Justice for torture survivors

For decades, REDRESS has represented hundreds of victims of torture to bring legal claims to obtain justice and reparation. Many of these clients live in the United Kingdom and have been tortured abroad, or remain in detention where they continue to be ill-treated.

They contact us directly for help, through our website, on the phone, or by walking through our door. Many are members of groups who have been ill-treated because of who they are, and now live within those communities.

Our clients are survivors like Cameroonian activist Ebenezer Akwanga, who was tortured and wrongly imprisoned in Cameroon for six years, or Samira Ibrahim and Rasha Abdel-Rahman, who were arrested for taking part in a mass protest during the Egyptian popular revolution in 2011, and subjected to electroshocks and forced genital examinations.

These cases can occur anywhere in the world: in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. REDRESS also works with local human rights partners in cases before domestic, regional and international courts and bodies.

We aim to accompany the torture survivor through the legal process, and provide support by referring them to specialist agencies for support beyond our expertise in areas such as housing, employment, health, and psycho-social support.

We prioritise cases with a strategic litigation objective – those that may bring about a legal, political, or social impact beyond the case. However, we seek always to ensure that the client and their needs are at the forefront of the process.

REDRESS works to secure justice for torture survivors through projects including:

  • Adequate compensation. We build the capacity of civil society groups to demand appropriate compensation as an element of reparations for individual victims of torture by using litigation and advocacy to develop standards, and through training materials and seminars to promote best practice for reparations claims.
  • Asset recovery. Torture often involves corruption or some other financial incentive, and those responsible for international crimes may have significant assets. We work to enhance the ability of civil society to identify assets that can be frozen or recovered in support of an order of reparations.
  • Consular Assistance and Diplomatic Protection. More than 100 UK nationals are arbitrarily detained and ill-treated abroad each year. Through litigation and advocacy to the UK government and the United Nations, we support affected individuals in a number of cases to insist on effective consular assistance and diplomatic protection to resolve their situation, and to improve policy in this area.
  • Challenging immunities. We have continued to challenge immunity for torture, including through litigation dealing with special mission status and the use of amnesties and pardons for torture, after having intervened on this issue in landmark cases such as the Kallon case at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Read some Survivors’ Stories here

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