Masked couple on 60th St in West New York, NJ

Our Work During the Covid-19 Pandemic

In times of crisis, we need to be particularly vigilant about protecting human rights, and the Covid-19 outbreak is no exception.

To contain the pandemic, many governments have enacted unprecedented emergency measures, and in some cases, they have introduced sweeping new powers with little oversight, which they may seek to retain in the long term.

There have already been increasing reports of abuse, ill-treatment and torture towards those violating quarantine and lockdown directives around the world, as documented by UN experts and human rights organisations.

The work of REDRESS remains as relevant as ever.

We cannot let the current health crisis lead to a similar erosion of the global ban on torture that we witnessed during the ‘War on Terror’ after 9/11. We must remain vigilant that respect for human dignity remains at the core of every measure and policy to contain the pandemic. We must ensure that States respect and guarantee the right to be free from torture at all costs.

Many of REDRESS’ clients remain particularly vulnerable during this health crisis, including those who are in detention, immigrants and asylum seekers, human rights defenders and other dissenting voices, and members of the LGBT+ community.

Uncertain times can also exacerbate fears and anxiety on torture survivors who have suffered trauma. Our clients need our help more than ever, and we are doing everything we can to continue supporting them remotely.

While our offices in London and The Hague remain closed, in line with government recommendations, REDRESS has put in place robust arrangements to try to offer the same level of support to torture survivors and their families during these challenging times.

Our regular phone lines remain open during regular office hours. We continue to offer legal advice over the phone, via video calls or email. We are also accepting new queries through our website.

Court closures have impacted legal proceedings. We recommend that you stay in touch with your legal advisor to understand how your case has been impacted. We will also be in touch if any issues affect your case directly. 

We will also be communicating with you more frequently through our website, digital newsletters and social media to keep connected to you and to keep you informed. Please email us at [email protected]redress.org if you have any concerns or queries.

REDRESS will also continue to monitor the measures that governments have put in place, and will denounce any threats against the inalienable right of every person to be free from torture.

Photo credit: Featous, CC BY-SA 4.0.