Human Rights (Defenders) and Resilience: Reflections on Risk, Trauma, and Recovery
Moderator: Spyros Sofos, CMES
Organizers: Swedish research institute in Istanbul, Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Human Rights dept, LU.
On 5 July, 2017, Ali Gharavi, his fellow trainer Peter Steudtner, and eight Turkish Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) were detained by Turkish secret police following a raid of the workshop they were facilitating on holistic security and wellbeing in Büyükada, Istanbul. Subsequently, these ten HRDs became known on social media as the #Istanbul10; eight of whom spent the next four months in at least four different security facilities, including 2.5 months in Silivri Prison's high security campus #9 for dangerous terrorists.
Each of #Istanbul10 experienced their incarceration in a unique way, and the four months also heavily impacted the direct support structures around each HRD: namely their families. In Ali's case, Laressa Dickey (Ali's partner) together with Magdalena Freudenschuß, Peter's partner, and Dan O'Claunaigh (Ali and Peter’s colleague) established a crisis team in Berlin, (and were supported by members of Hivos, Kurve Wurstrow, CVT, among others). This team had at its center the objective of care: care for Ali and Peter in Prison, care for each other and the families of Ali and Peter affected by this injustice, care for relationships with various diplomatic and organizational actors, as well as securing the release of Ali, Peter, and the 8 Turkish defenders.
The talk will include storytelling in an informal workshop-like setting, followed by Q&A.
Ali Gharavi is a strategy consultant for NGOs, activists, and foundations working in the field of Human Rights and Technology. Ali has carried out or facilitated over 200 security trainings, strategy workshops and other consultancies for human rights defenders over the past 15 years, has been a key leader in the organizational security support community that aims to more holistically support human rights groups to adapt to the risks they face, and is a noted facilitator and 'industry' leader. He will be working to translate some of his experiences, and his networks’ experiences during his imprisonment in Turkey in 2017 to inform preparation and strategies for future unjust imprisonment of human rights defenders. Ali is also a writer. (We could include link to New Statesman article.)
Laressa Dickey is a writer who became an accidental human rights defender when her partner Ali was suddenly detained in Turkey. She's the author of several books including Twang, and is also a Craniosacral Therapist.