Torture remains a constant problem in today’s world. Individuals – whether men, women or children – are tortured and ill-treated because of who they are or what they believe.
Torture can occur in the criminal justice system, as a result of corruption, or because of discrimination, based on gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Individuals are also victimized during conflict, instability, or oppression, where torture can be used as a weapon of war. The absolute prohibition of torture remains under constant threat as nations claim exceptionalism in the name of security.
Despite universal acceptance of the crime of torture, it is still difficult for survivors of torture to access justice, as there may be no way to bring a legal case, or few lawyers willing or able to act. Mass violations including torture continue to take place, and despite some advances, impunity remains the norm. The voices of victims are rarely taken into account, to provide for their protection, participation, and reparation.
The focus of our work is securing justice and effective reparations for survivors of torture, as well as ensuring that survivors are able to exercise their rights and have their voices heard.
Within this focus, we are currently working on six priority areas of work: Justice for Torture Survivors; Effective Reparations for Victims; International Accountability; Sexual Violence in Conflict; Counter-terrorism; Torture of Refugees and Migrants; Discrimination and Enforced Disappearance in Africa.
In the field of International Accountability, we work in contexts where international conflicts and civil wars have often involved large-scale situations of torture, sometimes amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, with many survivors who need to be effectively represented so they can obtain justice. We also work to set up justice mechanisms after conflict, and advocate for the rights of victims of torture in domestic courts, special tribunals, and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In addition, we work to encourage national prosecutors to use the principle of Universal Jurisdiction to prosecute perpetrators who travel abroad.