Close Encounters. Stories from the frontline of human rights work in Nepal
2010, pp. xx+228
ISBN: 978 9937 8266 1 7
“It is essential reading for us all: a history of this brutalized land”. Manjushree Thapa, author of “Forget Kathmandu”.
During Nepal’s armed conflict and its aftermath, human rights violations not only scarred and destroyed the victims but had a devastating effect on the lives of human rights defenders.
In stories and pictures, ten human rights lawyers describe the fear, the anger and the helplessness they experienced on being confronted with the trauma of their clients and the impunity for the perpetrators. The stories starkly reveal how alone and alienated the authors often felt, battling a tense and demanding work environment amid threats to their lives, while at home they found themselves too emotionally numb to participate in their own family lives.
Barbara Weyermann´s commentary helps us to understand the psychosocial dimension of the human rights defenders’ experiences, while drawing parallels between their deeply personal stories and the experience of many who work with and support victims of political violence all over the world.
Barbara Weyermann is a development practitioner, who has specialised in designing, coaching and evaluating psychosocial projects. She has worked in Nepal on and off for over 16 years for UNICEF, Terre des hommes and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Since 2003, she has been a consultant, associated with the Office for Psychosocial Issues in Berlin, working in Bosnia, the Great Lakes Region in Africa, Gaza and Algeria. She co-authored Gender, Conflict Transformation and the Psychosocial Approach, a toolkit to help agencies in conflict and post-conflict areas integrate psychosocial concerns in their humanitarian and development programmes.