Save the Children, in collaboration with researchers from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), 2019
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
armed conflict child soldiers children grave violations against children human rights impunity internally displaced persons mental health sexual violence Afghanistan Central African Republic Democratic Republic of Congo Global Iraq Mali Nigeria Somalia South Sudan Syria Yemen
World Health Organization (WHO), 2012
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.
Save the children International, 2020
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.
Mental health conditions in conflict situations are much more widespread than we thought: But there’s a lot we can do to support people
Dr Mark van Ommeren, WHO, 2019
“Today, there is no shortage of countries in conflict. UN estimates suggest that in 2019, nearly 132 million people in 42 countries around the world will need humanitarian assistance resulting from conflict or disaster. Nearly 69 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced by violence and conflict, the highest number since World War II.
Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to help them. Indeed, there’s a lot we are doing.
In 2019 WHO is addressing mental health in countries and territories with populations affected by large-scale emergencies across the world, in Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, among others.
In many countries in the world, ignorance about mental health and mental illness remains widespread. The uptake of mental health care during conflict and other emergencies, in countries where such support has been limited, can lead to the identification of people who are tied up, locked in cages, hidden from society. In many cases, it is this very support that helps dispel myths about mental illness and leads to treatment and care and a path towards a more dignified life.
We have also learned that, when the political will exists, emergencies can be catalysts for building quality mental health services”, Dr Mark van Ommeren, WHO
United Nations, 2019
“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
action plans armed conflict gender based violence human rights impunity reparations sexual violence Afghanistan Bosnia and Herzegovina Burundi Central African Republic Colombia Côte d'Ivoire Democratic Republic of the Congo Iraq Libya Mali Myanmar Nepal Nigeria Somalia South Sudan Sri Lanka Sudan (Darfur) Syrian Arab Republic Yemen
Paul Seils, Open Global Rights, 2019
What would justice look like in the conflicts in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia? What would we expect it to achieve? For more than two decades, the field of transitional justice has sought to answer such questions. Transitional justice is generally understood as a package of measures including criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations for victims and reform of abusive institutions.
Exhumation of Mass Graves in Iraq, Considerations for Forensic Investigations, Humanitarian Needs, and the Demands of Justice
Eric Stover; William D. Haglund, Margaret Samuels
As part of a larger strategy to rebuild Iraq’s health care system, the coordinating body could also oversee the training of local forensic scientists in the recovery and analysis of skeletal remains and other health care professionals in the assessment and treatment of the mental health of the surviving families of the missing. At the same time, any future internationally coordinated search for the missing should not undermine the capacity of local institutions to develop culturally appropriate responses to what are ultimately local problems that the people of Iraq will continue to face for decades to come.
National Center for PTSD, 2004
The Iraq War Clinician Guide was developed by members of the National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense. It was developed specifically for clinicians and addresses the unique needs of veterans of the Iraq war.