REDRESS Marks 30 Years of Impact in London
In a momentous celebration, REDRESS marked its 30th Anniversary on 13 July at Calthorpe Community Garden, a heartwarming setting in London, where friends, supporters, partners, and clients gathered to commemorate three decades of work on behalf of survivors of torture.
Two of the highlights of the event were the jazz music by the band Permission to Appeal and a photography exhibition that offered a glimpse into survivors of torture’s perceptions of justice. Both emphasised the urgency to acknowledging survivors’ struggles and their right to redress, as well as the need for collective action to end the barbaric practice of torture for once and for all.
REDRESS’ 30th-anniversary celebration also offered an opportunity to reflect on REDRESS’ achievements over the last three decades, including 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.
Some of these achievements include having contributed to focus the attention of the international community on sexual violence in conflict through legal reforms, standard setting, and ground-breaking cases; instigating prosecutions under universal jurisdiction, making the promise of international justice a reality; and litigating the first case on LGBTIQ+ torture before a human rights court, compelling a response to discriminatory torture in the Americas.
Over the last 30 years, REDRESS has also challenged immunities, including those promised to Pinochet and Gaddafi; has changed the way in which the UK government responds to cases of torture of UK citizens and residents, and has played a leading role to strengthen international standards and procedures on reparation and on victims’ rights.
Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Board of Trustees, recalled how REDRESS was founded 30 years ago by Keith Carmichael, who was tortured in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, when he realised upon his return to the UK, how difficult it was for survivors to obtain redress:
“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, said:
“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.”
With the unwavering support of our allies and the survivors we represent, REDRESS remains resolute in its pursuit of a world without torture.