COVID-19: The Pandemic and The Response in the WHO-South-East Asia Region

As the COVID-19  pandemic spreads, WHO is supporting countries in their containment and mitigation efforts such as by providing technical guidance, laboratory capacity strengthening for testing, equipment for hospitals and healthcare workers, and creating awareness and addressing misinformation. This website provides information and guidance of relevance to the WHO South-East Asia Region. From strengthening screening at airports and laboratory capacity to awareness campaigns, all countries are carrying out a range of measures to respond to this outbreak, declared as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). WHO has provided technical guidance on all key areas.

Asian Human Rights Commission

This Commission targets to protect and promote human rights (by monitoring, investigation, advocacy, taking solidarity actions). In addition to more general information on the topic of human rights, we find also very solid and informative collection (links) to the situation on torture in various Asian countries. There are also statements and reports, up to date press-releases. Very useful to get current status on the topic. – AHRC, 06/2010.

Strengthening Health System Responses to Genderbased Violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

This resource package aims to strengthen the knowledge and skills of health care professionals to understand GBV, to identify patients who have experienced GBV and to provide survivors with appropriate care, support and referrals. It seeks to provide trainers with a ready-made and user-friendly tool to deliver trainings to health care professionals in the EECA region, packaging the comprehensive background information included in part I into ten practical training modules.

Webinar series India Leaders for Social Sector

Webinars on the COVID-19 pandemic, public health including mental health, justice and human rights in India with experts. A number of the webinars were video recorded and can be watched and listened to from their website.

You can also get an overview of upcoming webinars on a range of topics here.

International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)

ICMP ensures the cooperation of governments and others in addressing the issue of missing persons, including provisions to build institutional capacity, encourage public involvement and address the needs of justice and provides technical assistance to governments in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) is a federation of human rights organizations working directly on the issue of involuntary disappearances in Asia. Envisioning a world without desaparecidos, the Federation was founded on June 4, 1998 in Manila, Philippines.

Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems, International (HURIDOCS)

Based in Geneva, HURIDOCS is an NGO that since 1982 supports human rights defenders use information technologies and documentation methods to organize and present data about violations. We are passionate about providing NGOs with the simplest and most efficient tools and techniques to advocate for their cause. Our team working in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe understands the specific challenges of each of these contexts.


Bangladesh Human Rights Commission-BHRC is one of the largest Voluntary International human rights and peace bodies in Asian Region working against torture and for the preservation, promotion and upholding of human rights/peace with over thousand branches in home and abroad. BHRC registered by the Government of Bangladesh and established in 1987 as per charter of UN bill of rights. It is accredited with United Nations and Affiliated Status with the International Commission of Jurists- ICJ. It is also member body of OMCT/SOS Torture Network (Geneva) and Member with Observer Status of African Commission on Human & Peoples Rights.

TORTURE: Asian and Global Perspectives Magazine

A bi-monthly magazine on the issue of torture. Torture is often used by authoritarian regimes as a means of maintaining control and suppressing dissent. Our policy is against any form of torture and creates a common platform to everyone in Asia and around the globe, to come forward to speak out against torture. ISSN 2304-134X (print) | ISSN 2304-1358 (online)


AsianSTSS was founded for professionals to advance knowledge about the nature and consequences of highly stressful events and to provide a forum for the sharing of research, clinical strategies, public policy concerns and theoretical formulations on trauma around the Asian region, as well as promoting high standards and ethical practice in the trauma field.

Stop stealing our stories: the ethics of research with vulnerable groups

The article discusses the challenges and opportunities faced when integrating participatory methods into human rights-based research. It describes the development of a participatory action research approach designed to fulfil the aim of undertaking advocacy-focused research grounded in human rights and community participation. It reflects the principles of anti-oppressive social work and the ethics of undertaking research with vulnerable populations. In line with other contributions to this special issue, the article explores questions such as: Where does knowledge about the story come from and how is it passed on?; What spurs ethical thinking at an individual and organizational level?; and How can ethical sensitivity and strategic effectiveness be combined?’

Children, torture and psychological consequences

Deliberate infliction of pain and suffering or intimidation or coercion on children to obtain a confession or information, for punishment of real or perceived offences on the basis of discrimination about race, ethnic or political affiliation, is practiced in many places around the world. Impact of torture on children may vary depending on the child’s coping strategies, cultural and social circumstances.

Sexual violence against women and girls in war and its aftermath: realities, responses, and required resources

Addressing GBV requires coordinated, inter-agency, and multi-sectoral strategies that aim for prevention through policy reform and implementation of protective mechanisms and building the capacity of health, social welfare, legal and security systems to recognize, monitor, and respond to GBV; in addition to ensure rapid and respectful services to survivors (34 pages, .pdf. for historical reference).

Rapid Assessments of Mental Health Needs After Disasters

Screening for PTSD among survivors of disasters in developing countries, especially in acute situations, has faced a number of common criticisms; psychological trauma is a western concept that may be unfamiliar to other cultures. PTSD has limited diagnostic validity because culturally diverse communities do not have equivalent terms for the constellation or for the individual symptom domains of the disorder (4 pages).

Because I am a Girl: the State of the Worlds Girls reports

The public images of war focus almost exclusively on young men  armed forces, suicide bombers, young men throwing stones at soldiers. The fact that girls remain invisible casts a long shadow on their involvement in war, particularly as the changing nature of war and conflict means that increasingly, civilians are affected as war is played out closer to people’s homes.

Children in Emergency and Crisis Situations

Commission Of The European Communities, 2008. A framework for community humanitarian actions covering children in crisis situations with focus on separated and no accompanied children, child soldiers and education in emergencies. This general framework will be implemented according to the specificities of each crisis situation taking into account the available resources and the presence of competent partners in the field.

Security Council Cross Cutting Report Children and armed conflict

These reports track Security Council involvement with children and armed conflict over the years, highlighting trends since the issue first emerged as a separate thematic agenda item in 1998. The present report covers relevant developments at the thematic level during 2014 and into the first half of 2015 (40 pages).

Adolescents and the tsunami

On 30 December 2004, four days after the tsunami struck, the Voices of Hope voices of Youth website became a space where young people could build a support group for each other and voice opinions about the direction relief efforts should take. The discussion forum that resulted lasted for three months and became known as Tsunami terror, a name that was suggested by the young people themselves.

Building back better

One year after the tsunami, UNICEF recounts its role in providing immediate relief and ongoing care to the thousands of families and children affected. Helping bring children back to school, providing immunization services, and assisting with registration, placement and reunification of the separated are but a few of the activities UNICEF undertook in the past 12 months. The report provides country-by-country breakdowns that include expenditure, plans and challenges, while highlighting children’s stories and key partners in relief and recovery.

Combating Female Genital Mutilation in Europe

A Comparative Analysis of Legislative and Preventative Tools in the Netherlands,France, the United Kingdom, and Austria, Every year, 3 million girls and women are subjected to the harmful traditional practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Worldwide, the number of girls and women who have undergone this practice is estimated to lie between 100 and 150 million. FGM is not only an important issue in Africa, the Middle-East, and Asia where it has been traditionally practised, but due to the arrival of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from these countries to the West, to Europe, North America, and Australia, FGM has also become a Western concern.

Mental health promotion in post-conflict countries

Meeting the mental health needs of those persons in conflict and post-conflict situations in the eastern Mediterranean region (EMR) is an important goal of the World Health Organization. Of the 22 countries in the EMR, 85% of the population has been affected by conflict in the past two decades. This has resulted in a high prevalence of mental disorders, most commonly depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. A number of innovative, culturally sensitive interventions have been developed to meet the mental health needs of the population. These include the use of ‘focusing’ in Afghanistan, the Education for Peace Programme in Lebanon, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s work with refugees in Gaza, life skills education in Iran and the training of professionals in Afghanistan. (Only an abstract, but cited by many publications  – How to Rebuild a Nation: Improving Mental Health in Post-Conflict Countries by Raushun Kirtikar among others.)

Advances in Disaster Mental Health and Psychological Support

This book is divided into four sections. Section I presents the theoretical bases for mental health and psychosocial support activities following a major disaster. Section II provides the reader with six specific examples of how mental health and psychosocial needs of affected populations have been addressed in Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Iraq, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Section III moves from mental health and psychiatry into a community model of psychosocial support. These sections present a transition from psychiatry to psychosocial support in India and are followed by two case studies; one from Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India, and the other addressing the tsunami response during the acute to early reconstruction phases of the disaster cycle in the south and western provinces of Sri Lanka. Section IV proposes tools for monitoring and evaluation of community-based psychosocial support needs and interventions.

Psychosocial responses to disaster: An Asian perspective

The psychological and psychiatric impact of great natural disasters are beginning to be understood leading to new methods of prevention, intervention and mitigation. There is limited data from the Asian continent, however, which has been the location of some of the greatest disasters of recent times. In this paper, we outline the psychosocial intervention efforts from nine Asian nations when confronted with large-scale natural catastrophic events. These include reports from situations where local services have some capacity to respond as well as those where services are destroyed or overwhelmed. From this it is possible to draw some general principles of psychosocial disaster intervention: (1) Assessment of disaster, extant service systems and incoming resources. (2) Assessment of help-seeking pathways and cultural models of illness.

TPO Cambodia

TPO Cambodia vision is to contribute to the development of Psychosocial and Mental Health Care in Cambodia within a local cultural context.

Medica Mondiale

Medica Mondiale acts to support traumatised women and girls in war and crisis zones and views its role as that of an advocate for the rights and interests of women who have survived sexualised wartime violence.

Understanding mental health needs of Southeast Asian refugees:

The main purpose is to review the relevant literature pertaining to Southeast Asian refugees’ experiences and to understand the manifestation of psychiatric disorders by examining historical, cultural, and contextual challenges.

Some perspectives on torture victims, reparation and mental recovery

This article surveys issues related to the pursuit of reparation by victims of torture or their family members. What is the legal right to reparation, and how successfully has it been implemented in different countries?

The Politics of Torture: Dispelling the Myths and Understanding the Survivors

Understanding the modem use of torture entails the dispelling of myths about its nature and purpose. There remains a perception that torture is practiced randomly, that it is punishment carried to an extreme, that it is performed by psychopaths or sadists, that it exists outside of governmental responsibility and is practiced by “less civilized” societies.

Centre for Victims of Torture Nepal (CVICT)

The Centre for Victims of Torture Nepal (CVICT), a non-profit, non-governmental organization, was established in 1990 to rehabilitate torture survivors and advocate against torture in Nepal.