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
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, 2019
This report gathers expert analysis from a broad cross-section of stakeholders who are committed to bringing this unacceptable situation to an end. It draws out common findings and perspectives that demonstrate increasing cohesion in the action taken across regions to end violence against children. It shows how people the world over are stepping up to prevent and respond to violence and to protect children from its impact. In addition this report demonstrates that success breeds success and there has been real momentum since the 2015 adoption of the 2030 Agenda. Furthermore, this report asks a key question: if the costs of inaction are so high and the solutions are known, why does violence against children continue to take place? What must we do to move better, faster and further in our urgent quest to bring it to an end? We hope that this report, by recognizing progress made, demonstrating what is needed and highlighting what can be done, will chart a course for accelerated action and for an ever-growing movement to end the scourge of violence.
Sustainable Development Outlook 2019: Gathering storms and silver linings: An overview of SDG challenges
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2019
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have registered some progress since their adoption in 2015. Thanks to concerted efforts of many Governments and development partners, child mortality continues to fall. Hepatitis is on the retreat, while new chronic hepatitis B virus infections is nearly zero. Access to electricity has increased globally and the proportion of urban population living in slums is declining.
Notwithstanding this progress, gathering storms of weakening global economic growth, rising income inequality, unabated global warming and climate change, and escalating conflict are impeding SDG implementation. The tailwinds of rapid technological advances, on the other hand, offer best hope for accelerating SDG progress.
This overview focuses on these key challenges and the policy responses that can address them.
(UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Economic Analysis)
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
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a horrifying reality and human rights violation for women and girls globally. During emergencies, the risk of violence, exploitation and abuse is heightened. At the same time, national systems, including health and legal systems, and community and social support networks weaken. This breakdown of systems can reduce access to health services, including sexual and reproductive health services, and legal services, leading to an environment of impunity in which perpetrators are not held to account. When systems and services are disrupted or destroyed, women and girls face even higher risk of human rights violations such as sexual violence, intimate partner violence, exploitation and abuse, child marriage, denial of resources and harmful traditional practices. GBV has significant and long-lasting impacts on the health, and psychosocial and economic well-being of women and girls, and their families and communities.
Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Africa
UN Women and Peace Operations Training Institute, 2014
The purposes of this course are to raise awareness about Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and
subsequent resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), and 2122
(2013); to mobilize governments and civil society to mainstream a gender perspective into all areas of
peace and security; and to build national and regional capacities for mainstreaming the women, peace,
and security agenda.
This course was designed as an accessible resource for decision makers, government officials,
civil servants and Members of Parliament, practitioners, and civil society who are involved in policy
development, planning, and programming in the area of peace and security.
Scottish Human Rights Commission, 2018
This tool is based on the PANEL principles (Participation, Accountability, Nondiscrimination, Empowerment and Legality) which form the basis of a human rights based approach. It is intended to help organisations assess their work and identify priorities for improvement towards embedding a human rights based approach.
The Barcelona Guidelines on Wellbeing and Temporary International Relocation of Human Rights Defenders
University of York, 2019
The wellbeing of human rights defenders is a critical but often neglected issue in human rights movements. Deeply committed to their causes, human rights defenders often persevere despite challenges, risks, and personal suffering. Wellbeing – especially of themselves – is often deprioritised. Human rights defenders often find it difficult to talk about their own mental and emotional wellbeing; the very language used in relation to this topic can result in disengagement. Stigma, biases and misconceptions about mental health in their societies – held by themselves and others – may further impede efforts to strengthen their wellbeing.
European Institute for Gender Equality, 2017
The increasing reach of the internet, the rapid spread of mobile information, and the widespread use of social media, coupled with the existing pandemic of violence against women and girls (VAWG), has led to the emergence of cyber VAWG as a growing global problem with potentially significant economic and societal consequences.
Center for Victims of Torture and Physicians for Human Rights, 2019
A new report by the Center for Victims of Torture and Physicians for Human Rights reveals that the experiences of detainees and independent civilian medical experts with medical care at the Guantánamo Bay detention center not only broadly refute the claim that detainees receive care equivalent to that of U.S. service members, but also evidence specific violations of the Nelson Mandela Rules, the universally recognized UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners, which the United States has championed. Guantánamo should be closed. Unless and until that happens, the Center for Victims of Torture and Physicians for Human Rights call upon Congress, the executive branch, and the courts to adopt a series of recommendations aimed at meaningfully improving the status quo.