The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (TRC) is a non-governmental, not–for-profit and independent organization that mainly works in the field of providing medical, psychiatric and psychosocial services to survivors of politically motivated torture and organized violence in the Palestinian territory, in addition to activities related to fostering Human Rights through Training, Advocacy and Research. It is considered a human rights organization with focus on mental health issues especially for those suffering from the ongoing conflict in the area.
Established in the year 1997, TRC came as a response to the human rights abuses perpetrated in the Palestinian context regardless to the identity or reasons of the perpetrator and the victims. Since then, it has gradually expanded its work and activities to include training, public awareness, research, crisis intervention and prevention of torture activities. TRC realizes the importance of both international and local networking with counterpart worldwide and local organizations through forming and joining coalitions, and engaging in understanding agreements with partners.
The ongoing occupation by Israel continues to inflict multi-facet violence on the Palestinian society. Unfortunately, as the Palestinian society is continuously exposed to a systematic practice of violence, the use of force became an alternative to the dialogue and to more peaceful solutions. TRC observed that not only the phenomenon of violence is increasing each year, but that it is slowly changing from a phenomenon to a social culture as well. Thereby violence extends to including new sectors of society, as for example school violence, physical violence, oral violence and political violence.
Although conflict-related mental health problems exist among Palestinian detainees their families, the socio-economic effects are far-reaching and have the potential to impact greater communities. If untreated, victims from the conflict often demonstrate a wide range of psychiatric disorders and/or psychological problems, mainly depression, anxiety disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which can affect how these individuals interact with their families and community members, leading to adverse complications in all aspects of public and private life which ultimately results in poor quality performance and inability to push the community development forward.
In principle, TRC works to reduce both the traumatic and devastating physical and psychological consequences of torture, politically motivated violence and any associated retaliatory behavior by offering victims and their families’ comprehensive medical, psychiatric and psychosocial care and their families across the West Bank, particularly in marginalized areas utilizing a team of multi disciplinary psychosocial and medical experts, including therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists with specialized training in Human Rights and Democracy. It is worth noting that a lot of investment has been put into the team that nowadays TRC team is internationally certified and accredited in EMDR treatment technique (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy model) and Narrative Therapy as well. In addition, TRC works on preventing and combating torture, violence and impunity, and Human Rights issues through training, research and advocacy. Furthermore, training particularly for the Law enforcement agencies has been one of our core programs throughout the years.
TRC is often the only available resource for the mental health care of victims of the conflict in marginalized areas of the West Bank, which are most vulnerable to the on-going violence, incursions, house demolitions, families of martyrs, families of detainees and ex-detainees, closures, curfews, sieges and systematic economic strangulation. TRC has a high reputation and is highly respected among the community, partners, scientific organizations and the governmental bodies. TRC had partnership with high-ranking agencies such as the European Commission and had, along the years, received very high ranking and reports in transparency and accountability. To this end, TRC ensures that the accounts and annually audited and published by one of the biggest international auditing forms, Moreover, at least once every three years, TRC ensures to conduct a comprehensive evaluation for its programs in addition to the annual various assessments from it donor partners and third parties as well.
In addition to its main headquarters in Ramallah city, TRC is now running other three branches in Jenin, Nablus and Hebron.
The primary beneficiary group – ex-detainees who have suffered degrading and dehumanizing abuse, and their immediate families – represents a fragile, high-risk target population with deep-seated trauma and complex needs. Designing and implementing appropriate, customized systems of treatment and support poses an enormously complex challenge. Meeting this challenge has been at the forefront of the organization’s efforts, and has absorbed the great bulk of TRC’s institutional resources.
In realizing its mission and objectives, TRC operates three distinct programs as follows:
FIRST PROGRAM: THE TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION PROGRAM:
The most vulnerable population of Victims of Torture and Organized Violence and their families receive the essential treatment and rehabilitation services delivered based on scientific methods and relevant to the Palestinian culture within a multi-disciplinary team approach and Performance and Evaluation Systems.
Main activities include: individual psychological session, group therapy, family therapy, psychiatric session and provision of medicine, summer camps for children and vocational rehabilitation. It is worth noting that all activities are especially tailored to target women and children.
SECOND PROGRAM: ADVOCACY AND PUBLIC AWARENESS:
A non-violent culture that fights torture and organized violence, caring and promoting their needs and rights is promoted in the West Bank though increasing the awareness of a great number of Palestinian citizens of the negative consequences of torture from a combined perspective of mental health and human rights, setting the prevention of torture and the needs of torture survivors on the national agenda through lobbying Politicians and decision makers. TRC is well networked, locally, regionally and internationally, where the rights of victims of torture and the fight against torture are globalized.
The main activities include: public awareness workshops, media campaign, holding conferences on special occasions, commemorating local and international events, awareness workshops targeting the police, and media efforts in general.
THIRD PROGRAM: CAPACITY BUILDING, RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION:
Knowledge and Information pertaining to Victims of Torture are produced, generated and disseminated to all concerned parties, and there exist individuals and institutions capable to respond to the needs of Victims of Torture through conducting specialized studies and research pertaining to community mental health and human rights, documenting Torture and Victims of Torture testimonies, enhancing the capacity (knowledge, skills and attitudes) of relevant Individuals and Organizations and enabling them respond to the needs of Victims of Tortures and their families.
Recently, due to various international and regional reasons particularly the economic crisis, Arab Spring and changes in donors political agenda, the issues of ex-detainees and mental health is no longer a main priority and interest for many donor agencies. Consequently, there has been a significant reduction of the funds received starting from the year 2012. TRC is obliged to minimize its services through downsizing the number of personnel and branches to meet the available budget in such difficult times where the ex-detainees and TRC’s marginalized target group are in most need for our interventions and the conflict is escalating on several axes. It is worth noting that such a group amounts to 30% of the general population.
TRC management is working diligently to face this situation through management plans that respond to the available resources and maintains quality in addition to reaching out various potential donors to secure financial support to TRC services. The threat of halting is looming beyond September 2012 if no additional support to TRC budget is secures.
TRC is honored to present itself to you and wishes that you could support our efforts to promote our role as a humanitarian organization, and to accumulate the international effort to combat torture and all kinds of human rights violations committed against Palestinians.
For further information and donation, please contact us at:
Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC)
Al-Irsal Street – Al-Masa building -3rd floor
Telephone: +970 2 2963932, +970 2 2961710
Fax: 0970 2 298 9123