Last week, IRCT members CSVR and ACTV hosted an event at the NGO Forum of the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights. The event brought together 10 civil society organisations from across Africa to discuss a new IRCT initiative to use indicators to measure if States are fulfilling their obligations toward torture survivors.
Across Africa, torture survivors are struggling to rebuild their lives. Despite the clear African legal framework explicitly outlining the obligations governments have to provide rehabilitation, survivors continue to suffer. In the face of this government inaction, IRCT member centres are working tirelessly to provide life-saving support to help survivors rebuild their lives after torture.
“In Africa, we can see that there is a clear gap between the legislation that States adopt and the actual implementation of these laws,” said Elisabeth Jengo, Senior Advocacy Officer at CSVR.
To ensure that all torture survivors in Africa have access to high quality, health-based rehabilitation services, IRCT members have spearheaded the development of human rights indicators to evaluate the degree to which their States are successfully implementing their obligations. “Without indicators, there is no objective measure of how our governments are performing,” continued Ms Jengo.
By engaging with regional mechanisms at the ACHPR, CSVR and ACTV are now also mobilising support from civil society and the ACHPR to ensure ownership and relevance as they lead African-wide efforts to establish regional indicators. Participants at the event highlighted the increased importance of evidence-based advocacy in their work and reinforced the significant need to expand the adoption of indicators on the right to rehabilitation across the continent.
“Where laws do not exist, we need to work together advocate for their introduction. Where laws do exist, we need to ensure that policies are in place, budgets are allocated and that we have a way to measure their success. These indicators provide us with an analytical framework to achieve this,” said Paul Kirya, Communications and Advocacy Officer at ACTV.
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A global indicators framework has already been developed by Professor Nimisha Patel of the International Centre for Health & Human Rights (ICHHR) based on based on extensive research, including with torture survivors, literature review and clinical expertise in the field. To ensure that these global indicators are relevant at the national level, the IRCT has partnered with ICHHR to adapt their framework to national and regional indicators in Africa. This work is made possible through the generous support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
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The IRCT is at the forefront of continuously enhancing evidence-based advocacy to monitor the extent to which torture victims enjoy the right to rehabilitation. Through our data collection programme, expertise in promoting forensic evidence and our pioneering indicators project, we aim to ensure that standards on torture rehabilitation are effectively implemented, monitored and evaluated.
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