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Resources 10-21-10

October 21, 2010

Torture: Journal on Rehabilitation of
Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture

The journal, Torture, is published by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, based in Denmark. Online subscriptions to Torture are free, and health professionals can request a subscription to the hard-copy journal as well.

UN’s 2010 Population Report
Focuses on Rape as a Weapon of War

In announcing its annual report on the state of the world’s peoples, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Director of the United Nationals Population Fund (UNFPA) said that conflict today is less and less about soldiers confronting each other on the battlefield, and more about seeking to break the will of civilians: “In many of today’s conflicts,” she said, “women are disempowered by rape or the threat of it, and by the HIV infection, trauma, and disabilities that often result from it.” Margot Wallstrom, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict said that “The top priority is to push back against the vicious cycle of impunity.”

“Women rarely wage war, but they too often suffer the worst of its consequences.” The UNFPA report calls gender-based violence, including rape, “a repugnant and increasingly familiar weapon of war. The immediate toll it takes extends far beyond its direct victims, insidiously tearing apart families and shattering societies for generations to come.”

Help Sought for Study on Stress
Among Staff Working with Survivors

The website has an interview with Kara Davey, a trainee clinical psychologist in the U.K. She is researching the emotional impact on staff of working with refugees and asylum-seekers, many of them torture survivors, and is seeking volunteers to participate in a survey. Her questionnaire is available online  or you can get a hard copy by email: “Anyone who provides practical support to asylum seekers or refugees is eligible to take part,” Davey notes, “regardless of whether this support is during one-off consultations or ongoing casework.”

Holding Rights Violators Accountable:
the Center for Justice and Accountability

California Progress Report has an excellent article on the work of San Francisco’s Center for Justice and Accountability, “the only U.S.-based accountability organization dedicated to bringing human rights cases against individual human rights abusers who have sought a safe haven in the United States,” according to its Director, attorney Pamela Merchant. “Our mission is to represent torture survivors and family members who have suffered human rights abuses.” It was CJA which successfully sued Chile’s Armando Fernandez Larious for torture, crimes against humanity, and murder in connection with the “Caravan of Death,” during the Pinochet dictatorship, winning a 4-million dollar verdict against him in a Florida court. (See our recent post, “Copiapó: Sadness Amid Celebration.)

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