Meet Our Members:

ACTV, Uganda

Founded in 1993 by a Ugandan doctor and torture survivor, the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) is based in Kampala. With a staff of 40, and regional offices in Gulu and Karamoja in Northern Uganda, and Kasese in the West, ACTV has provided rehabilitation to over 20,000 torture survivors.

It also provides life-saving assistance to some of the 1.7 million refugees hosted by Uganda, most fleeing conflicts in neighbouring DR Congo and South Sudan.

“Our services are at no cost, because most of the torture survivors, have been deprived of their livelihoods because they have been tortured.”

Samuel Nsubuga, Chief Executive Officer, ACTV

Survivors Speak Out:

“I felt I should just kill myself”

“I come from a very painful past,” says Arach Santa Mulare, a survivor of Uganda’s brutal civil war who lives in a village in the remote north-west, close to Uganda’s borders with South Sudan and DR Congo.

Stabbed and then left for dead by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army Mulare later witnessed the murder of her family by Ugandan government troops, and then endured domestic violence.

“Any time I tried to tell my story I would find myself breaking down as I remembered the past,” says Mulare. “Now I am okay because of the counselling ACTV offered me.”

Amony Betty is one of hundreds of women supported by IRCT member in Uganda the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV).

“Life was not easy. I did not have food for my children,” says Betty, who was abducted as a teenager by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, who beat and starved her, before she escaped. “I had constant pain and I felt useless. I felt I should just kill myself.”

After visiting ACTV’s clinic in Gulu, Northern Uganda, Betty was given medical assistance, joined with a group of fellow survivors, and offered start-up capital in the form of children’s clothes to sell.


Torture is an international crime, prohibited absolutely, everywhere and always. It should never occur. Justice means first and foremost that no person anywhere is subjected to torture. This should happen because all States are obligated to prevent torture.

Unfortunately, at least 141 States continue to practice torture. Knowing it to be a crime, officials usually deny it has occurred and obstruct attempts to investigate. Thus, torture is not only severe pain or suffering.

It’s also censorship. Silencing survivors ensures the continuation of impunity. For IRCT, the first step to ending impunity and allowing survivors to participate in justice processes is to break that silence by credibly Exposing Torture whenever and wherever it occurs. Next, Strengthening Laws provides the means to prevent torture recurring. Finally, Building Capacity in State actors and civil society ensures anti-torture laws can be implemented, and when broken, torture is investigated and justice prevails.

ACTV’s Programme Manager, Alex Kigoye, has asked diplomats to include the following three big asks in their UPR recommendations to Uganda:

Police must follow the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Act (PPTA) and investigate allegations of torture.

Government must follow the order by the Uganda Human Rights Commission and pay prompt compensation to torture survivors.

Government should ratify the Optional Protocol to CAT allowing the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture regular visits to places of detention.

“To many of the survivors, really, they believe
that complete rehabilitation also encompasses a
successful prosecution of the perpetrator.”

Juliet Anango, Legal Coordinator, ACTV


CREDIT: Cedric Cruke



Using Data to Fight Torture in Uganda

Claims of State:

Steps Uganda Reported It Had Taken

  • 10,000 army officers trained in prevention of torture
  • 21 prison staff disciplined and punished 2018 – 2021
  • 10 officers tried and sentenced since 2018
  • Three billion Ugandan Shillings (EUR760,000) paid in compensation to victims of human rights violations 2016-2018

Source: Uganda National Report to UPR 2022

“We can now pay school fees, medicine, food and save up some money. It is really helping us to feel strong and proud again.”

A survivor describes the impact of ACTV’s rural livelihoods programme in the Gulu district of northern Uganda

Special Project:

Livelihoods Support to Female Torture Survivors

In northern Uganda, most torture survivors treated by ACTV are women, many of whom were also widowed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and left without economic resources and financial stability. 

With a grant from IRCT, ACTV provided over 200 women with income generating projects. One group received maize seeds, training on farming and a milling machine to make flour out of the maize they grew. Another received ground nut seeds and oxen to plough their land. The results were extraordinary. ACTV observed a dramatic improvement in the socio-economic situation of these women, which in turn contributed to their individual and collective healing and helped their villages to thrive.

More information

From Torture Journal

Healing and reintegration of former child soldiers: A relational resilience perspective


Amnesty on Uganda

UPR Briefing note: Torture and ill-treatment in Uganda