Torture of refugees and migrants

The UN Special Rapporteur against Torture identified in a 2018 report that an average of 27% of refugees and migrants are torture survivors and, in some situations, more than 70%. Many are also ill-treated as they make their way to Europe, and on other migration routes.

REDRESS has brought cases on behalf of victims of torture claiming refuge and has helped develop international standards on the treatment of refugees and migrants.

REDRESS has made submissions to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Committee Against Torture on their Revised General Comment on non-refoulment. We have advocated that is it impermissible under any circumstances to deport or send someone to a third country where they face a real risk of torture.

We have rejected the acceptance of ‘diplomatic assurances’ from the receiving country in cases when someone is sent to a third country where they face a real risk of torture, a practice that has been put into place by a number of countries, including the United Kingdom.

REDRESS challenges torture in the context of migration through projects including:

  • In Greece, we are working to build stronger laws against torture, while seeking the implementation of a European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of Necati Zontul, a Turkish migrant who was tortured by Greek coastguards.
  • In Libya, we work with lawyers to draw attention to the treatment of migrants sent back to detention camps.
  • In the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Italy, Hungary and Croatia, we are engaged on a research project to document the abuse of pre-trial and immigration detainees, focused on the victims’ rights to access support and justice.
  • We have developed online materials for organisations working with torture survivors within the asylum system, or others at risk of mistreatment in immigration detention to provide expertise on the representation of survivors of torture.