on this may well have contributed to international justice for crimes against humanity. Today there are trials ongoing in Argentina, Peru and Colombia. In particular in Argentina, the responsible are sentenced to life prisons. Those affected by the violence have likewise been able to tell and to hear, and many have received reparation, despite the difficulties also surrounding this measure.

    During the last years, there has been a growing engagement among health professionals concerning human rights and the principles of ethics. A number of attempts have been made to establish the principles of human rights as a basis for professional ethics. This must be seen as important steps to counteract that professionals, whose main objective is to work for health, well-being, and respect for physical and mental integrity of persons, engage in violations, destruction and abuse. The European Federation of Psychological Associations voted in July in favour of including human rights principles in the so-called meta-code of ethics, for the professional organizations ethical codes.

    So, back to the Hoffman report. Many raised the question whether the report would be published in full and unedited or what would happen to it. We know that that it was published immediately at completion, and all the important and very concerning details are in the report. The allegations as to psychologists engagement had been many, over a long time, and well founded. But all attempts at doing something with this problem were met with negative comments, even scorn.

    There is no doubt today that the US administration under Bush in fact violated human rights and now, it is also documented that the APA formed part of this. Torture became part of interrogation of terror-suspects after 9/11 and many were kept in places where no rights were respected. The report by the US Senate from 2014, documented this, and now the recent report has described psychologists’ role in these violations. The greenlighting by Donald Rumsfeld to «water-boarding», create fear by playing on phobias, and stressed-positions, as well as the redefining of torture in the so-called «torture memos» signalled a policy in clear violation of the international absolute prohibition of torture, and the non-derogable right not to be tortured. Furthermore, the argument that a «lex specialis» would justify impermissible acts during interrogation was clearly described as unacceptable by the UN Committee against Torture, in 2006.

    Health professionals must be very aware of the rights of persons, must be informed about human rights, what these entail and what they actually mean on the ground. This must include a clear ethical position where no order from any superior justifies torture or ill-treatment. Also where reporting on violations observed or intended is part of the ethics, and were whistle-blowing is something that must happen when colleagues or others are in violations with the human rights. The unacceptable participation and contribution of the APA in interrogation must teach us a very important lesson. Our US colleagues, who for long have spoken about this publically, but to a lot of deaf ears, may be our best advisors as to what should be done to prevent this from happening again.

    All professionals have a responsibility to engage in order both to avoid harm from being done, and to strengthen respect and fulfilment of the internationally agreed upon and adopted human rights. Both those relating to social, economic and cultural rights and those relating to civil and political rights . It is also important with national and international collaboration between health professionals to ensure that rights are respected and enjoyed. This must be given stronger priority by the organizations, associations and networks to which we are affiliated. The civil society voice that health professionals is part of, plays an important role in the global struggle against violence and injustice, and in promoting human rights and dignity.

    Further reading

    Articles, publications and websites that highlight different aspects of health workers, ethics and torture

    • HHRI thematic page on Ethics
      In all health care work, and particularly in work with persons exposed to injustice and human rights violations, a clear awareness of ethical codes, standards and principles is quite necessary. The knowledge and clarity about ethical and human rights principles will strengthen the involvement of health professionals in human rights violations, and fortify their actions to prevent such violations. It is in order to strengthen knowledge about these principles, that we include a thematic page on ethics.

    • HHRI thematic page on Torture
      Torture in any form and for any reason has been banned by international law, but it is still practiced on a million people each year around the world. Survivors of torture are found everywhere. Victims of torture and their families need rehabilitation to make it possible for them to re-establish control over their lives.

    • The final Hofman report
      The APA Board of Directors engaged attorney David Hoffman of the law firm Sidley Austin in November 2014 to conduct an independent review of whether there was any factual support for the assertion that APA engaged in activity that would constitute collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support or facilitate the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques by the United States in the war on terror.

    • The Hoffman Report: Background & Introduction
      In November 2014, the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association engaged our Firm to conduct an independent review of allegations that had been made regarding APA’s issuance of ethical guidelines in 2002 and 2005, and related actions. These ethical guidelines determined whether and under what circumstances psychologists who were APA members could ethically participate in national security interrogations…… By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
    • 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 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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