Conflict-related sexual violence – report of the United nations Secretary-general 2019

The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2019, is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2467 (2019), in which the Council requested me to report on the implementation of resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1960 (2010) and 2106 (2013).

Mechanisms of Risk and Resilience in Military Families: Theoretical and Empirical Basis of a Family-Focused Resilience Enhancement Program

It is increasingly clear that wartime deployment is a family matter. Almost half of today’s active duty forces are parents, and continuing hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan ensure that growing numbers of military families will experience repeated cycles of separation in a context of danger that may span across years of each family’s development. Research conducted since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in Iraq point to the strain that wartime deployment places on families, as gauged by a broad range of indicators.

Enhancing Survivor-Centred Healthcare Response for Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence in Afghanistan

Women and girls in Afghanistan are extremely vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV) and face substantial barriers accessing healthcare facilities to seek help after such violence. This is widely known. Much less is known about sexual violence committed against men and boys, the barriers male victims/survivors face accessing healthcare facilities, or the quality of healthcare provision available to them. This report presents the findings of research conducted by international non-governmental organisation All Survivors Project (ASP) with its partner on the ground in Afghanistan, Youth Health and Development Organization (YHDO).

Afghanistan: Reuniting families on the run should be priority, urges UNHCR

Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said Afghan refugees have been approaching UNHCR offices, desperately concerned about the safety and welfare of their loved ones left behind, or living in neighbouring countries. “While recent political developments in Afghanistan have not led to large-scale cross-border displacement, many among pre-existing Afghan refugee and asylum seeker populations remain separated from their families owing to the inaccessibility of family reunification procedures,” she told journalists in Geneva.

Home-based psychosocial wellbeing activities for children, teens and parents

School closings, sick friends and family members, isolation at home – these and other factors can cause
anxiety and stress for children during a crisis, including a global health pandemic or conflict. This guide aims to increase children’s resilience and wellbeing through activities that can be done in the
home with a little support from parents and caregivers. The activities outlined in this book will support
stress management, emotional learning, creativity, parent/caregiver – child relationships, relaxation and
problem-solving techniques, allowing open discussions around difficulties while also increasing individual capacity to cope in fun and creative ways.

You may be worried about friends and family in Afghanistan

You may be worried about friends and family in Afghanistan and don’t know what to do.
Pictures and news of the current situation in Afghanistan are disturbing and can be triggering or bring flashbacks.

We share your concern for the situation and your worries for the people in Afghanistan. If you yourself feel anxious or triggered by the situation and have trouble functioning, we offer this information on how to cope.

Stabilization techniques and grounding exercises are some tools to calm yourself.

It may be helpful to know a little bit about trauma and what type of mental and physical reactions that are common if you have experiencing trauma or extreme stressors, both for people experiencing trauma and for friends and relatives.

The War on Children: Time to end grave violations against children in conflict

This report identifies concerning trends for the safety and wellbeing of children living in areas impacted by conflict, through analysis of the United Nations Annual Reports of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) and new research by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). The research utilizes figures that are published, independently verified and credible, but one of the key findings of the data mapping process is that there is a significant and worrying gap in child-specific data in conflicts.

Although all warring parties are obliged to protect children, in conflicts around the world heinous attacks are committed against children on a daily basis, for which the perpetrators are not being held to  account. What is more, many of these violations are increasing, driven bybrutal conflicts like the war in Syria. There is an urgent need for action to end what is too often a war on children.

Stop the War on Children

The protection of children in conflict – and with it the realisation of the promises made in the declarations, conventions and statutes of the 20th century – is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. The nature of conflict – and its impact on children – is evolving.
In today’s armed conflicts, there is often no longer a clearly demarcated battlefield: children’s homes and schools are the battlefield.
Increasingly, the brunt of armed violence and warfare is being borne by children. Children suffer in conflict in different ways to adults, partly because they are physically weaker and also because they have so much at stake – their physical, mental and psychosocial development are heavily dependent on the conditions they experience as children. Conflict affects children differently depending on a number of personal characteristics – significantly gender and age, but also disability status, ethnicity, religion and whether they live in rural or urban locations. The harm that is done to children in armed conflict is not only often more severe than that done to adults, it has longer lasting implications – for children themselves and for their societies

Building Back Better: Sustainable Mental Health Care after Emergencies

This WHO report shares detailed accounts from 10 diverse emergency-affected areas, each of which built better-quality and more sustainable mental health systems despite challenging circumstances. Cases originate from countries small to large; low to middle-income; across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East; and affected by large-scale natural disasters, prolonged conflict, and large-scale influxes of refugees. While their contexts varied considerably, all were able to convert short-term interest in population mental health into sustainable, long-term improvements.
This WHO report goes beyond aspirational recommendations by providing detailed descriptions of how mental health reform was accomplished in these situations. Importantly, case contributors report not only their major achievements, but also their most difficult challenges and how they were overcome. Key overlapping practices emerging from these experiences are also summarized.

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. I call upon all readers to take steps to ensure that those faced with future emergencies do not miss the important opportunity for mental health reform and development.

– Dr Margaret Chan, former Director-General WHO

Executive summary available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish here.

Stop the war on children 2020: Gender matters

The third report of Save the Children’s Stop the War on Children campaign reveals shocking trends in the threats to the safety and wellbeing of children living in areas impacted by conflict. While fewer children are living in conflict-affected areas, those who do face the greatest risk of falling victim to serious violence since systematic records began. This report delves into the differences between boys’ and girls’ experiences through a gendered analysis of the six grave violations of children in conflict.

Conflict related sexual violence: Report of the United Nations Secretary-General 2018

“Conflict-related sexual violence is now widely recognized as a war crime that is preventable and punishable. The United Nations Security Council has played an important role in the past decade
by passing successive resolutions that emphasize accountability for perpetrators and services for survivors.”
– United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

Sexual Violence Against Refugee Women on the Move to and Within Europe

The objective of this overview is to present the issue of sexual violence (SV) against refugee women and girls and to discuss countermeasures that have been suggested or initiated by the Member States of the WHO European Region and national nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) between January (2015) and May 2016. A literature review was undertaken using Google scholar, the WHO publication database and a cross-search of journal databases.

Mental health consequences of war: a brief review of research findings

In humanitarian emergencies and conflict situations psychological damage has traditionally not been addressed, its extent and impact have not been well studied. It is only through a greater focus of mental health problems as a result of war and conflict, can coherent and effective strategies for dealing with such problems be developed.

Torture in the Americas: The law and practice

This report builds on the presentations and discussions of the Americas Regional Experts Meeting on the Law and Practice on Torture, as well as information shared by experts on the basis of their expertise and experience in litigation and advocacy on torture related issues. The participants completed a questionnaire regarding the law and practice of torture in their jurisdiction and made presentations at the meeting covering national practice as well as thematic issues. The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange information and experiences on litigating torture cases and advocating legal and institutional reforms.

The Role of Women in Stabilization and Reconstruction

This report summarizes the challenges in supporting women in the process of transitional justice, also focusing on the important role women play here. There are also suggestions how to implement solutions (24 pages, .pdf, for historical reference).

Understanding and coping with traumatic stress, Part Three: Cultural issues

Traumatic stress is not just a problem for western humanitarian workers who relocate (usually temporarily) to developing countries and disaster zones for the sake of their job. In fact, the majority of humanitarian workers worldwide are from non-western cultural backgrounds, working in their home country (from page 12).

Setting the Right Priorities: Protecting Children Affected by Armed Conflict in Afghanistan

In 2009, at least 346 children were killed in aerial strikes and search-and-raid operations by international special forces as well as by assassinations and suicide bombings by anti-government elements. In addition, landmines, explosive remnants of war and other explosives have killed or severely injured hundreds of children, particularly boys who play outside, tend animals, or collect food, water or wood. Armed groups have also damaged and destroyed schools, targeting students (especially girls), teachers and others who are seen as supportive of Afghanistan’s education system.

Counselling Afghanistan Torture and Trauma Survivors

The development of services to meet the needs of Afghan refugees, most of whom are traumatised by years of war and internecine violence, requires a sophisticated blend of counselling strategies and culturally-informed pragmatism. This article outlines the approach that Mehraby has found most useful in dealing with this extraordinary client population (10 pages).

Women’s Health and Human Rights in Afghanistan

The current health and human rights status of women described in this report suggests that the combined effects of war-related trauma and human rights abuses by Taliban officials have had a profound effect on Afghan women’s health. Moreover, support for women’s human rights by Afghan women suggests that Taliban policies regarding women are incommensurate with the interests, needs, and health of Afghan women (8 pages, for historical reference)

Health Challenges for Refugees and Immigrants

This Refugee Reports focuses on refugee health in the United States, beginning with an article about the general healthcare challenges facing refugees and immigrants. John Poon provides a case study of Afghan refugees trying to gain access to necessary health services. José Quiroga discusses the physical and mental health needs of torture victims. Several reports feature the important mental health issues facing newcomers as well as refugee-specific information about vaccinations and civil surgeons.

The mental health disaster in conflict settings: Can scientific research help?

What gains have been made in the fight against traumatic disorders and other mental health problems in conflict areas? What do we know about the impact on individual, family and community functioning? Given what we know about the effects of trauma, it is likely that we will also see a rise in substance abuse and suicidality, violence, and a worsening of physical health.

Hardiness and transformational coping in asylum seekers: the Afghan experience

Understanding trauma and the individuals responses to it requires a complex approach. Hardiness refers to the characteristic response some people make to adversity and involves the concept of transformative response. In this context adversity is something that can be viewed as a learning experience, a challenge rather than a catastrophe. Response to adversity becomes a commitment rather than simply being reactive, and the individuals sense of control over outcomes remains positive, rather than emphasising that persons vulnerability (9 pages, .pdf, for historical reference).

Psychosocial interventions for children in war-affected areas: the state of the art

In this article the literature on psychosocial assistance to children in war-affected areas is reviewed. Two main types of interventions are identified: the curative approach and the developmental approach. The effectiveness of each of these approaches is discussed.( Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 1, Page 3 – 17)

Children affected by armed conflict: UNICEF actions

More than a decade ago, in September 1990, the Convention on th Rights of the Child (CRC) entered into force. Today the Convention, the most universally ratified human rights instrument, is the standard against which we measure the success or failure of our efforts to serve the best interests of children.

Children Affected by Armed Conflict in South Asia: A review of trends and issues identified through secondary research

This document is based on research conducted in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka between January and April 2001. (for historical reference)

Children of war: the real casualties of the Afghan conflict

This article explores the origin of the current Afghan crisis and describes the impact of a quarter of a century of incessant conflict on Afghan children.

Therapy with Refugee Children

Refugee children living in Australia have usually survived a multitude of traumatic experiences in their country of origin. Exposed to war, persecution, extreme deprivation and sometimes torture, they are prone to post traumatic stress disorder and physical ailments.