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

Showing all blog posts in psychosocial support

Veronica Lavet

In this session, as we continue to build safety and stability in the group, we aim to draw out survivors’ internal strengths and external resources to counteract the unhelpful tunnel thinking that keeps traumatized people in a state of despair. After reviewing the grounding exercise that helps survivors feel more stable in their bodies and returns them to the present moment, the facilitators use a table metaphor to demonstrate how the more “table legs” one can develop (internal and external resources), the easier it is to carry the burdens on the table.

This coming Sunday, March 8, is International Women’s Day – a day to mark the global economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. This year’s theme – Make It Happen – is particularly fitting for one of our partners in the Partners in Trauma Healing (PATH) project -- Vive Žene.

For nearly three years, the Center for Victims of Torture has provided mental health care to refugees in the world’s largest refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. We hire and train men and women who are part of the refugee community in Dadaab, a complex of camps near the Somali-Kenya border. As mental health paraprofessionals, or psychosocial counselors (PSCs), they were recruited through a very competitive interviewing process.

Each year, thousands of Eritreans flee to refugee camps in northern Ethiopia to escape forced military inscription, persecution, and torture. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced that Ethiopia is now the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. According to UNHCR, Ethiopia is host to 629,718 refugees. The largest refugee population is South Sudanese (247,000), followed by Somalis (245,000), and Eritreans (99,000). UNHCR says that, over the past seven months, almost 15,000 Eritreans arrived in Ethiopia.As the Eritrean government targets the families of young men who flee the country to avoid forced conscription, more women and children have also fled Eritrea seeking refuge in Ethiopia.

In early July, the UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict released the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. The report, which covers January to December 2013, found that children were recruited and used, killed and maimed, victims of sexual violence and other grave violations in 23 conflict situations around the world last year.

Veronica Laveta, CVT International Services Clinical Advisor, and Jennifer Esala, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, recently traveled to Washington, DC for a U.S.

This week in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will convene its Annual Consultations with Non-Governmental Organizations. More than 240 national and international NGOs will be represented by over 460 participants to discuss issues, network, and exchange views with UNHCR.

Annie Sovcik, Esq., CVT's Director of the Washington Office, writes on the need to expand mental health services for refugees and survivors of humanitarian emergencies worldwide. CVT is the co-founder of the Global Mental Health Advocacy Working Group.

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We heal victims of torture through unique services and professional care worldwide.

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