The arrival of the first deadline and its promise of an amazing HRE guide

It has not even been a week since we left Oslo and our first deadline has arrived! This week we have focused on workshops and I can reveal that they are very innovative yet they give the tools needed to be a great activist and the knowledge to feel confident working on the STOP Torture campaign.

I am so excited about the quality of the guide and we are just entering our second week! It is truly amazing to see this development and I hope you guys will follow the blog so we can share it with all of you! In our guide, we have chosen to include how to evaluate and debrief on activities because we feel it is one of the most important things if you want to learn from a workshop.

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As I sit today on the day of the first deadline, I think back on a workshop we did on our last day in Oslo: The trial of Claudia Medina Tamariz. She is fighting for an investigation to be opened into the torture she suffered while in detention and to receive proper medical examination . All charges were dropped on August 13, 2012, except for the charge of carrying an illegal weapon. She is released on bail but still has court hearings to attend and a verdict to await. Our amazing facilitators spent the morning creating this activity for us where we had to act out the first court hearing in Claudia’s case. We all got different roles randomly assigned: Prosecutor, Defense, Judge, Journalist, representative of Amnesty International or representative of Mothers Against Arms.

IMG_3379The workshop was a great example of why you need to debrief: Before the      activity we heard Claudia’s experience as a torture victim in her own words and we were all very touched by it and by the injustice she suffered. We, as participants, got so touched that we got all caught up in thinking about the torture that we forgot the main purpose of the activity. Acting out the case did not only teach us to create solid arguments and to become familiar with Claudia’s case – it also reminded us that even if she had carried an illegal weapon, which was what the court hearing was about, she did not deserve to be tortured. It is a human right not to be tortured and we have to remember that we are all human beings. The conclusion of our evaluation was that next time, the personal story of the victim should come after the workshop, as a part of the debriefing, to set things in perspective. Of course it is vital to know the circumstances but it is very different to read an account of an event and a person’s feelings about the event. I think it was very rewarding that the workshop did not turn out the way it was supposed to, because it reminded us of the importance of a debrief and reminded us that torture is not about the result or the verdict, it is about the process – a process that does not care about humanity or human rights. No one should experience torture, which is why we want to stand together with all of you to STOP TORTURE!

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I hope you will all follow our work and help us spread the knowledge of the STOP Torture campaign.
We have a chance to say NO to torture – together!

Godnat alle sammen!

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You can read about Claudia and her case here:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/claudia-medina-tamariz-stop-torture-mexico#.U3kZjOvGZO8

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