Policy Paper

Policy Paper

Nunca Más - International Network for Human Rights and Psycho-Social Response

Nunca Más is a human-rights-based development organization that strives to mitigate the consequences of severe human rights violations, such as collective violence (WHO definition from The World Report on Violence and Health, 2002).  The knowledge acquired during this work as well as the knowledge already acquired from our professional experience in the field, is used constructively to prevent further human rights violations in the populations in which we work. The work of Nunca Más is based on solidarity and professionalism, which means that NUNCA MAS co-operates with local partners in Latin America and Asia:

1. To support victims/survivors of human rights violations in entering an empowerment process and to help them cope more actively with their lives.

2. To change the conditions that perpetuate collective violence through various preventive strategies.

Even though a growing part of the world’s population over the last decades have obtained a higher living standard, collective violence is a substantial  problem that has dire consequences for the affected communities and individuals, as well as the society at large. The mental, physical and social consequences of these human rights violations can have a detrimental effect on the overall development of a society. Collective violence is a serious societal problem, particularly in countries with substantial inequalities. Many organizations work to alleviate poverty, but - considering the magnitude of the problem – not many work with the empowerment of victims/survivors of severe human rights violations combined with preventive strategies.  

The organizations presently working to mitigate the consequences of collective violence in developing countries have often adopted a narrow “western” professional approach, which in many cases does not match the local realities in the affected communities.  In addition to this, some organizations have adopted an approach based on solidarity with specific local populations that is often based on limited professional knowledge about evidence based practices in the field.

1. What is the purpose of Nunca Más?

NUNCA MAS’s purpose is to strive for the cessation of collective violence in the communities in which our local partners work. .

2. Who constitues Nunca Más?

Nunca Más’s members share the organizational values and the vision of a just world without collective violence. Nunca Más also includes specialized members who possess knowledge or/and skills that are valuable for supporting the work of local partners. Although NUNCA MAS is based in Denmark, it has an international and multicultural sensitive approach and perspective, an international membership and board and collaborates closely with professionals from all over the world.

3. What is Nunca Más doing and how?

Nunca Más supports local organizations in mitigating mental, physical and social suffering after gross human rights violations and preventing future violations by taking its point of departure in local needs, local conditions and local resources.  Likewise, the local partners will take the lead in relation to all the project phases: from identification of the problem, tor the design and implementation of the project interventions and in the evaluation of the project. Nunca Más will support partners through the professional capacities and experience of its members at all levels of co-operation. This will involve documentation, monitoring, evaluation, and systematization seen in a development context and when  appropriate, the interventions are linked up with research.

Nunca Más wishes to support local partners in their work to soothe the pain of people affected by collective violence and give survivors the capacity to individually and collectively strive for   recognition and justice.  The interventions are an integrated part of the local context and the approaches will accordingly be holistic, integrating the physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects of the empowering process.

Nunca Más will make use of its considerable experience in relation to the testimonial therapy method, which is one of the few mental health interventions that naturally integrates healing, empowerment and justice and can be adapted to local traditions and beliefs. The method is relatively simple and easy to transfer locally, even to areas with a lack of skilled mental health specialists. NUNCA MAS also has considerable experience in pain management, a therapeutic method, which enables victims/survivors to learn to cope with chronic pain due to the human rights violations they have suffered. This approach also interacts actively with the local health traditions. NUNCA MAS also works with the integration of eastern and western approaches to therapy by including mindfulness and other spiritual approaches in its interventions if appropriate to the local context.

Nunca Más will also work with partners who are engaged institutionally in the prevention of human rights violations by, for instance, addressing the educational, community and health systems through human rights education, etc. Advocacy is therefore a crosscutting issue.

In this regard, Nunca Más’s approach to human rights education  takes into consideration the reality of the local population in an experiential way, in order to find the mechanisms to substitute the culture of violence with a culture of peace, democracy and respect for human rights. NUNCA MAS promotes the demand for human rights, through an active citizen participation that works to change policies, laws and socio-political actions to overcome insecurity, violence, impunity and corruption.

Nunca Más also strengthens communities through integrated programs that enhance the quality of life for the local population through the development of personal, technical and professional competencies that empowers both individuals and the community as a whole. The driving force behind the integrated programs is sustainability and cooperation with local actors.

4. Who is Nunca Más working with?

Nunca Más co-operates with partners who genuinely work with the target groups of victims/survivors and communities of victims/survivors. NUNCA MAS chooses partners who have shown their commitment to non-violence and an openness towards sharing their knowledge and information in cooperation with Nunca Más in order to find new ways to understand and address the challenges that human rights violations constitute. Following this, Nunca Más forms alliances with other international and national organizations working in similar or supplementary areas.

5. Where is Nunca Más working?

Nunca Más has already been involved in activities in Cambodia with the implementation of testimonial therapy in connection with the UN supported Khmer Rouge Tribunal process and advised on testimonial therapy in Libya. Nunca Más has contact with potential partners in Central America, as well as and in South and South East Asia.

6. How and when will Nunca Más report and document their work?

Nunca Más will communicate on issues related to human rights and psycho-social issues through the “old” and the new social media. It has an active website where the public can be informed about the policies, activities and results of the organization. Nunca Más also publishes articles and documents their work though visual media such as documentaries and photography. 

7. Which financial resources does Nunca Más have?

Nunca Más receives funding from the foundation “Civil Samfund i Udvikling (CISU)”,, private foundations as well as membership fees.

8. Who are working for Nunca Más?

Committed professionals with many years of practical and theoretical experiences in (mental) health and development and with an in-depth knowledge of the countries they are working with. Nunca Más has a membership and board of psychologists, social anthropologists, psychiatrists, public health specialists and others with experience in development and management of development programs. The professionals are associated with, e.g., George Washington University, Washington and Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS) at the University of Copenhagen. In addition, Nunca Más draws on the expertise of communication specialists.