Newsletter. Torture in the Context of Migration

Newsletter No. 2 2018 Torture in the Context of Migration

20.06 2018

Overview of content:
Torture in the Context of Migration
Further reading on Torture in the Context of Migration
Manual for stabilisation and skills training after traumatic events
Are you familiar with MHHRI GBV manual?
Enforced disappearance


Further reading on Torture in the Context of Migration

Sudden and unexpected family separation, can lead to emotional trauma in children,
American Psychological Association (APA), open letter to President Trump
Decades of psychological research have determined that it is in the best interest of the child and the family to keep families together. Families fleeing their homes to seek sanctuary are already under a tremendous amount of stress. Sudden and unexpected family separation, such as separating families at the border, can add to that stress, leading to emotional trauma in children.

New standards on support and protection for torture victims in the context of migration,
In the beginning of 2018, the UN Committee against Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Torture published updated standards on support and protection for torture victims in the context of migration. These standards draw extensively on IRCT’s health-based expertise and knowledge about how to ensure a trauma informed approach to asylum procedures and reception of refugees.

Torture Victims in the Context of Migration: Identification, Redress and Rehabilitation,
Migration is part of who we are as a human species. Since the dawn of time, people have. Today, there are more people on the move than ever before. Many flee their homes because they have no other choice. They are in flight from extreme poverty, economic or political instability, generalized violence, gender inequality or other forms of discrimination. There is often a perilous and precarious migration journey ahead. Many run the risk of losing their own lives and those of their loved ones in the hope of finding safety and security.

Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Humanitarian or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,
1. The purposes of effective investigation and documentation of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (hereinafter “torture or other ill-treatment”) include the following: (a) Clarification of the facts and establishment and acknowledgement of individual and State responsibility for victims and their families; (b) Identification of measures needed to prevent recurrence…

EU Migration and Home Affairs – Reception conditions,
Directive also provides particular attention to vulnerable persons, especially unaccompanied minors and victims of torture. Member States must, inter alia, conduct an individual assessment in order to identify the special reception needs of vulnerable persons and to ensure that vulnerable asylum seekers can access medical and psychological support.

(Chapter six) UNHCR Resettlement Submission Categories,
UNHCR resettlement activities constitute a means of providing international protection and appropriate durable solutions to refugees. As seen in previous chapters of this Handbook, offering refugees a durable solution through resettlement is also a tangible expression of international responsibility sharing.

Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors,
The resource kit is produced by the IRCT, the umbrella organisation for more than 140 independent international torture rehabilitation centres promoting and supporting torture rehabilitation and working for the prevention of torture worldwide. This resource kit is produced as part of a three-year project entitled “Developing the Capacity of IRCT Member Centres to Deliver Holistic Torture Rehabilitation Services through South-South and South-North Peer Supervision and Support”.

Ensuring torture victims’ 17 rights in the global compact,
Torture has devastating consequences for victims, their families and the broader community. Its severe physical and psychological effects disrupt the lives of victims and often prevent them from continuing their life plan. Clients at IRCT member centres describe their experiences after torture as living in an empty shell, being in a prison without bars, and being unable to imagine a future.

Falling Through the Cracks, Asylum Procedures and Reception Conditions for Torture Victims in the European Union,
Torture victims are not receiving the specialised support they need to get better and to engage effectively with the asylum process. One reason for this is that most EU Member States, including the eight countries featured in this report, do not have a procedure for systematic identification of torture victims in the asylum procedure. This key issue has a range of negative consequences on the individual, such as deteriorating physical and mental health and flawed consideration of their asylum claim.

Victims of torture: Identification and follow up (presentation),
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.
Universal declaration art. 5; International Covenant on CPR, art.7; European HR convention, art. 3; UN convention against torture, 1- 16.

I’m an MP, and I visited an immigration detention centre undercover – what I discovered was shocking,
I recently visited an immigration removal center for men – not as an MP, but as a normal visitor, under the radar. The reality is brutal. The UK is the only EU country that does not set a specific time limit on immigration detention. Knowing that their detention could be indefinite damages the mental health of those in detention.

Manual for stabilisation and skills training after traumatic events

By Torunn Støren, Sveinung Odland and Helen Johnsen Christie (2018)

We would like to introduce this helpful stabilisation manual that has been developed to help stabilise symptoms in people who have experienced traumatic events. Their need is first of all to obtain skills to deal with their symptoms. They need to recognise that the painful events are no longer happening, to acquire a sense of safety in the present and to gain more perceived control over thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. The manual can be used as a first-stage intervention prior to processing traumatic events. The manual was written after NKVTS (Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies) published findings from the study of survivors from the massacre on Utøya, Norway on 22 July 2011. The study found that many of the victims continued to have sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, somatic disorders, traumatic grief, withdrawal and loss of interest in day-to-day activities. The manual is also
suitable for different kinds of trauma. The different themes of the manual are:

• Post-traumatic symptoms
• Difficulties sleeping
• Concentration
• Triggers, different types
• Triggers, handling
• Emotions
• Mindfulness
• Identity and meaning
• Grief

All manuals can be downloaded from the MHHRI website

There are three different manuals, which respectively address working with women, with boys and men, and with children who have experienced sexual violence.

The manuals are translated into several languages. The page numbers in each manual remain the same across languages. This allows survivors and helpers to work from copies in their preferred language and read the same content on the same pages. It also makes it easier to teach participants when participants and trainers work in more than one language. The manuals include a toolbox. Survivors can use it individually to regulate their own emotions through grounding exercises or in collaboration with a helper. Helpers can also use grounding exercises to take care of themselves as helpers.

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Sincerely yours,
Take care – and we are wishing you all the best.

Sincerely yours,

Mental Health and Human Rights Info