Psychosocial interventions and children's rights: Beyond clinical discourse.
01 Mar 2002-Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.)-Vol. 8, Iss: 1, pp 47-61
Summary (2 min read)
Jump to: [Publisher statement:] – [A psychological analysis of the Rwandan genocide] – [A critical analysis of psychosocial interventions] – [Implications of the trauma model] – [Role of the Convention on the Rights of the Child] and [Conclusion]
- “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal.
- Information on how to cite items within roar@uel: http://www.uel.ac.uk/roar/openaccess.htm#Citing.
- To appear in: Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology Feb 2002 Psychosocial interventions and children’s rights: Beyond clinical discourse Angela Veale, Ph. D., Department of Applied Psychology, National University of Ireland, Cork, Ireland.
A psychological analysis of the Rwandan genocide
- Before attempting to understand the contribution of psychosocial programs for children in Rwanda, it is important to understand the local context in which intervention operates.
- With independence and the 1959 social revolution, power was violently switched from the Tutsi to the hands of the Hutus From 1961 to 1964, Tutsi refugees launched guerrilla assaults from Rwanda’s borders.
- In the Rwandan context, where social power is dealt with secretly e.g. akazu (inner political circle, family) and is not necessarily verbalized (Rukebesha, 1985), this facilitated genocide to occur (Uvin, 1998).
Implications of the trauma model
- ‘Trauma’ therefore has been a dominant psychological discourse in Rwanda.
- The National Trauma Center was overseen by an inter-ministerial committee composed of representatives of various Ministries, and it is currently managed within the Ministry of Health.
- Trauma approaches sit comfortably with the dominant narrative of genocide, victim and survivor, widows and orphans, and the political consolidation of this as the Rwandan identity in international circles.
- Arguably, trauma approaches, in the absence of an analysis of their political embeddedness, identify with and perpetuate a narrative that does not necessarily promote unity, reintegration and reconciliation.
- Yet there has been no advocacy for the children of the 90,000 detained parents who have the obligation of taking food to the prison but no contact is allowed, thus this relationship has effectively ceased to function.
Role of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
- There is some tensions between principles of the Convention and the positioning of the child in Rwandan culture.
- While psychological needs are perceived to have their locus in the internal psychological world of the child, a rights focus makes psychological rights indivisible from economic, political, social and cultural rights (Reichenberg & Friedman, 1996).
- Even within family contexts, power and status is linked to opportunity and resources, and not all children have equal status, as Rwandan proverbs on the orphan child attest to.
- Psychologists have begun to play a role in the emerging arena of reconciliation work.
- This article has analyzed psychosocial responses for children in Rwanda in the aftermath of ethno-political violence, and it has attempted to situate psychosocial work within the wider political and social context.
- There has been an unreflective focus on women and children, rather than men and adolescent boys, who arguably are more politically threatening.
- Interventions have been unreflective of local knowledge and understanding.
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child challenges child oriented psychosocial interventions to move from a needs to a rights based analysis, and it provides a framework for psychologists to articulate the contribution of psychologically informed analysis in the arena of humanitarian assistance.
- More challenging, it forces psychologists to situate their own knowledge in a broader economic, social cultural, and political perspective.
Did you find this useful? Give us your feedback
ROAR, the University of East London Institutional Repository: http://roar.uel.ac.uk
This paper is made available online in accordance with publisher policies. Please
scroll down to view the document itself. Please refer to the repository record for this
item and our policy information available from the repository home page for further
To see the final version of this paper please visit the publisher’s website.
Access to the published version may require a subscription.
Author(s): Angela Veale and Giorgia Donà
Article Title: Psychosocial Interventions and Children’s Rights: Beyond Clinical
Year of publication: 2002
Citation: Veale, A. and Donà, G. (2002) Psychosocial Interventions and Children’s
Rights: Beyond Clinical Discourse’. Peace & Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology,
8(1), pp. 47-61.
Link to published version:
“This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA
journal. It is not the copy of record.”
Information on how to cite items within roar@uel: