We challenge torture that is used to suppress activism and protest
Torture is used with impunity against human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, protesters, and activists, particularly climate and environmental defenders. This often takes the form of police brutality.
As authoritarianism has risen around the globe, the use of torture to crush dissent has also increased, including through the inappropriate use of emergency powers. Activists are often forcibly disappeared, the inherently clandestine nature of which makes it easier for torture to take place.
The use and threat of torture against those who dissent closes down civil society space, creating an atmosphere of fear, making it even more difficult to hold governments to account.
REDRESS is responding to this problem in specific jurisdictions with projects that use strategic litigation to highlight the issue, determine responsibility, and push for policy reform.
REDRESS exposes torture used to suppress dissent through projects and cases including:
- Enforced Disappearance in Africa. We use strategic litigation to increase attention to the problem of enforced disappearances in Africa, support the adoption of Guidelines by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and bring cases in countries including Algeria, Libya, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Governments often use enforced disappearances as a means to exert pressure during times of armed conflict and civil unrest, and in the context of managing migration and internal displacement. Because victims of enforced disappearance are placed outside of the protection of the law, they are left vulnerable to other human rights violations, such as torture, sexual violence and murder.
- The case of Samuel Wazizi, a Cameroonian journalist who had been a critic of the government’s handling of the protests in Anglophone Cameroon, and who died in custody, after being taken to a police station in 2019.
- The case of Magdulein Abaida, a Libyan women’s rights activist who was arbitrarily detained and tortured in Libya in 2012, securing an important decision from the UN Human Rights Committee for women human rights defenders in the MENA region.