The CAPREC rehabilitation project (Centre Africain pour la Prévention et la Résolution des Conflits) started with the treatment of victims of the conflict in southern Senegal in 2001. The project receives a diverse group of African beneficiaries (1,700 beneficiaries of 24 nationalities in 2015), including 402 women victims of rape, some pregnant after rape or living with children born of rape. Ten Guinean women, victims of the 28 September 2009 violations by the Guinean Army at the Conakry stadium, were November 2009 referred to CAPREC by OHCHR Regional Office in Dakar, who had in turn been approached by a Guinean NGO.
CAPREC's assistance started with Istanbul Protocol assessments documenting torture suffered including: Beatings, including with rifle butts and with belts and sexual torture including forced public nudity, touching, gang rape, insertion of objects in the genitals, urination in the ears. These different types of torture caused physical injuries, such as traumatic wounds and dental injuries. Some of the victims were pregnant after rape. Psychologically, the cases had evolved from posttraumatic stress to major depression with suicidal thoughts. CAPREC offered the women psychological treatment, individual therapy, group therapy, relaxation exercises and focus group therapy, and referred to complex medical treatment. This will be described in more detail as part of the presentation. In December 2009 a delegation of the UN investigation mission into the events came to interview the victims and CAPREC's management team. After the visit a positive impact was observed in the women's renewed confidence in their security and a reassuring future.
Rehabilitation is a lengthy process that requires skilled and experienced human resources and financial means. The ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to rebuild a life shattered by the suffering related to torture and ill- treatment. Eight of the ten women accepted a voluntary return to their home country Guinea without fear or hatred because the therapy allowed them to overcome the trauma and forgive, and another reason is that president Dadis Camara left power in Guinea. The two others decided to seek asylum in Senegal or in a third country concerned for reasons or cultural and ethnic stigma. Legally, the ten complaints are followed in a grand coalition with other international human rights organizations to bring Guinean perpetrators to justice. We hope the presentation of this case can inspire discussions on approaches to cases of sexual torture including complex and difficult cases with pregnancies contracted after rape.
Funding & No Conflicts Declaration
We have received support from the emergency fund of the UNVFVT and of an embassy locally.