RIGHT TO REHABILITATION PRIVA ECUADOR LEBANON – JUNE/2013
According to Article 1 of the 2008 Constitution, ”Ecuador is a constitutional State of rights and justice, social, democratic, sovereign, independent, unitary, intercultural, plurinationaland secular.
From 1984 to 2008, the Truth Commission registered 118 cases, from which many are collective cases, with a total of 456 victims for six types of violations of human rights, on which its work focused: 269 victims of illegal deprivation of liberty, 365 victims of torture, 86 victims of sexual violence, 17 victims of enforced disappearance, 68 victims of extrajudicial killing, and 26 victims of attempt on life.
POPULATION DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY 22.000 PERSONS INCIDENCE OF TORTURE 50% 60% OF THE POPULATION DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY IS LOCATED IN THE CITIES OF QUITO AND GUAYAQUIL
Ecuador is the country in South America with the highest number of refugees. They are approximately 250.000 but only 57.000 of them have a refugee status. 98% are Colombian refugees, from which some are victims of torture, survivors of massacres and survivors of extrajudicial killings. 60% of Colombian refugees are found in the cities of Quito, Guayaquil and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas.
BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL ASSISTANCE Medical assistance to victims of torture have the objective of diminishing and/or eliminate pain, increase their functional level and diminish physical sequels. Medical attention is permanent because, on the top ofsymptoms caused by torture, victims, while deprived of their liberty, contract prison’s illnesses or the illnesses they had before detention worsen as a consequence of overcrowding and/or because of the low level of natural defence due to depression.
PSYCHOLOGY Individual therapy: it aims at promoting processes of voidance and get past trauma, depression and anxiety; processing the sorrow of loss of liberty, family members and relatives that it involves, as well as reform one’s life project. Group therapy: it’s a space where victims have the opportunity to share the traumatic experiences they underwent with others. The groups are formed based on common aspects, such as the impact of torture, empathy and trust levels that allows them to express thoughts and emotions freely.
SOCIAL ASSISTANCE • The objective of social assistance is to re-establish family links through its location, and at the same time encourage them to work together in order to restore their family and social network as an active part of victims’ process of recovery. • Contribute to teach and strengthen rights that help victims to avoid re-victimisation processes. • Establish a coordination between public and private institutions that bring social assistance in order to minimise the effects of stigma and exclusion that causes shackles on victims’ family members, obtain support in aspects of health, education, work and criminal defence that contribute to building a social space in which the victim will reinsert when he/she recovers his/her liberty.
TREATMENT EVALUATION • Level of pain • Level of anxiety • Level of depression We find it difficult to use other types of scale since they are not standardised to be used in our country.
DOCUMENTATION CASES OF TORTURE In PRIVA’smonitoring on torture, it was found that a lot of torture victims, because of the seriousness of their injuries, are attended at the emergency unit of public hospitals or are taken for assessment prior to their admission into prison. It is necessary to point out that these institutions do not have forensic experts and that they are, in general, last year students. Moreover, a majority of universities have withdrawn the subject of forensic expertise from their curriculum. These factors explain why documentation lacks essential elements, as you can see from the following torture case in Ecuador admitted by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2010. Itstates: “On torture, Ecuador responds basing itself on the reports prepared by the Superior Court of Guayaquil and affirms that there is no procedural record of the constitution of the alleged treatments against Norberto Contreras.” According to Ecuadorian defence presented by the State Attorney General, the lacerations on extremities and genital organs, “would never be proven, since the medical certificates did not specify their origin because they did not have clear evidence in this respect”.
Constitution of the Republic ofEcuador Art. 89 The action of habeas corpus aims at recovering one’s liberty, when he/she has been deprived of liberty illegally, arbitrarily, or illegitimately, by an order from a member of public authority or any other person, as well as protecting the life and physical integrity of persons deprived of their liberty… In case any form of torture, inhuman or degrading treatments occurs, the victim’s liberty will be regulated, a holistic and specialised attention will be provided and alternative measures to deprivation of liberty set-up, when applicable…
PROJECT: HOLISTIC PENAL CODE Art. 46Full reparation.- Full reparation includes: • Restoration of the violated right to its state prior to the commission of the reprehensible act; • Compensation of damages and prejudices; • Rehabilitation through providing adapted services, such as medical services, social or family support, psychological or psychiatric care; and, • Means of recognition, public apologies or publication of sentences through different means than the ordinary ones.
Academia is invited to give a response to this social reality, in congruence with the development of science and technology, validating tools and national and international instruments that facilitate the universalization of the technical language, the valuation of victims and that generate health policies and indicators. To influence undergraduate university curriculums, this proposal will strengthen public policy and will encourage the creation of inter and multi-disciplinary protocols and inter-institutions of attention and will improve the short term capacity of national response.
One of the most relevant symptoms of our contemporary society is, without any doubt, the phenomenon of violence. It increases every day, it spreads everywhere, it diversifies and, even without being implemented, it is present like a shadow that threatens our daily existence (Silvia Ons).
BUILDING NATIONAL REHABILITATION CAPACITY
COMPROMISES After a process of sensitisation and awareness raising on the issue, the representatives of the universities committed to add forensic medicine, forensic psychology – in which internally recognised protocols such as the Istanbul Protocol are included – into their curriculum and to make these topics compulsory in doctors’, psychologists’, and lawyers’ training, as well as to increase their working hours.
In 1998, the map of torture in Ecuador established that 70% of torture was committed on persons deprived of liberty and that it occurred during the process of police investigation.
LESSONS LEARNT • PRIVAFoundation’s limited capacity in providing services of holistic attention to victims of torture has generated a necessity to establish strategic alliances in order to develop the local capacity for treatment that enables to expand the coverage. • Health professionals’ sensitisation, awareness-raising, and training on the Istanbul Protocol and on the rehabilitation of torture victims have converted them into knowledge spreading agents in terms of capacity to provide assistance to victims and their families.
Physical torture prevails on psychological torture but, in general, there is a coextistence between both. Physical torture prevails for persons accused of crimes against property and psychological torture for persons accused of crimes against the law on narcotics and psychotropic substances. • The detainees with a low level of education, in extreme poverty or critical poverty aged from 18 to 35 year-old are those against whom most frecuentely torture is committed.
There is a lack of knowledge and low awareness on torture and pain (psychological and physical) suffered by victims, due to the “culture of ill-treatment”. Many victims consider the endured punishment as “normal”. They do not demand their rights be respected, neither do they ask for assistance from doctors, psychologists and social workers for their recovery. • The Sentence Execution Code and its regulations state: “any inmate, when entering the social rehabilitation centre (prison), should be physically and psychologically examined and a file should be opened”. This requirement is not fulfilled in practice.
The establishment of a critical dialogue between PRIVA and public and private State institutions aims at making torture victims’ rehabilitation a part of public health policy in Ecuador.
TREATMENT CAPACITY In 1998, we have found that 68 NGOs were carrying out volunteer prison work, from which 2 only were providing services to victims of torture in the city of Quito.
15 YEARS AFTER CONDUCTING THE INVESTIGATION “MAP OF TORTURE IN ECUADOR”, AND AFTER MAKING A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE RESULTS ENCOUNTERED AND THE CURRENT SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY, WE FIND THAT THIS STUDY IS FULLY APPLICABLE.
IN ECUADOR, THE TUNGURAHUA VOLCANO IS IN ERUPTION SINCE 1999. INHABITANTS OF SURROUNDING AREAS HAVE LEARNT TO SURVIVE WITH THIS THREAT. SIMILARLY, OUR ORGANISATIONS HAVE TO MODIFY THEIR STRATEGIES IN ORDER TO MAKE THE HOLISTIC REHABILITATION OF TORTURE VICTIMS A REALITY. THANK YOU.