14 May 2019
IRCT Vice-President to receive the Barbara Chester Award

The IRCT congratulates Sana Hamzeh, IRCT Vice-President and Head of the Rehabilitation Department at the Restart Center in Lebanon, on receiving the 2019 Barbara Chester Award for her work to support survivors of torture to rebuild their lives.

IRCT Vice-President to receive the Barbara Chester Award

The selection committee emphasised that Sana Hamzeh “has touched the lives of approximately 20,000 survivors in collaboration with the multidisciplinary team she leads, empowering survivors of torture, refugees, individuals with PTSD, Anxiety and Depression and other vulnerable populations.”

Sana Hamzeh was a founding member of the Restart Center in Lebanon and is now the Head of its Rehabilitation Department. Beyond her home in Lebanon, she makes a significant contribution to the global fight against torture by serving as Vice-President of the IRCT and by documenting individual torture cases and training health professionals in any country where her skills are needed.

“At the IRCT, we have the privilege of knowing the multifaceted nature of Sana’s contribution to the movement. Her acute thinking, the indefatigable fight for what is just, her contempt for formalistic bureaucracy and – also important – her joie de vivre. It is a daily pleasure and honour to share our job at the Executive Committee with her and we are delighted that she is receiving due recognition”, said Jorge Aroche, IRCT’s President.

In her reflection on what it means to receive the Barbara Chester Award, Sana says: “This Award of Barbara, it means a lot to me. You know why? Because Inge Genefke, what she said about her [Barbara]. Inge said, ‘I don't think I ever met a person with such a fine understanding of the suffering of others as, Barbara, and intuition and brain intellect, combined, so harmoniously, that you could all benefit.’ And I think that I, in my work, I feel a little bit that we are similar, that we are alike. That's why this Award means a lot to me.’”

The Barbara Chester Award is the world’s first anti-torture award. The Award will be presented to Sana Hamzeh on Saturday 5 October 2019 on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Moencopi, Arizona.

For more information

A full description of previous award recipients can be found here

Learn more about the work of the Restart Centre in the video below

“At the IRCT, we have the privilege of knowing the multifaceted nature of Sana’s contribution to the movement. Her acute thinking, the indefatigable fight for what is just, her contempt for formalistic bureaucracy and – also important – her joie de vivre. It is a daily pleasure and honour to share our job at the Executive Committee with her and we are delighted that she is receiving due recognition”

- Jorge Aroche, IRCT’s President.

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