2023 in Focus: REDRESS Celebrates 30 Years
By Joss Gillespie, Communications assistant
On Human Rights Day – 10 December 2022 – REDRESS celebrated 30 years of working to end torture and seek justice for survivors.
To mark our 30th anniversary, we held several events throughout the year, including an event in The Hague in June followed by another event in London. We also published “30 Years of Impact” which looked back on some of the most significant achievements in REDRESS’ history, such as holding perpetrators to account, obtaining justice for survivors, establishing the right to reparation for torture, and giving survivors a voice through our survivor-centred approach.
Major milestones include campaigning to ensure that key provisions for victims were incorporated into the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court; focusing the attention of the international community on sexual violence in conflict through landmark cases and advocacy; litigating the first case on LGBTIQ+ torture before a human rights court, which compelled a response to discriminatory torture in the Americas; and challenging political immunities, such as those promised to the dictators General Augusto Pinochet and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Our anniversary celebrations in London brought together our supporters, clients and friends at Calthorpe Community Garden, to mark REDRESS’ significant milestones over the last three decades. Attendees enjoyed live jazz music from the band Permission to Appeal and a photography exhibition that offered a glimpse into survivors of torture’s perceptions of justice. The exhibition emphasised the urgency of acknowledging survivors’ struggles and their right to redress, as well as the need for collective action to end the barbaric practice of torture once and for all.
Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Board of Trustees, recalled how REDRESS was founded by Keith Carmichael, who was tortured in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, to help survivors of torture overcome the many difficulties to obtain reparation:
“The right to reparation existed in law, but the reality was it was so difficult to make it happen in practice. The idea of making real the idea of redress was the inspiration for the organisation and it is the work that we carry forward into our work today.”
Rupert Skilbeck, Director of REDRESS, also paid tribute to REDRESS’ clients:
“We should recognise the work that has taken place, the commitment and energy of the family members and survivors we work with. They trusted us to take on their cases and campaigns, often for many years. They allowed us to be there in the good times and also in the incredibly frustrating times. We admire their commitment for what they are trying to achieve.”
Photo: Dianne Magbanua/REDRESS