Everyone Wants Me Dead – Killings, Abductions, Torture, and Sexual Violence Against LGBT People by Armed Groups in Iraq

This report is focused on killings, abductions, torture, and sexual violence against LGBT people by armed groups in Iraq. It is based on 54 interviews with LGBT Iraqis who have survived violence and discrimination by state and non-state actors, based primarily on their gender expression and presumed sexual orientation.

Guidelines on the Treatment of Iraqi Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Europe

This paper (30 p.) is in response to the treatment of Iraqi asylum seekers and refugees in Europe, it discusses the background of decisions in whether asylum is granted (or not), and criticises some principles in handling this problem.

Impact of psychological disorders after female genital mutilation among Kurdish girls in Northern Iraq

This study investigated the mental health status of young girls after genital mutilation in Northern Iraq. Although experts assume that circumcised girls are more prone to psychiatric illnesses than non-circumcised girls, little research has been conducted to confirm this claim. For the purpose of this study, it was assumed that female genital mutilation is connected with a high rate of posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

Weapon of war: Sexual violence against children in armed conflict

This report presents the very first quantitative analysis of the risk of sexual violence against children in conflict for the period 1990–2019. The report flags remaining data gaps, shortcomings in child-centred and gender-responsive service delivery, and impunity for these crimes. Our findings also show the urgency of the broader call for gender equality and child rights, including increased focus on girls’ empowerment initiatives, recognising that girls are disproportionately affected. Sexual violence in conflict is a weapon, whether it is used tactically or opportunistically. While children face increasing risk of sexual violence in conflict, the international community struggles to adequately address this human rights violation. The scale and gravity of sexual violence against children in armed conflict call for immediate and concerted action by the UN, states, donors, the humanitarian community, researchers and civil society to meet their obligations to ensure children are safe from harm.

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.

Mental health conditions in conflict situations are much more widespread than we thought: But there’s a lot we can do to support people

“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

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

“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

Transitional Justice – time for a re-think

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.

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.

Sexual Violence Against Men in Armed Conflict

Sexual violence is committed against men more frequently than is often thought. It is perpetrated at home, in the community and in prison; by men and by women; during conflict and in time of peace. It has been written that, in some respects, the situation facing male rape victims today is not so different from that which faced female victims, say, two centuries ago.

Male Rape and Human Rights

For the last few decades, the prevailing approach to sexual violence in international human rights instruments has focused virtually exclusively on the abuse of women and girls. In the meantime, men have been abused and sexually humiliated during situations of armed conflict. Childhood sexual abuse of boys is alarmingly common.

Gross human rights violations and reparation under international law: approaching rehabilitation as a form of reparation

The strengthening of international criminal law through an increased focus on the right to reparation and rehabilitation for victims of crimes against humanity is an important challenge to health professionals, particularly in the field of trauma research and treatment. A brief outline of developments within international law and justice is presented, with a focus on the right to reparation including the means for rehabilitation. The active presence of trauma-informed health professionals is a priority. The issues raised within the context of states’ obligations to provide and ensure redress and rehabilitation to those subjected to torture are discussed, and in particular how rehabilitation can be understood and responded to by health professionals.

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.

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).

Denial and silence or acknowledgement and disclosure

Disappearances are a worldwide problem. Over the last few decades the world has been shocked by accounts of tens of thousands of people who are known to have disappeared in Cambodia, Latin America, Iraq, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Chechnya and others.Forced disappearance have an effect on the individual, his/her family and the community as a whole. The problems that family members of disappeared persons face are complex and can be overwhelming.

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.

Exhumation of Mass Graves in Iraq, Considerations for Forensic Investigations, Humanitarian Needs, and the Demands of Justice

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.

The Iraq War Clinician Guide, 2nd Edition

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.