15 Oct 2020
IRCT elects new Executive Committee and President

The IRCT General Assembly was held on October 6 - 9, 2020 with an impressive participation and accountability from IRCT members across the globe. Although the General Assembly was virtual, due to the extraordinary circumstances, the connectedness and togetherness was felt and celebrated by all participants. The General Assembly culminated in the unanimous approval of the Global Standards on Rehabilitation and the election of the new Executive Committee and President.

IRCT elects new Executive Committee and President

Lela Tsiskarishvili (top left), Cristian Urbalejo (top right), Khader Rasras (lower left), Peter Kum Che (second left), Kathi Anderson (middle), Debabrata Roy Laifungbam (second right), Robyn Smythe (lower right)

IRCT warmly welcomes Lela Tsiskarishvili as President. Lela is Executive Director at the Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT).  Cristian Urbalejo was elected as Vice-President. Cristian is the Executive Co-coordinator at Collective against Torture and Impunity (CCTI).

The new Executive Committee and President Lela Tsiskarishvili bring new ideas and a fresh direction for IRCT. Lela Tsiskarishvili is especially learned on issues of sexual gender-based violence and LGBTQI rights and brings with her extensive experience from the field and from her previous position as Executive Committee member.

Lela says:

”I am humbled and priveledged to have been elected as the President of the IRCT.

Together with the Vice-President and the newly elected ex-com we will continue the reform process that was started under the previous ex-com and lead the organisation forward, navigating through the existing and emerging challenges, by finding solutions to improve the lives of those whom we serve and who have suffered from the most severe forms of human rights violations.

This is the moment to  act upon the issues that have hitherto not been sufficiently addressed by us all – the intersectionality of torture and SGBV and torture based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Now is the time to focus our attention and efforts, make our voices loud and clear and move forward to embrace them. As the report produced by the IFEG group of IRCT states: “Conversion therapy is Torture” and it is our obligation to act upon this and support those who urgently need our help.

In an increasingly violent world, with a shrinking space for human rights and civil society, we can only do this if we support each other and act in unison, both within IRCT and within the global human rights community. The coming years we will do all that is within our power to make our voice heard, and make a strong contribution to the defense of human rights globally.

I thank you for the trust you put in me and will do everything possible to honor that trust, and help make IRCT stronger, more resilient, and more sustainable.”

The new Executive Committee, which will be in office for a period of three years, comprises the following persons:

  • President: Lela Tsiskarishvili, Executive Director at the Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Georgia
  • Vice-President: Cristian Urbalejo, Executive Co-coordinator at Collective against Torture and Impunity, Mexico
  • Member: Debabrata Roy Laifungbam, founder and convenor of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights, India
  • Member: Khader Rasras, Executive Director and Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, Palestine
  • Member: Kathi Anderson, Executive Director at Survivors of Torture, International, USA
  • Member: Robyn Smythe, Director at Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service, Australia
  • Member: Peter Kum Che Mebeng, Executive Director at Trauma Centre Cameroon, Cameroon

"In an increasingly violent world, with a shrinking space for human rights and civil society, we can only do this if we support each other and act in unison, both within IRCT and within the global human rights community. The coming years we will do all that is within our power to make our voice heard, and make a strong contribution to the defense of human rights globally."

- Lela Tsiskarishvili, IRCT President



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