Crossing cultures and rehabilitation: voices from Argentina

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two blogs on the Latin American Regional Seminar, which took place in Quito, Ecuador a few weeks ago. Read the first one here. Here, IRCT member Equipo Argentino de Trabajo e Investigación Psicosocial (EATIP) of Argentina speaks about the work – and the challenges — of rehabilitating indigenous victims of torture in Latin America.

Representatives of torture rehabilitation centres conduct workshops at the Latin America regional meeting held in Quito, Ecuador.

Representatives of torture rehabilitation centres conduct workshops at the Latin America regional meeting held in Quito, Ecuador.

We want to share our views on torture rehabilitation in the multicultural environment in Argentina, as discussed at the 16th Regional Meeting of the Latin American network of institutions working against torture.

Argentina has a hegemonic culture related to the flood of European migrants from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. This culture often does not include the perspectives of the native populations, aggravated by political and administrative centralism. Equipo Argentino de Trabajo e Investigación Psicosocial (EATIP) gives priority to social class factors, including also ethnic and gender factors.

eatip

The Latin America regional network is giving more attention to violation of indigenous people rights, especially related to the protection of their territories due to exploitation of natural resources (mining, oil, etc.), cultivation of soya, etc., in which important corporative interests are at the stake. Other characteristics of this problematic situation are the social polarization and confrontation between groups and members in the communities due to co-optation by governments.

For interventions with these groups, we used community-based approaches. For psychosocial interventions in those cases, specific training of professionals is needed. At the present, the economic difficulties that EATIP and other centres in the region are facing impede the continuity of these activities. EATIP has assisted migrant groups from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, who live in slums called “Villas Miserias”; and African youths and political refugees.

In the 16th Regional Meeting of the Latin American members of IRCT and allied organisations, our centres identified that the inter-cultural factors have strong significance that enrich our work.

By Dr Mariana Lagos and Mr Ely Stacco, Clinical and Psychosocial Area, EATIP, Argentina

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