(BMJ 2006;333:1230-1231) In a 1988 BMJ editorial,1 Marks and I reviewed the available knowledge on the mental health effects of torture and their treatment and presented a critical look at rehabilitation programmes for survivors. Eighteen years later, it is time to cast another look at the advances in our understanding of torture and its treatment and how this progress has translated into rehabilitation work with survivors. Such an update is timely: given the political developments of the last two decades, torture has become an ever more serious problem.
Akram Omeri, Christopher Lennings, Lyn Raymond, University of Sydney
Understanding trauma and the individuals responses to it requires a complex approach. Hardiness refers to the characteristic response some people make to adversity and involves the concept of transformative response. In this context adversity is something that can be viewed as a learning experience, a challenge rather than a catastrophe. Response to adversity becomes a commitment rather than simply being reactive, and the individuals sense of control over outcomes remains positive, rather than emphasising that persons vulnerability (9 pages, .pdf, for historical reference).
These guidelines reflect the insights of practitioners from different geographic regions, disciplines and sectors, and reflect an emerging consensus on good practice among practitioners. The core idea behind them is that, in the early phase of an emergency, social supports are essential to protect and support mental health and psychosocial well-being. In addition, the guidelines recommend selected psychological and psychiatric interventions for specific problems.
Save the children
The Field Guide to Child Soldier Programs in Emergencies is intended for Save the Children staff and partners designing and implementing either a program focused fully on child soldiers, or a child soldiers-focused component of a broader program for war-affected children. This field guide is meant to be useful both for staff that have limited experience with child soldier programming and for experienced staff that wish to improve their understanding of particular aspects of child soldier programs.
Transitional justice is a response to systematic or widespread violations of human rights. It seeks recognition for victims and to promote possibilities for peace, reconciliation and democracy. Transitional justice is not a special form of justice but justice adapted to societies transforming themselves after a period of pervasive human rights abuse. In some cases, these transformations happen suddenly; in others, they may take place over many decades.
This module is part of the WHO Mental Health Policy and Service guidance package, which provides practical information to assist countries to improve the mental health of their populations. Important for countries that are rebuilding their governance.
Nepali Voices: Perceptions of Truth, Justice, Reconciliation, Reparations and the Transition in Nepal
International Center for Transitional Justice, Occasional Paper
Various transitional-justice mechanisms were included in Nepals Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in November 2006. The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), together with Advocacy Forum (AF), decided to carry out a study on victims perceptions of issues such as truth, justice, reparations, reconciliation, and the general transition in Nepal. This study seeks to contribute to the debate about the transitional process in Nepal, bringing to the discussion the perceptions and opinions of the people who were directly affected by violence during the conflict. TheICTJandAFconsider it important to bring the voice of the victims into a debate involving all sectors of society.
In the past decade there has been an increasing focus on forgiveness and reconciliation in societies coming out of conflict. The concepts were previously the domain of philosophers and theologians but have become integrally linked to questions of political transition. There has been a shift from focusing on the investigative aspects of the truth-telling process and cataloging human rights abuses to considering their social impact. Issues such as healing, reconciliation, apology, acknowledgment, and forgiveness (to a lesser degree) have become central to the transitional justice debate.
UN Voluntary Fund for Vicims of Torture, 2006
Rebuilding Lives focuses on five Fund-supported projects in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Pakistan and Rwanda, representing the five regions of the world. The projects are described in brief articles supplemented by a series of photographs. These should allow readers to have a greater understanding of the experiences of torture victims and the rehabilitative services provided by the organizations.
Werner, W., 2013
The psychological suffering of children during war is an often overlooked, yet crucial, outcome of armed conflict. Many children have lived through conflict, political violence, displacement and starvation. This paper examines some of the issues surrounding the psychological costs of war.