In many cases, people are tortured because of who they are – because they are a human rights defender, a woman, because of their ethnicity, or because they are gay. International law is clear that when people are ill-treated for a discriminatory purpose, it amounts to torture.
REDRESS represents and advocates on behalf of victims of discriminatory torture at national, regional and international levels. We seek to raise awareness about this problem, improve standards of protection for these especially vulnerable groups, and identify the specific reparations that are needed.
REDRESS has litigated on behalf of Sudanese human rights defenders in and outside Sudan, built capacity of partner organisations to litigate sexual violence against women, and collaborated with human rights defender networks to strengthen their capacity to document and litigate torture and related abuses.
We have also contributed to the development of new mechanisms for the protection and promotion of the human rights of the LGBTI community in the Americas, such as the creation in 2012 of the Inter-American Commission’s Specialised Unit on the Rights of LGBTI Persons, a precursor of the current Rapporteurship on this area.
REDRESS is currently challenging discriminatory torture through the courts and UN bodies:
- We have brought the cases of several women who were ill-treated by police or other authorities before specialised tribunals such as the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to highlight the problem and identify specific reforms that will contribute to measures of non-repetition. Read Magdulein Abaida and Zeinab Jalalian’s stories.
- With partners in Peru, we have brought a case before the Inter-American Court of Human rights, the first time that the Court will consider a case of discriminatory torture against an LGBTI person in the Americas. The case will allow the Court to establish standards against LGBTI torture, including the duty to investigate it adequately, and punish those responsible. Read Azul Rojas Marin’s story here.
- We are litigating several cases on behalf of human rights defenders around the world and provide regular training for human rights defenders on the documentation and litigation of human rights abuses. One such case concerns Uzbek Nobel Prize nominee Mutabar Tadjibayeva, who was tortured and forcibly sterilised while in prison in Uzbekistan for her human rights work.
Recent publications on this issue:
- Supplements to the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
- Redress for Rape: Using International Jurisprudence on Rape as a Form of Torture or Other Ill-treatment