Healing and Human Rights: A Blog by the Center for Victims of Torture

Showing all blog posts in Syrian conflict

The Government of Germany recently hosted an international conference in Berlin on the “Syrian Refugee Situation – Supporting Stability in the Region.”

On September 30, 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum authorizing the admission of 70,000 refugees to the United States.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently issued a report on the plight of Syrian refugee women. Woman Alone: The Fight for Survival by Syria's Refugee Women shows that more than 145,000 Syrian refugee families in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan – one in four of all households – are headed solely by women. According to UNHCR, the report uncovers that “Many [women] live under the threat of violence or exploitation, and their children face mounting trauma and distress.”

On June 20 – World Refugee Day – the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released its annual Global Trends report on the number of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people worldwide due to persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations.

Paul Linnell, the Humphrey Fellow for CVT in our Washington DC office, provides an informative and useful summary of our recent expert briefing on Fighting Impunity: Combating Torture & Human Trafficking.

Each year, CVT presents the Eclipse Award around June 26 – International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – to an individual or organization that has played a crucial role in the prevention of torture or treatment of torture survivors. The 2014 recipient is Professor David M. Crane, who is being honored for his extraordinary efforts in fighting impunity for torture.

We spoke to our colleagues with CVT Jordan about emergency mental health care. Leah James, CVT psychotherapist/trainer, and Simone van der Kaaden, Country Director-Jordan, discuss what it means to provide care in a situation where refugees face significant ongoing challenges and how they use “vicarious resilience” to counter a dark world view.

Can you describe what emergency mental health means?

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing today on "Syria After Geneva: Next Steps for U.S. Policy." CVT submitted written testimony to the committee with recommendations for Congress to pass the Syrian humanitarian resolution of 2014, to increase U.S. contributions to the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, and to provide funding for mental health and psychosocial support through the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department.

With the Syrian refugee crisis expected to reach 4 million by the end of this year, the Center for Victims of Torture joined other groups urging the Senate to pass a resolution to increase support, including mental health counseling, to Syrian civilians and victims of the conflict, particularly children.

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