The IRCT exists because of and for its members. As a membership organisation, engagement by members is the driving force and democratic basis of the organisation.

IRCT’s Statutes make clear that collective responsibility for rehabilitation, standards, and knowledge sharing is the basis on which our 160 members in 76 countries agree to work together. The digital revolution, fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, means almost all members have now integrated online connectivity into their everyday work. The opportunities to learn from each other, and connect to survivors, are almost limitless.



Global Standards



Our platform for members only has two main purposes: Learning and Knowledge Sharing. The E-Learning site is the central hub for all the E-learning material and experiences that IRCT and its members are offering. The section on webinars promotes upcoming webinars, hosts past recordings for those who could not attend, and has a forum for members to continue the conversation. There are also sections for IRCT online courses on the Global Standards on Rehabilitation and upcoming on the updated Istanbul Protocol. What Are Other Members Doing was created to promote a sense of community and connect members. In this section, members can share a short video presenting their work, centre, or experiences. There is also a section to share events that members are hosting, such as webinars or trainings.


Over 1,000 people join IRCT’s demand-driven thematic webinars each year. The success of our webinars is down to a simple formula. First, we listen to what our members tell us they want to know more about. Then we source speakers with the relevant expertise from other centres or the wider torture rehabilitation community. Finally, we create an easy-to-use format for registration and attendance. Each webinar consists of time- limited presentations by speakers followed by an open question and answer session. For members who are not able to attend, webinars are posted in full on the E-learning Fabo page, while selected webinars are edited down into public videos of around 15 minutes that highlight and contextualise the key insights, published as IRCT Insights.

Afghans in Crisis:

Treating Trauma, Past and Present

Afghans have suffered 40 years of war, but many say the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021 has been the most traumatic experience of their lives. Despite promising peace, the Taliban are hunting and executing perceived opponents, causing Afghans inside and outside the country to experience direct and indirect severe mental and physical pain and suffering. Hear from four experts working on the frontlines of trauma rehabilitation on what can be done to help people in need.

Troubled Times:

Supporting Survivors Through Covid

Covid-19 had a massive impact on the ability of IRCT members to help torture survivors rebuild their lives. Some centres were forced to close; staff and clients got infected and died; fundraising events were cancelled; grants were withdrawn. How did centres cope, and what lessons were learned?

War on Ukraine:

IRCT’s Crisis Response

IRCT members across Europe and beyond have mobilised to bring their expertise in torture, trauma and PTSD care to assist refugees from Ukraine fleeing the Russian invasion. Hear from a selection of members about their priorities.

A Year in Webinars:

  • Interviewing Torture Victims: Techniques and Tips 
  • Prison Monitoring: Practices and Tools for Achieving Progress 
  • Survivor Engagement: Different Approaches for Different Contexts 
  • Working with Torture Survivors Self-Identified as LGBT+
  • Afghans in Crisis: Treating Trauma Past and Present
  • Integrating Livelihoods: Towards a Holistic Rehabilitation Approach
  • Torture Rehabilitation in Times of Covid-19


Credit: WeStock Productions

Hailed as a gamechanger by some and a threat to medical ethics by others, the increasing adoption of telemedicine or telehealth – the provision of health care services, including rehabilitation for torture survivors, through telecoms rather than in-person – has been a crucial experience for many IRCT members through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Credit: Tree of Life

For Tree of Life in Zimbabwe, Covid lockdowns precipitated a complete change to their model of working, from bringing survivors together in a community-based approach to retraining staff in counselling individuals over the phone. Although successful, with all 300 clients contacted, former director of Tree of Life, Lynn Walker said the adoption of telehealth would not fundamentally alter their in-person, group therapy approach.

Credit: Northfoto

A similar conclusion was reached by Mima Dahic, Coordinator at Vive Zene, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The centre was established in 1994 to care for women and children traumatised by war, torture and violence during the civil wars in former Yugoslavia. Elderly clients often did not have computers, so the centre provided mobile phones to set up Viber groups. But ultimately, said Dahic, the staff could not work from home, and had to venture out to meet survivors in-person.

Credit: Northfoto

In Chile, massive social protests triggered by the State’s response to the pandemic were met by excessive police violence. IRCT member CINTRAS in Chile cares for survivors of torture from Augusto Pinochet’s two decade military dictatorship, and those tortured at the hands of police today. Jose Miguel Guzman, Executive Director of CINTRAS, said they experienced a surge in demand, prompting the centre to  introduce online group therapy sessions and group workshops to address practical concerns. Interestingly, the online sessions were particularly focussed on participants moving, rather than sitting still. At first the move online was rejected, but then it was quickly accepted, said Guzman. But in very serious situations CINTRAS continued to make home visits.

Remote Evaluations

Enforced remote working due to continuing COVID-19 lockdowns spawned not only innovations in telehealth but also the opportunity, through necessity, to conduct online forensic examinations of torture survivors. This has the potential to create ground-breaking changes, ensuring more equal access to justice for torture survivors because physical proximity to high-level forensic expertise will no longer be a determinant. As the leading global expert on documenting torture, the IRCT is developing an international best practice standard for such remote evaluations.

“All our work is based on direct contact. Our task is to be with the people. Most of our survivors don’t have computers so we asked donors to buy smartphones for them. The lesson that we learned is that for people who survive war and trauma it’s important they feel that they are not alone.”

Mima Dahic, Coordinator at Vive Zene, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Although remote working and tele counselling really helped us to get through and stay in touch with our clients it was only an interim measure and we needed to get back into the community as soon as we could. It’s a really good alternative where we’re struggling to gain access to remote clients and communities so we would definitely keep it in our toolbox for the future.”

Lynn Walker, Former Director, Tree of Life
IRCT’s Global Standards on Rehabilitation

Standard 13: Share knowledge

Disseminate information about torture and its effects to professionals in healthcare and other relevant fields who may come into contact with torture victims. Information should include available and possible approaches to rehabilitation, the specific needs of torture victims (including early identification, assessment, and timely referrals), trauma-informed care, documentation procedures according to the Istanbul Protocol, and regarding the value of providing rehabilitation to facilitate life after torture. Where security considerations allow, the dissemination of this information should be considered a critical moral and social responsibility for centres assisting victims of torture.