Did you know that half of all torture survivors treated around the world also live in poverty?
Indeed, poverty can be seen as the leading risk factor for torture: Being poor makes you more likely to be tortured; being tortured makes you more likely to be poor. Over recent years, IRCT members have reported that around 50% of their clients live in poverty, according to the standard in their nation. This compares to a global average of roughly 20% living below the internationally recognised medium poverty line of $3.20 per day, meaning the poor are more than twice as likely to be tortured.
IRCT’s Livelihoods project is an effort to break the link between poverty and torture.
Member centres have long called for a holistic approach to torture rehabilitation, reporting that psychosocial and medical services are not effective if the basic needs of survivors are not met. Mental and physical health has been the primary focus of rehabilitation programmes, but many centres in the Global South report progress is difficult to maintain without socio-economic support to the survivor. After all, torture survivors are still mothers, fathers, husbands and wives, with households to feed, and often battling against the unemployment and disability directly caused by the torture they have suffered.
Put simply, if basic needs like food, sanitation or proper housing – the outcomes of poverty – are not addressed by our member centres as they treat survivors, rehabilitation is unlikely to succeed.