CTI-OSCE tool focuses on victim rehabilitation

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vienna: The rehabilitation of victims of torture was the main focus of a workshop organized in Vienna on 21 June 2018 by the Italian OSCE Chairmanship, the Government of Denmark, the Government of Switzerland, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the inter-governmental Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).

“The rehabilitation of victims of torture requires a multi-disciplinary, participatory, and holistic approach that is integrated with programmes of empowerment aimed at improving personal skills in order to strengthen positive social relationships,” said Ambassador Alessandro Azzoni, Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council. “The rehabilitation of victims also means helping them to restore their lives and dignity.”

As a core group member of CTI, Carsten Staur, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations in Geneva, had underscored that “rehabilitation supports survivors of violence to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. For Denmark, rehabilitation services are positive investments benefiting the individual, his or her family as well as the wider community.”

During the workshop, ODIHR and the CTI launched a joint tool to help OSCE participating States better ensure the right to rehabilitation of victims of torture. The tool, Providing Rehabilitation to Victims of Torture and Other Ill-treatment, provides an overview of how a number of states have implemented the right to rehabilitation through a collection of practices, supplemented with experiences from non-state rehabilitation providers.

“OSCE participating States have committed to fighting and preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” said Stephanie Selg, ODIHR Adviser on Torture Prevention. “To give full support to comprehensive, victim-centred and long-term rehabilitation services is a core obligation of states. We hope that the implementation tool will assist participating States in their efforts to fully implement the right to rehabilitation of each survivor of torture in the OSCE region, and thereby enable them to regain their dignity as human beings.”

Alice Edwards, Head of the CTI Secretariat, said: “In capturing 20 positive examples of state-led or supported rehabilitation practices, we hope the latest in CTI’s series of implementation tools will inspire governments worldwide to consider adopting similar arrangements tailored to their own national contexts.”

Delegations from OSCE participating States also discussed their countries’ practices and potential challenges in relation to legislation and policy guidance, funding models, the actual delivery of rehabilitation services to torture victims and their co-operation with civil society organizations. The discussion was facilitated by practitioners and experts working with victims of torture in different countries.