Witnessing and bearing witness. On offering systemic consultations and practices of solidarity at the Uyghur Tribunal

Burck, Charlotte, Hughes, Gillian, Granville, Julia and Nelki, Julia (2022) Witnessing and bearing witness. On offering systemic consultations and practices of solidarity at the Uyghur Tribunal. Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice, 5 (2). pp. 1-13. ISSN 2516-0052 Full text available

PDF (Burck (Witnessing))
Burck - Witnessing.pdf - Published Version

Download (279kB) | Preview


The experience of offering therapeutic support to the Uyghur Tribunal held in London in June and September 2021 powerfully brought home the critical variations in the meanings of witnessing and bearing witness and what they entail. In this paper, we explore the role of witnessing through offering systemic consultation to those who have experienced human rights violations and those who have witnessed these accounts and discuss our observations about the healing power of acts of resistance/activism. We are four systemic psychotherapists, with a particular interest in narrative practices, and approaches that foreground social justice. With a concern not to become “failed witnesses” which Jessica Benjamin (2014) describes as “a failure of those not involved in the acts of injury to serve the function of acknowledging and actively countering or repairing the suffering and injury that they encounter as observers in the social world”, we attempt here to communicate our experience of witnessing and joining with, through practices of solidarity, those bearing witness at the People's Tribunal held to hear evidence about China's alleged genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslim populations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human Rights, Narrative Approach, Social Justice, Imperfect Ally
Subjects: Groups & Organisations > Racial/Cultural Groups
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Consultation
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Systemic Psychotherapy
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Related URLs:
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2697

Actions (Library Staff login required)

View Item View Item