Project wrapping up: Early detection of trauma in asylum seekers

The IRCT and partners of the PROTECT project are organising the final conference,  “Early identification of asylum seekers having suffered traumatic experiences” in Brussels today, 18 October.

By Nicholas of the Brussels liaison office of the IRCT.

A women waits for treatment at the Physicians for Human Rights Open Clinic for Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The PROTECT project will create a tool for early detection of trauma and torture of asylum seekers for the purposes of treatment and rehabilitation. Attribution to Physician for Human Rights - Israel, under Creative Commons, at Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

PROTECT stands for Process of Recognition and Orientation of Torture Victims in European Countries to facilitate Care and Treatment. Early identification of asylum seekers having suffered traumatic experiences or torture is a key issue for all organisations involved in the field of asylum in Europe.

According to EU legislation on receiving  asylum seekers, countries must take into account the specific situation in each case; such as persons who have been subjected to torture, rape or other forms of severe psychological, physical or sexual violence. The receiving countries  must ensure that such vulnerable persons receive the necessary treatment for damages caused by those acts. Those provisions shall apply only to persons recognised as having special needs, after an individual evaluation of their situation.

Despite the covert practice of torture, many health professionals and experts estimate that up to 35% of asylum seekers and refugees worldwide have been subjected to torture.

Since July 2010, the team of the PROTECT project has developed a tool and a process of early recognition of asylum seekers that have suffered traumatic experiences. This is based on the knowledge and experience of professionals from seven European organisations involved in the housing and psychological treatment of refugees. The project received support from the European Refugee Fund.

The final presentation of the project will take place in Brussels today, 18 October. We will update soon on the outcome of this meeting.

More details on the agenda and on how to register can be found here.

Nicholas has a background in politics and EU affairs, particularly in regards to immigration and asylum policies.

UPDATE: Editor’s Note: Nicholas has also informed me that Mr. Jérôme BOILLAT, Development Director Parcours d’Exil, an IRCT member centre, will be speaking at a hearing at the European Parliament Thursday, 20 October, on a common European asylum system. The meeting is open and will be live-streamed here.


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  1. Collaboration across Europe « World Without Torture
  2. Identifying torture survivors key for accessing rehabilitation « World Without Torture

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