06 Jan 2017
A look back at the highlights of the IRCT Scientific Symposium 2016

The consequences of widespread torture and enforcing the legal right of victims to rehabilitation was the focus of the IRCT 10th International Scientific Symposium ‘Delivering on the promise of the right to rehabilitation’, which was held in Mexico City from 4 to 7 December.

A look back at the highlights of the IRCT Scientific Symposium 2016

During the three-day event, presentations covered more than 100 topics connected to delivering on the promise of the right to rehabilitation. These included widespread torture in Syria, the refugee transit camps of southern Europe and elsewhere, the plight of Central American migrants, and a trio of talks on the US detention centre opened in 2006 at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

To find out more about the event, explore the Book of Abstracts, which has both English and Spanish sections. Further material will be released in the coming weeks.

 All photographs are by Gerardo Arriaga.

The speakers at the Opening Event

The speakers at the Opening Event of the Symposium from left to right, Sebnem Korur Fincanci, President of the Human Rights Foundation Turkey, Andrew Stanley, EU Ambassador to Mexico, Suzanne Jabbour, IRCT President, Débora Benchoam, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Edith Escareño Granados, General Coordinator of Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad and Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Secretary General of the IRCT.

The opening panel of the IRCT Scientific Symposium, which focused on "Challenges facing the sector in evidencing survivors' rehabilitation needs". From left to right: Leanne MacMillan, Director of Research Development at the IRCT, Prof. Derrick Silove, Director of Psychiatry Research & Teaching at the Mental Health Centre, Liverpool Hospital, Australia, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Secretary General of the IRCT and Edith Escareño Granados, General Coordinator of Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad.

The second panel of day one of the Scientific Symposium, which focused on "Resourcing to meet survivors' needs". From left to right: Dr Florence Baingana, World Health Organization, Sierra Leone, Henrik Bramsen Hahn, Ambassador of Denmark to Mexico, Moderator Bhava Poudyal, Independent MHPSS Practicioner, Sri Lanka and Gaby Oré Aguilar, UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.

The closing panel of day one of the Scientific Symposium, which focused on "Responses in contexts of widespread, generalised and/or systemic torture: A conversation on comparative perspectives". From left to right: Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Secretary General of the IRCT, Josephine Lascano, BALAY Rehabilitation Centre, Philippines, Metin Bakkalci, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Olga Sadovskaya, Committee against Torture, Russia and Edith Escareño Granados, Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad, Mexico.

Performance artist Helle Fuglsang's work was part of the cultural programme which was a key element of the Symposium, as she captured poses of support both on the streets of Mexico City and at the event itself.

Italia Mendez and Norma Jimenez of the Women of Atenco address the participants on day two in the plenary on, "Fostering resilience - Survivor participation in research and treatment planning". 

Prof. Carlos Beristain speaks in the plenary on, "Fostering resilience - Survivor participation in research and treatment planning". 

Day three of the Symposium started with a panel on "Challenges of mass influx and aligning service delivery". From left to right: Nora Sveaass, University of Oslo, Norway, Suzanne Jabbour, IRCT President and Director of Restart Centre, Lebannon, Uju Agamoh, Founder of PRAWA, Nigeria and Federica Zamatto, Médecins Sans Frontières. 

Artist Lars Christian Kræmmer was an ongoing presence during the three days of the Symposium, interpreting the presentations and discussions during the plenaries and sessions into an impressive piece of art, which he presented to the participants at the closing session.

Symposium Rapporteur David Curry presents his initial insights into the three day event at the closing session on 7 December.

Swiss Ambassador to Mexico, Louis-José Touron speaks at the closing session of the Symposium on Wednesday 7 December.

"We must continue to learn, to adapt, to improve, to evidence our work, to engage in political dialogue where possible and condemn thoroughly when neccesary. We must be at the forefront and open ourselves to new debates in the field of torture rehabilitation. We must continue to define our work and never be afraid to redefine ourselves. More importantly than anything else, we must never forget the people we serve and why we do what we do."

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary-General at the opening event of the IRCT Scientific Symposium 2016

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