Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 15:00 to 15:20 Download Presentation

Right to rehabilitation: Lessons learned and lessons to be learned in post-conflict environment in Croatia

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Ms. Zdenka Pantic ( Rehabilitation Center for Stress and Trauma Zagreb - Croatia )


The Rehabilitation Center for Stress and Trauma (RCT) Zagreb, Croatia has provided rehabilitation to torture victims since 1993, working with internally displaced persons and refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina in war/s 1991 to 1995. The centre takes a holistic approach to rehabilitation, research (evaluation of treatment outcomes), education and networking, as well as reflecting on the contextual impact on rehabilitation. During our work, there have been several thousand victims with different ethnic, religious and cultural background that received our assistance.


We will give a short presentation of research data about the long-term effects of trauma among war-related torture victims, and an evaluation of therapy and contextual influence will be shown: 10 years after inflicted trauma (EU funded project The STOP, Study on Treatment behaviour and Outcomes of Treatment in People with PTSD following conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia, polycentric study on 520 persons, 2003-2006). Clinical data will be presented on 15 torture victims from the civil war (without rehabilitation) involved in legal processes seeking justice or compensation in Croatia and their rehabilitation needs from ongoing project EU funded project Path to Reconciliation. This project involves five partner centres in Europe, targeting in total 160 clients and their families.

The problems in accessing right to rehabilitation in Croatia among war-related torture victims and especially problems caused by impunity will be illustrated through short case presentation (atrocities, consequences, lack of rehabilitation and lack of justice). The challenges in implementing the right to rehabilitation will be illustrated by networking with other human rights organisation and educating the public sector (police, social welfare system, attempts to influence public health).


The STOP project showed there is a significant difference between treatment seeking and control group in general psychopathology (BSI scale): 10 years after trauma torture victims were still highly traumatized. The course of the psychotherapy was strongly affected by the current stressors in life. Significant improvement in therapy was found for the war-related civil victims, mostly associated with the first part of the therapy. In the project, Path to Reconciliation - RCT assists 15 torture victims seeking justice: Psychological support was provided before, during after war crime trials. The witnesses showed a high level of traumatization and suffering, not only due to the nature of the trauma but also to the nature of legal process and lack of political will to address these problems. The result is that the experience worsening of their health, retraumatisation, poverty, anxiety and PTSD symptoms, hopelessness, and a lack of trust to the work of the judiciary  institutions.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

All of the projects reported here are funded through EU, different international funds and programmes. We cherish a strong professional and ethic attitude.

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