Trauma informed restorative justice through community based sociotherapy in Rwanda

Restorative justice, when trauma informed, has a great potential to effectively contribute to sustainable peace in post conflict settings. An evidence based example of a program illustrating such effect is community based sociotherapy in Rwanda. This article documents what this program has achieved in terms of restorative justice, following the closure of Gacaca, the community based justice system that was in operation in Rwanda nationwide from 2005 to 2012.

Towards justice and reconciliation in post-conflict countries

This article contributes to the debates around concepts of truth, confession, forgiveness and reconciliation. The theoretical discussion shows to what extent these concepts are interconnected, and share a complex relation with justice and reconciliation. It argues that the knowledge about past violence is hardly a canonical truth. It is at best a negotiated truth. This knowledge is inevitably a combination of facts and interpretations. This knowledge is sought and used for understanding past violence but also for paving a way towards the reconstruction of post-conflict societies.

Listen and Speak out against Sexual Abuse of Girls and Boys

Global Submission by the International Save the Children Alliance UN Study on Violence against Children

The present study evaluates Save the Children’s experiences with work against child sexual abuse and exploitation around the world. We focus on the essence of our programme experiences, our insights and the ‘main jewels’ of our learning in the form of 10 essential learning points. We have investigated if and how our work has been in the best interest of children and whether it contributed to their development. How do we perceive the challenges and strategies that have been successful? The examination led to the formulation of the learning points, which may serve as a guide for establishing good practice and policies.

Thirteen country programmes within Save the Children – Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Nicaragua, South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Syria, Nepal, Bangladesh, Romania and Spain – have been involved in the present examination, drawing on their own and partners’ experiences as well as the experiences of governments and civil society in general in combating child sexual abuse within a number of cultural, socio-economic, political and religious contexts. Good practice from other Save the Children members, academic and other sources has also been included. We have emphasised that the learning reflects what boys and girls of different ages themselves feel, think, reflect and experience around sexual abuse.Turid

Gender-Based Violence against Women: Both Cause for Migration and Risk along the Journey

Each year, countless women and children flee violence at home and take an uncertain journey in the hope of finding safety in a new country. While many escape conflict zones or generalized human-rights abuses, some also run from more intimate forms of violence namely, sexual and domestic violence perpetrated by men. Setting off on the journey is no guarantee of safety; many are vulnerable to gender-based abuse in transit and even at destination.

Male victims of sexual violence: war’s silent sufferers

Sexual violence is a tactic of war, used to humiliate, dominate and instill fear. It is also increasingly being used as a tactic of terrorism. While the focus has largely been on women and girls as victims of sexual violence, boys and men are equally at risk. Sexual violence against men and boys takes on a range of heinous acts, including anal and oral rape, genital torture, castration and coercion to rape others. Many of these acts are seen as emasculating, and while many male victims are willing to give accounts of what they witnessed, they are less likely to express what they themselves had experienced in conflict (webpage).

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.

Evaluating Asylum Seekers: An Interview with Dr. Arno Vosk

In the third installment of Evaluating Asylum Seekers, Sampsonia Way speaks to Dr. Arno Vosk, an advisor to a medical student clinic at the University of Pennsylvania. I find it incredible that people who have endured such suffering in their home countries should find it so difficult to get refuge in the United States.

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).

The right to reparation for survivors – Recommendations for reparation for survivors of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi

IBUKA and its 15 member organisations, the Survivors Fund (SURF) and REDRESS (the Organisations) submit this discussion paper to the Government of Rwanda to help progress discussions on reparation for survivors of the genocide with survivors, survivor organisations and other stakeholders. The Organisations propose a range of options that could be explored further with a view to ensuring that survivors ultimately secure reparation, in particular in the form of rehabilitation, restitution and compensation.

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.

What happened to the women? Gender and reparations for human rights violations

Rather than starting out from a preconceived list of items that a gender sensitive reparations program has to abide by, it would seem that, in order to claim that women have been taken into account, a policy of reparations must begin by including the voices of women .

Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Meeting Human Needs for Justice and Reconciliation

The ending of overt violence via a peace agreement or military victory does not mean the achievement of peace.2 Rather, the ending of violence or a so-called ‘post-conflict’ situation provides “a new set of opportunities that can be grasped or thrown away”.3 The international community can play a significant role in either nurturing or undermining this fragile peace building process. Both justice and reconciliation are fundamentally significant goals that need to be addressed in the design of successful post-conflict peace building processes and mechanisms, especially in the aftermath of genocide.

Cross-Cultural Assessment Of Trauma-Related Mental Illness

Project Objectives;
1.To create an instrument adaptation and validation process which can be used by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others to quantitatively assess the mental health burden of trauma at the population level across cultures and situations.
2. To use this instrument and process to assess part of the mental health burden of trauma on a civilian population in Rwanda.
3. To use the resulting data to assess the need for interventions, form the baseline for an intervention process, and (at a future date) to plan the form of such an intervention.
4. Current methods to assess mental health across cultures require resources and time not available to NGOs and many of the populations they serve, and are therefore research tools only. In this study we have attempted to develop a method useful for NGOs because it requires only training and existing resources.

Background Information on Sexual Violence used as a Tool of War

The victims of modern armed conflict are far more likely to be civilians than soldiers. According to UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, the vast majority of casualties in todays wars are among civilians, mostly women and children. Women in particular can face devastating forms of sexual violence, which are sometimes deployed systematically to achieve military or political objectives.

Children Affected by Armed Conflict/ Child Soldiers

Child Soldiers provides an overview of the conditions and treatment of the estimated 250,000 children who fight in wars around the world. This thematic page describes the impact soldiering has on children and steps being taken to end this abuse.

PTSD in Survivors of Rwanda`s 1994 War

Rwanda`s 1994 civil war officially ended in July of that year, but as massacres and episodes of genocide continue to erupt sporadically within and around Rwanda`s borders, the many faces of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to surface in dramatic ways (for historical reference).

Promoting Psychosocial Well-Being Among Children Affected by Armed Conflict and Displacement: Principles and Approaches

Save the Children began in the aftermath of the First World War and the Russian revolution to help refugee and displaced children across Europe. Since then, wars, especially civil wars, have increased: More than 50 of them were raging in 1995. A central feature of these conflicts is that 80-90 percent of the victims are civilians, most of them women and children (for historical reference).

The International Response to Conflict and Genocide: Lessons from the Rwanda Experience

The primary objective of this report is to examine the effectiveness, impact and relevance of international assistance on repatriation, rehabilitation, reconstruction and long-term development in Rwanda in the aftermath of the violence that destroyed or severely damaged much of Rwanda`s social, cultural and economic institutions.