Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1280–1286 | Cite as

Exposure to Traumatic Experiences Among Asylum Seekers from Eritrea and Sudan During Migration to Israel

  • Ora Nakash
  • Benjamin Langer
  • Maayan Nagar
  • Shahar Shoham
  • Ido Lurie
  • Nadav Davidovitch
Brief Communication

Abstract

Little is known about the experiences of displaced individuals en route to destination countries. We investigated the reported prevalence of exposure to traumatic experiences during migration among a consecutive sample of adult asylum seekers (n = 895 Eritrean, n = 149 Sudanese) who sought health services in the Physicians for Human Rights Open-Clinic in Israel. Percentage of Eritrean and Sudanese men and women who reported witnessing violence (Eritrea: men: 41.3 %, women: 29.3 %; Sudan: men: 16.8 %, women: 22.2 %) and/or being a victim of violence (Eritrea: men: 56.0 %, Women: 34.9 %; Sudan: men: 51.9 % women: 44.4 %) during migration varied by gender and country of origin. Findings highlight the need for a well-coordinated international cooperation to document and prevent these transgressions.

Keywords

Asylum-seeker Exposure to trauma Eritrea Israel Mental health Sudan 

Notes

Conflict of interest

None.

References

  1. 1.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and its 1967 protocol. 2001. http://www.unhcr.org.hk/files/useful_resources/Important_documents/Benefits_of_accession_to_the_Convention.pdf. Accessed 1 July 2011.
  2. 2.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Global trends 2011. 2011. http://www.unhcr.org. Accessed 22 August 2013.
  3. 3.
    Moshe N. Health services to foreign workers and undocumented migrants in Isreal. 2013. http://www.knesset.gov.il/mmm/data/pdf/m03198.pdf. Accessed 6 Sept 2013.
  4. 4.
    Tiong A, Patel MS, Gardiner J, Ryan R, Linton KS, Walker KA, et al. Health issues in newly arrived African refugees attending general practice clinics in Melbourne. Med J Aust. 2006;185:602–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Infante C. Idrovo AJ, Sánchez-Domínguez MS, Vinhas S, González-Vázquez T: violence committed against migrants in transit: Experiences on the northern Mexican border. J Immigr Minor Health. 2012;14:449–59.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Porter M, Haslam N. Predisplacement and postdisplacement factors associated with mental health of refugees and internally displaced persons. JAMA J Am Med Assoc. 2005;294:602–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Finklestein M, Solomon Z. Cumulative trauma, PTSD and dissociation among Ethiopian refugees in Israel. J Trauma Dissociation. 2009;10:38–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dolma S, Singh S, Lohfeld L. Orbinski JJ, Mills EJ: Dangerous journey: documenting the experience of Tibetan refugees. Am J Public Health. 2006;96:2061–4.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jaycox LH, Stein BD, Kataoka SH, Wong M, Fink A, Escudero P, et al. Violence exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depressive symptoms among recent immigrant schoolchildren. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2002;41:1104–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lurie I. Psychiatric care in restricted conditions for work migrants, refugees and asylum seekers: experience of the open clinic for work migrants and refugees, Israel. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2009;46:172–81.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hooberman JB, Rosenfeld B, Lhewa D, Rasmussen A, Keller A. Classifying the torture experiences of refugees living in the United States. J Interpers Violence. 2007;22:108–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Nakash O, Wiesent-Brandsma C, Reist S, Nagar M. The contribution of gender-role orientation to psychological distress among male African asylum-seekers in Israel. J Immigr Refug Stud. 2013;11:78–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nakash O, Nagar M, Shoshani A, Zubida H. Harper RA: The effect of acculturation and discrimination on mental health symptoms and risk behaviors among adolescent migrants in Israel. Cult Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2012;18:228–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bhabha J. Demography and rights: women, children and access to asylum. Int J Refugee Law. 2004;16:227–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pickering S. Women, violence and borders. London: Springer; 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Spijkerboer T. Gender and refugee status. Aldershot: Ashgate; 2000.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Beswick S. “If you leave your country you have no life!” Rape, suicide, and violence: the voices of Ethiopian, Somali, and Sudanese female refugees in Kenyan refugee camps. Northeast Afr Stud. 2001;8:69–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Khawaja NG, White KM, Schweitzer R, Greenslade J. Difficulties and coping strategies of Sudanese refugees: a qualitative approach. Transcult Psychiatry. 2008;45:489–512.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Turner S. Angry young men in camps: gender, age and class relations among Burundian refugees in Tanzania. Geneva: UNHCR; 1999.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Szczepanikova A. Gender relations in a refugee camp: a case of Chechens seeking asylum in the Czech Republic. J Refug Stud. 2005;18:281–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Crisp J. A state of insecurity: the political economy of violence in Kenya’s refugee camps. Afr Aff. 2000;99:601–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gerard A, Pickering S: Gender, securitization and transit: refugee women and the journey to the EU. J Refug Stud 2013.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pickering S, Gerard A. The journey to the border: Continuums of crossing. In: Pickering S, editor. Women, borders and violence. London: Springer; 2011. p. 17–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tolin DF, Foa EB. Sex differences in trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder: a quantitative review of 25 years of research. Psychol Bull. 2006;132:959–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Olff M, Langeland W, Draijer N. Gersons BP: Gender differences in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychol Bull. 2007;133:183–204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tronvoll K. The lasting struggle for freedom in Eritrea: Human rights and political development, 1991–2009. 2009. http://www.jus.uio.no/smr/forskning/publikasjoner/boker/2009/docs/Eritrea-the-lasting-struggle-for-freedom_2009.pdf. Accessed 1 Mar 2014.
  27. 27.
    Connell D. Escaping Eritrea—Why they flee and what they face. Middle East Rep. 2012;264:2–9.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Furst-Nichols R, Jacobsen K. African refugees in Israel. Forced Migr Rev. 2011;37:55–6.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Reynolds S. Hope on hold: African asylum seekers in Israel. 2013 http://refugeesinternational.org/policy/field-report/hope-hold-african-asylum-seekers-israel. Accessed 4 Mar 2014.
  30. 30.
    Lijnders L. Caught in the borderlands: torture experienced, expressed, and remembered by Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel. Oxf Monit Forced Migr. 2012;2:64–76.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Human Rights Watch. “I wanted to lie down and die”: Trafficking and torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt. 2014. http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/egypt0214_ForUpload_1_0.pdf. Accessed 1 Mar 2014.
  32. 32.
    van Reisen M, Estefanos M, Rijken C. Human trafficking in the Sinai: Refugees between life and death. 2012. http://www.eepa.be/wcm/dmdocuments/publications/Report_Human_Trafficking_in_the_Sinai_Final_Web.pdf. Accessed 6 Sept 2013.
  33. 33.
    van Reisen M, Estefanos M, Rijken C. The human trafficking cycle: Sinai and beyond [Draft]. Oisterwijk: Wolf Legal Publishers; 2013.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Schubert CC, Punamäki R-L. Mental health among torture survivors: cultural background, refugee status and gender. Nord J Psychiatry. 2011;65:175–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Moisander PA, Edston E. Torture and its sequel—a comparison between victims from six countries. Forensic Sci Int. 2003;137:133–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Tempany M. What research tells us about the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Sudanese refugees: a literature review. Transcult Psychiatry. 2009;46:300–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Phillimore J. Refugees, acculturation strategies, stress and integration. J Soc Policy. 2011;40:575–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Nickerson A, Steel Z, Bryant R, Brooks R, Silove D. Change in visa status amongst Mandaean refugees: relationship to psychological symptoms and living difficulties. Psychiatry Res. 2011;187:267–74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Laban CJ, Gernaat HB, Komproe IH, Schreuders BA, De Jong JT. Impact of a long asylum procedure on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in Iraqi asylum seekers in The Netherlands. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2004;192:843–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Miller KE, Rasmussen A. War exposure, daily stressors, and mental health in conflict and post-conflict settings: bridging the divide between trauma-focused and psychosocial frameworks. Soc Sci Med. 2010;70:7–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Rasmussen A, Nguyen L, Wilkinson J, Vundla S, Raghavan S, Miller KE, et al. Rates and impact of trauma and current stressors among Darfuri refugees in Eastern Chad. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2010;80:227–36.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ora Nakash
    • 1
  • Benjamin Langer
    • 2
  • Maayan Nagar
    • 1
  • Shahar Shoham
    • 3
  • Ido Lurie
    • 4
    • 5
  • Nadav Davidovitch
    • 6
  1. 1.School of PsychologyInterdisciplinary Center (IDC) HerzliyaHerzliyaIsrael
  2. 2.Schulich School of Medicine and DentistryUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  3. 3.Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Open-ClinicJaffa-Tel AvivIsrael
  4. 4.Abarbanel Mental Health CenterBat-YamIsrael
  5. 5.Sackler School of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  6. 6.Department of Health Systems Management, Faculty of Helath SciencesBen Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

Personalised recommendations