At the close of his visit to Sri Lanka in late October 2017, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Mr Pablo de Greiff concluded that Sri Lanka “continues to deprive itself of the benefits of transitional justice.” In 2015, the Sri Lankan government co-sponsored UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.
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.
“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
Enforced disappearances have been a well known to Sri Lanka before, during and the `post´ conflict scenario. However, from time to time we have had large scale disappearances becoming widely used since the 1980s onwards, connected to the politico-military situation and in local areas of the country.
This report analyzes States obligations under international law to ensure acts of enforced disappearance constitute a distinct, autonomous offence under national law. It also provides an overview of the practice of enforced disappearance, focusing specifically on the status of the criminalization of the practice, in five South Asian countries: India,Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
We are a human-rights-based development organization that strives to mitigate the consequences of severe human rights violations, such as collective violence. We support and empower victims/survivors of human rights violations and seek to change the conditions that perpetuate collective violence through preventative strategies.
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.
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).
Few psychosocial and mental health care systems have been reported for children affected by political violence in low and middle income settings and there is a paucity of research-supported recommendations. This paper describes afield tested multi-layered psychosocial care system for children (focus age between 8-14 years), aiming to translate common principles and guidelines into a comprehensive support package
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.
This paper examines the concept of resilience in the context of children affected by armed conflict. Resilience has been frequently viewed as a unique quality of certain invulnerable children. In contrast, this paper argues that a number of protective processes contribute to resilient mental health outcomes in children when considered through the lens of the child’s social ecology.
Complex situations that follow war and natural disasters have a psychosocial impact on not only the individual but also on the family, community and society. Just as the mental health effects on the individual psyche can result in non pathological distress as well as a variety of psychiatric disorders; massive and widespread trauma and loss can impact on family and social processes causing changes at the family, community and societal levels.
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.
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.
The article is based on the experiences of a recent pilot project to develop a participatory approach to the monitoring and evaluating of psychosocial interventions with children affected by armed conflict. Some of the main challenges encountered while utilizing these tools are discussed, along with the value of the data generated and the implications of using participatory methodologies for planning, monitoring and evaluation (Intervention 2007, Volume 5, Number 1).
The mental health effects of children affected by militarized violence are receiving increasing attention as the magnitude of the problem worldwide and its implications is becoming recognized. The trends in child mental health in Sri Lanka related to war and other factors are reviewed, and local project context in Eastern Sri Lanka is described. Since 1995 research and program development in addresses psychological distress in schoolchildren from multiple factors, many directly war related.
The past decade has seen a steady growth in the number of initiatives in Sri Lanka that are described as being psychosocial interventions related to its long-standing ethnic conflict or other political violence. This seems to be the result of heightened global and local awareness of the psychological toll exacted by modern conflicts.
This study is divided into three parts. Part I provides a general overview of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (in prisons in particular) committed by state officials. Parts II and III deal with torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of women and children respectively.
Sri Lanka’s ceasefire brokered by the Norwegian government 3 months ago has essentially held, bringing hope for the end of the country’s brutal 19-year civil war. The war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east of the island, and the Sri Lankan government has resulted in more than 64 000 deaths and shattered the economy.
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.
The mental health effects of children affected by militarized violence are receiving increasing attention as the magnitude of the problem worldwide and its implications is becoming recognized. The trends in child mental health in Sri Lanka related to war and other factors are reviewed, and local project context in Eastern Sri Lanka is described. Since (1995) research and program development in addresses psychological distress in schoolchildren from multiple factors, many directly war related. (17 pages, .pdf fro historical reference)
Report prepared for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women – 26th session 14 January – 1 February 2002
Report from the seminar “Responses to Human Rights Violations: The Domestic Implementation of the International Right to Reparation for Torture Victims in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal” – held on 14 September 2002 at the India International Centre, New Delhi.
The aim of the FRC is to provide holistic care to those affected by the armed conflict in all areas of Sri Lanka, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or political ideology.
There are a huge number of torture cases in Sri Lanka every year. Below are a few that the Asian Human Rights Commission has selected to illustrate the epidemic. The following cases are just a small fraction of the total number, however, they are useful as they all suggest a pattern, as follows (for historical reference).
We need to ask why children join armies. If we are to prevent children fighting we need to understand the conditions under which children become soldiers and work to improve these conditions. One such context, that of Sri Lanka, may shed some light on the issues.