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Providing comprehensive support to people affected by armed conflict and grave human rights violations

Armed conflicts, grave human rights violations, and experiences of violence or traumatic loss severely affect the psychological and mental health of individuals, sometimes causing psychological traumas. In such conditions, trauma becomes a normal reaction of the human psyche to extreme conditions.


Even if victims have the opportunity to turn to human rights groups for legal assistance, more often than not they are unable to get the help they need to address their emotional and psychological problems. They are often left to process their grief, loss, fears, anxieties, panic attacks, and other consequences of trauma alone.


Psychological traumas caused by conflict seriously affect the quality of individual’s lives, deteriorating their health and life expectancy, and have consequences for their families and the societies they are a part of.  In some contexts, the importance of psychological help in times of acute crises and after suffering human rights violations is increasingly recognized. However, in other regions (for example, the Russian North Caucasus) the need for individuals and entire communities to receive psychosocial help in situations of acute crisis is underestimated. At the same time, in their work with affected individuals, psychologists often insufficiently recognize the need to find redress and resolve the social or political problems that caused their traumatization. 


This roundtable will discuss the psychosocial support needs of individuals affected by current and past violence, armed conflicts, and acute crises, and assess the need for greater mutual integration of psychological help with the work of human rights and other non-government organizations, as well as challenges associated with such integration.


During the discussion, our guest speakers will share their experiences of human rights and psychological work in Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Iraq, Lebanon and with people affected by Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They will analyse the synergies between legal/human rights work and psychological support and will discuss which mechanisms can protect psychologists, human rights defenders, and volunteers from acute secondary traumatization. The roundtable participants will have the opportunity to pose questions to those who work amid the traumatic events of today or were on the forefronts of past political crises.  

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