Torture is designed to break people. Refugees face trauma, violence and deprivation. When people have survived horror, they often find it nearly impossible to return to a normal, healthy life. Rehabilitation gives people the support they need to rebuild and recover. Not only do survivors deserve this support, they also have an explicit right to it, under Article 14 of the Convention Against Torture. But rehabilitation is crucial for other reasons as well. It is the best way to ensure that survivors recover to become contributing members of their family, community and country. It is also one of the best ways to break the cycle of torture and violence as an accepted practice and promote a world that respects human rights and dignity.
The Support Life after Torture Campaign raises funds to support crucial services and programs that provide rehabilitation to people who have been tortured.
”Many people believe torture it is a thing of the past or only happens to a few. The truth is, however, that torture persists in over 140 countries, that it happens to thousands of people every day and that it can happen to any one of us.Victor Madrigal-BorlozSecretary General, IRCT
Why is rehabilitation so important?
Why is this Campaign important now?
Torture and refugee trauma rehabilitation centres around the world are facing a grave threat. In the current political environment – where torture is no longer seen as a moral outrage and the number of refugees is increasing every year – many centres are seeing reduced funds from donors and governments. In recent years many rehabilitation centres in different parts of the world have been forced to close due to a lack of funding, some after many years of work. Many more centres face imminent closure or massive cutbacks in staff and programs. Thousands of survivors rely on these centres to relieve their pain and guide their recovery. The difference that these centres make is astonishing, even if they are tiny and operate on a shoestring budget. We are fighting to make sure that these centres survive – that’s what this Campaign is about.
How will the funds be used?
The funds raised during the Campaign will ensure the survival of torture and refugee trauma rehabilitation services around the world. The funds will allow these centres to continue to provide the vital medical, psychological and social services that their clients rely on in their recovery. Half of the funds raised in the Campaign will go towards rehabilitation services globally, mostly those in less developed countries with fewer resources. Twenty percent will go to Australian services, and a further ten per cent will be used on global research to enhance our understanding of best practice in torture and trauma rehabilitation. Campaign expenses make up the remaining twenty per cent. Our commitment is to use every dollar we raise to fight for a better world for torture and trauma survivors.
Who is running the Campaign?
The Campaign is run by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT). The IRCT is a global network of torture and trauma rehabilitation centres – more than 160 centres in over 70 countries – that has been fighting for a world without torture for over 30 years. Together with our member centres, the IRCT leads a global movement striving for justice for victims of torture and the prevention of torture and refugee trauma worldwide.
The Campaign is currently in its pilot phase, which focuses on raising funds in Australia. The pilot phase is managed by the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS), an IRCT member centre based in Sydney. When this phase is completed, the IRCT will launch the Campaign globally.