06 Apr 2017
Report: States must reach out to torture victims

States must do more to reach out to torture victims and provide holistic rehabilitation services so victims can rebuild their lives after torture, says a new report that presents the key conclusions from last year’s EU-NGO Human Rights Forum.

Report: States must reach out to torture victims

Mushegh Yekmalyan, IRCT Head of European Affairs - Photo by Thierry Roge

At the human rights forum more than a dozen IRCT members joined human rights defenders and activists from 40 countries to share their experience on how to eradicate torture and ensure rehabilitation for victims. Among them was IRCT member, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, who shared its experience working under constant harassment and reprisals from the Government because of its provision of rehabilitation services and other human rights activities. Other IRCT members from the Philippines and Georgia also shared their experiences, including their work on documenting torture and the challenges in getting States to effectively investigate torture claims.
The key messages coming from IRCT members was that that there is an urgent need to reinforce systemic measures of redress and rehabilitation for victims of torture within national legal systems to ensure their sustainability when faced with changing governments or political will. Here, torture rehabilitation centres play a vital role in enabling victims to access medical and psychological support as well as justice and redress.
The report issues recommendations directed to the EU, its member states, third countries and civil society on policy and practice at home and abroad. The main recommendations on rehabilitation of torture victims are to:
  • Ensure the safety of staff at rehabilitation centres – both in terms of their work in risky environments and in their role of documenting abuses;
  • Find ways to reach out to torture victims, as they are not likely to seek out treatment centres pro-actively;
  • Provide holistic treatment including medical care as well as legal aid to those who want to seek judicial remedies; and ensure sensitivity to gender and ethnicity;
  • Prioritise victims’ safety and security in all rehabilitation and redress processes.
  • Ensure that victims have the right to make informed choices with regard to the redress and justice-seeking process – they should not be deprived of access to rehabilitation or psycho-social support if they are not willing to go through the legal steps to access redress;
  • Involve survivors in advocacy activities, allowing them to provide testimonies and insights on effective methods of redress and rehabilitation.

For more information

To see the full report and the executive summary click here.

"States must do more to reach out to torture victims and provide holistic rehabilitation services so victims can rebuild their lives after torture."

Report: United against all forms of torture: Applying a cross-cutting perspective to prevent, prohibit and redress torture globally

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