This month, the IRCT launched a global project to develop national indicators on torture victims’ right to rehabilitation with national consultation workshops in Uganda and South Africa. The project is implemented in partnership with the International Center for Health and Human Rights (ICHHR) and aims to enable IRCT members to better guide their states in the implementation of torture victims’ right to rehabilitation and measure their effectiveness.
Group-therapy session for torture victims at the African Centre for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV), Uganda.
“Contextualized indicators provide a tool to help realise the right to rehabilitation - the indicator framework provides a road map and can help rehabilitation providers and states to understand whether we are moving in the right direction and what more we can do to support torture victims to rebuild their lives", said Professor Nimisha Patel, of the ICHHR who has developed the global indicator framework, which is the basis for the national indicator systems.
IRCT members ACTV and CSVR brought together a broad spectrum of actors working with torture victims in workshops in Kampala and Johannesburg to share what is most important in measuring rehabilitation within their respective countries. These workshops produced elaborate commentary from the two countries’ foremost rehabilitation experts on what needs to be improved and how we can best measure it.
“In Uganda, we have excellent laws that promise support to torture victims but in practice, the State does very little to make these promises reality. So, what we need is a framework for assessing these efforts that has the buy-in of both State agencies and civil society. Then, we can truly start to move forward on this important issue,” said Samuel Nsubuga, ACTV’s Chief Executive Officer.
“In South Africa, we need to learn from the experiences of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to improve existing efforts to support Apartheid victims, while establishing new support mechanisms for asylum seekers and victims of contemporary abuse by the police. An objective indicator framework will help us move through that process with our eyes firmly focused on what will make the most difference in the lives of victims”, said Celeste Matross, CSVR’s Clinical Programme Manager and Psychologist.
In the coming months, ACTV, CSVR, the ICHHR and the IRCT will work with national stakeholders to finalise the national indicator frameworks and begin using them in their human rights monitoring work. In parallel, the input and lessons learned will contribute to processes of developing and refining regional and global indicators on the right to rehabilitation. In the future, these national experiences will generate great benefits for torture victims in all corners of the world.
“Ultimately, our aim is that IRCT members across the globe will use national indicators as a tool to discuss with their governments how we can improve support to torture survivors so that more people can receive better help to rebuild their lives”, said Asger Kjaerum, IRCT Advocacy Director.