Category: Conference

My Mind is Not Like Before: Psychosocial Rehabilitation of Refugee Victims of Torture and Other Forms of Ill treatment in Athens

The dual trauma inherent in being both a victim of torture as well a refugee is related to a myriad of losses, human rights violations and other dimensions of suffering linked not only to torture experienced pre-migration, but experienced during and after migration as well.

Despite the high prevalence of PTSD noted among this population, there have been significant concerns raised in the literature over the relevance and cross-ˇcultural validity of this psychiatric diagnosis. In order to i) explore culturally informed perspectives on trauma from an individual, qualitative perspective and ii) track trajectories of psychosocial rehabilitation in relation to environmental factors, we present the results of 12 months of research among asylum seekers and refugees in a center for victims of torture in Athens, managed by Médecins Sans Frontières and Babel. Legal, political and cultural factors are explored.

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Sexual Torture and Health – a culture- and gender-critical perspective

Migrants who have been tortured represent a particularly vulnerable group amongst refugees. Many of them have also been subject to sexual torture, an area that has been scarcely covered in academic literature to date. In this paper, I intend to demonstrate that while it may be true that physical and sexual violence during torture are difficult to decouple, they carry dissimilarities in their health impact and consequences for the individual and community. For this purpose, 1) I started by setting the context and evaluating the key issues in the ongoing debate on Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as an explanatory model for the experience of torture survivors. 2) Then I turned to an exploration of gendered and embodied self that is at the core of sexual torture. It was argued that suffering is inflicted at the intersection of gender, culture and politics. Sexual torture in particular targets the sexuality and identity of an individual and the sense of a coherent self. It attacks the totality and integrity of the personhood; it aims to humiliate and disintegrate. 3) Lastly, I underpinned these arguments by presenting preliminary data from my qualitative health research on sexual torture in the UK

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Ethical dilemmas in mental health care for asylums seekers

Asylum seekers are a specific group of patients in mental health. Mental health care providers can get caught up in ethical dilemmas when providing care for asylum seekers.

Ethical dilemmas are defined as constructions in which different values are at stake. The classical formulation of ethical dilemmas as doing good, doing no harm, respect autonomy and justice has been broadened to include values of –for example- solidarity and compassion.

There are societal differences in the role of health care provision in legal procedures of asylum seekers. This presentation is based on research in the Netherlands where the continuation of medical treatment can be a reason to grant an asylum seeker some extra time; medical urgencies in itself don’t lead to a permit to stay. A conflict of interests arises when medical inform

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