Torture is one of the most horrific crimes that can be perpetrated against a human being. Its purpose is to dehumanise the victims through calculated acts of cruelty to remove their dignity and leave them powerless.
Torture is prohibited in the strongest terms by international law, even in times of war and emergency, and is illegal in most countries. Yet it is still highly prevalent, not only in the most repressive regimes. In 2014, 30 years after the UN adopted the historic Convention against Torture, torture and ill-treatment were recorded in 141 countries or three quarters of the world.
Justice demands an end to torture, and an end to impunity for those who perpetrate it. Effective reparation requires that torture survivors around the world receive the acknowledgement they deserve and the redress they need to move their lives forward with dignity.
At REDRESS we use the law to seek justice and reparation for survivors of torture, to combat impunity for governments and individuals who perpetrate torture, and to develop and promote compliance with international standards.
We bring legal cases on behalf of individual survivors, and advocate for better laws to provide effective reparations. Our cases respond to torture as an individual crime in national and international law, as a civil wrong with individual responsibility, and as a human rights violation with state responsibility.
We support survivors like Necati Zontul, who was tortured after the boat he was travelling on with other migrants was intercepted by Greek coastguards in Crete, or like Olivier Acuña, who was wrongly imprisoned in Mexico for two years and tortured because of his work as a journalist.
Through our victim-centred approach to strategic litigation we are able to have an impact beyond the individual case to address the root causes of torture and to challenge impunity.
We apply our expertise on torture, reparations, and the rights of victims, to conduct research and advocacy to identify the necessary changes in law, policy, and practice.
We work collaboratively with international and national organisations and grassroots victims’ groups.
Our core values are the foundation of all that we do:
A Victim-Centred Approach. REDRESS prioritises the interests and perspectives of survivors in all aspects of our work. In our decisions and interventions, we seek to promote the well-being of survivors, avoid further traumatisation, and accompany them through the legal process.
Collaborative Partnerships. A core value of REDRESS is to work in partnership with other civil society groups. More can be achieved when forces are joined. These collaborations ensure that we act with the consent of those most directly involved, and that we share our expertise.
Expertise and Innovation. REDRESS has been at the forefront of developments in the law relating to victims of torture and reparations for 25 years and has developed expertise through detailed research, innovative litigation, and progressive standard-setting. We maintain an innovative approach by collaborating with expert academics, practitioners, and civil society groups dealing with cutting-edge issues.