"In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity." And also, we might add to Einstein’s famous quote, great clarity too. It was an attribute the visionary physicist applied so effectively to seemingly unsolvable problems that he produced, in a single short equation, an explanation for the universe.
Torture is a seemingly unsolvable, universal problem, and unfortunately less amenable to logic.
Crises and impunity were in abundance in 2021: the human rights disaster that was the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the resurgence of dictatorships from Belarus to Burma (just one of a record number of coups worldwide); the violent insurrection in Washington; China’s relentless dismantling of civil liberties; Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize president plunging his country further into bloody civil war; a second year of civil liberties suspended in the battle with COVID-19; and the imminent return of imperial war to Europe.
Amid such crises, torture was the tool by which authoritarian power terrorised, censored, and suppressed. Mass protests demanding human rights and better governance in Chile, Sudan, Colombia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Georgia, and Malawi - to name just a few of the 58 nations which experienced sustained anti-government protests in 2021 - were most often met by police violence and disproportionate force.
Where then - for the IRCT and its mission to eradicate torture and provide the best possible rehabilitation to its survivors - the opportunity? What clarity was possible amid such chaos? Surprisingly lots, as our Annual Report 2021 reveal, from increased solidarity among our global membership; to innovations in torture documentation, advocacy, healthcare and knowledge-sharing; to improvements in international norms for justice and accountability.
Read the full report here.
IRCT Global Impact Data 2021