Posts Tagged UN
Inspired by the brilliant but appalling UN Women ad campaign we’ve decided to find out what Google, or its infamous algorithm, says about torture.
Type “torture is…” or “torture should…” and the results, calculated after a few milliseconds, are abysmal yet unsurprising – the world is still divided. “Torture is justified” and “torture should be legal” are followed by “torture is wrong” and “torture should be banned.” Fortunately, “torture is ineffective” comes right before “torture is good”.
What does the algorithm tell us about specific methods of torture? Believe it or not, “waterboarding is baptizing terrorists with freedom”. Absurdities aside, the two top results, again, were predictable: “waterboarding isn’t torture” comes right before “waterboarding is torture.”
We know very well that data on torture is difficult to get, and few polls measure the public opinion toward torture. Although Google’s autocomplete isn’t a perfect picture of the reality it scarily hints to it.
In an article published earlier this year about sympathies towards torture in the United States, Amy Zegart writes:
“Americans are significantly more pro-torture now than during the Bush years. In 2007, 27 percent of Americans surveyed in a Rasmussen poll said the United States should torture prisoners captured in the war against terrorism. In an August 2012 YouGov national poll I commissioned, 41 percent said they approved of torture, a gain of 14 points.”
The poll results are not too distant from the algorithm’s result. One negative result followed one positive shows that public opinion is highly polarised. As explained by Arwa Mahdawi in the Guardian, Google’s autocomplete feature anticipates what you’re looking for, based on what other people have searched for in the past.
She also explains that, “autocomplete suggestions differ according to variables such as region and time, but there tends to be a degree of consistency across results.” Try it out. Then let us know what’s like in your part of the world.
Editor’s Note: The IRCT is welcoming a new staff member to their Communications Team, who will be regularly blogging for World Without Torture. In this article Ashley Scrace explains his role in the team, how his experience has led him here and the challenges he faces in the role of Communications Officer.
Other than small holidays trips abroad, I had never left the UK for any extended period of time beyond a few weeks. Suddenly moving from a stable life in my home country to my home in Sweden – where I reside and commute to Copenhagen every day, across the famous Øresund Bridge – came as a bit of a shock to the system. I had a job in Denmark with the IRCT set up, a home in Sweden guaranteed, but satisfaction is one thing which is rarely certain.
But despite only working with the IRCT for a couple of weeks now, I am certain I will be very satisfied here and, I hope, those interested in the IRCT and its work with rehabilitation, justice and prevention of torture will be equally satisfied with my work.
I have been involved with journalism, particularly newspaper and radio journalism, since my mid-teens. From work experience placements on local newspapers and radio I soon developed an active interest in the media and communications. It was during my time at the University of Sheffield that I learned one valuable element which, until this point, had never really been emphasised: focus on the human interest.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has feelings, opinions, views and emotions to contribute to those stories. But bringing that out can be tough, and that is where my skills lie – develop information, bringing out the truth, and conveying it in concise, colourful, coherent stories.
Joining the IRCT
Joining the IRCT after years of news journalism therefore seemed natural. Quite often in journalism you forget about the people behind the stories. You focus on angles, values, ethics and so on, and it becomes rather distant from your subjects.
The IRCT changes that. It is my role to discover the stories of survivors of torture, to listen to them with empathy, to recognise their messages and feelings, and to digest the stories so a global audience can recognise the realities of torture, the effects of torture on a person, and just what can be done to rehabilitate survivors.
The work of the IRCT is like no other I have experienced. Not only do the numbers of rehabilitated torture survivors show success, but their stories do too. Some of these people have been tortured for having a voice in the past. They have so much to say, but nowhere to say it. Perhaps they have no impetus to say anything more. But with careful rehabilitation, survivors of torture are coming forward with their stories – they are being shown they are entitled to a voice.
It is therefore an honour to be able to work alongside such incredible survivors, and such passionate colleagues.
It has been made apparent to me even in these early days that torture is a reality which is often swept under the carpet. Right now I am reading through some of the most harrowing accounts of human rights abuse I have ever seen. The stories come from a brave group of torture survivors in Rwanda whom – after years of physical, mental, and sexual torture – have decided to speak out about their experiences.
Perhaps rather ignorantly, I did not realise this level of torture still exists, particularly in these sheer numbers. That is perhaps what has shocked me most so far – the numbers of torture cases worldwide are staggering. Truly staggering. Torture is a very real problem and it is only with organisations like the IRCT that the realities of torture can be brought to light.
The biggest challenge I will face is comprehending just what a real problem torture is. At times it may seem preventing it is impossible, but I hope my work with the IRCT can contribute to their fight against torture, and can help survivors seek rehabilitation and justice.
And of course, all of this comes amidst the background of Syria – another area where refugees face conflict and war on a daily basis. At the IRCT we will be working with colleagues across the region to follow the situation in Syria to see how the conflict develops, how neighbouring countries cope with the conflict, and how international governments react.
So do stay tuned for my posts on the World Without Torture blog (which I shall be updating from time to time) to find out exactly what I am doing with the team in this unique, humbling position. It is a pleasure to be here.
There are numerous ways to mark the 26 June, the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture. And this year, we have been impressed with the diversity of activities, but also the diversity of ways organisations have reached out the public, whether through radio broadcasts or public demonstrations.
To showcase this vast array of events, the IRCT held a contest – the 10 organisations with the best photos will have a full page of our annual 26 June Global Report to show off their activities. Here are the chosen 10.
Congratulations to all those who were selected and a huge thanks to all the organisations that sent us photos. They were all impressive.
Today is 26 June the day when we all stand united to honour torture victims worldwide. For those in the movement, it has always been a day marked by great energy with hundreds of activities taking place all over the world. Although the activities take many different forms, their message is united: torture is a cruel violation of human rights, and torture victims have the right to rehabilitation.
To mark the day, the IRCT and its Lebanese member Restart, chose to bring together rehabilitation centres as well as representatives from academia, governments and civil society to advance what is one of the most important issues in the sector today – making the right to rehabilitation a reality.
Despite advancements on the clarification of States’ obligations under international law, rehabilitation services are yet not readily available in all countries. Not all governments have specific programmes or health budget lines to provide or ensure the provision of rehabilitation services to torture victims.
So, we wanted this 26 June to be about action. It is about making the right to rehabilitation a reality.
Over the next two days, a large group of experienced and determined people will get together in Beirut, Lebanon to identify challenges to the delivery and funding of rehabilitation in context specific settings. They will also be sharing ways to tackle those issues and discuss lessons learned.
After these two days they will leave Beirut with new knowledge of best practices, innovative strategies and renewed strength to encourage their States to step up efforts in providing holistic and patient-centred rehabilitation services.
Because we are a global movement and the problem of torture needs concerted action, they will also leave from here with a plan for cooperative action to ensure our goal comes about worldwide; to ensure this right becomes a reality for all. Now.
What will you do today to honour the victims of torture? Here are some suggestions:
- Share a message of support on Facebook or Twitter. Here is a suggestion: Torture victims have the right to rehabilitation. Let’s make this right a reality. You can upload one of the posters in your own language.
Editor’s Note: Fábio, IRCT’s Acting Head of Communications, writes from Beirut, Lebanon, where the global conference on the right to rehabilitation is taking place.
Join us and other anti-torture groups all around the world today – the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Today, we show our support in calling for the right to rehabilitation.
Torture victims have a right to rehabilitation. Let’s make this right a reality.
Find the conversation on Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtags #26June, #stoptorture and #Right2Rehab
For four weeks every March, Geneva turns into a buzzing hub of global human rights dialogue and deliberations. Human rights defenders, national human rights institutions, diplomats and other stakeholders descend on the city for the main annual session of the UN Human Right Council. This is where international human rights standards are negotiated, States monitor and discuss thematic and country specific human rights situations and human rights defenders go to bring attention to the most recent developments on enjoyment of human rights across the globe.
With such a stage it is naturally difficult to single out specific events to highlight, so this snapshot is deliberately viewed from the perspective of the IRCT and our main priority areas around torture rehabilitation and prevention. From this perspective, four very different events stood out at the recent session that may have a great positive impact on the global anti-torture work:
The Council addressed the issue of redress and rehabilitation for torture victims in a consensus resolution, negotiated by the Danish government. The resolution stands out with its very strong language on access to rehabilitation services, and, among other things, encourages States to make appropriate rehabilitation services promptly available without discrimination, to support rehabilitation centres and to do this through a victims-oriented approach, thus putting victims’ needs at the centre of the process.
This should be seen in the context of the more detailed and comprehensive General Comment 3, adopted by the UN Committee against Torture in November 2012, which address the broader issue of redress. Taken together, these two documents provide advocates of rehabilitation for torture victims with the political support by the global State community (the resolution) and the technical elaboration of the obligation (the General Comment) to demand the realization of the right to rehabilitation from their respective governments.
In another important consensus resolution, the Council addressed the issue of protection of human rights defenders. This resolution featured significant improvements from previous resolutions. For torture rehabilitation organisations operating in difficult environments, where they fear for their safety as human rights defenders, this resolution may provide some additional arguments in their daily advocacy on this issue.
The March session is also the time where the Special Rapporteur on Torture presents his annual thematic report to the Human Rights Council. This year’s report focused on torture in the health care setting and exposed practices of torture and ill-treatment in various contexts, such as against LGBTI persons, in drug rehabilitation centres, in mental health facilities, in access to reproductive rights and general provision of pain relief treatment.
Like many other sub-themes of torture and ill-treatment, this one also proved to be highly controversial, especially with many States that tend to take a very restrictive view of the torture definition. Furthermore, there seemed to be some confusion about the specific meaning of some sections of the report, which suffered from the restriction of addressing a problem of such magnitude within 20 pages. Hopefully, the Special Rapporteur’s report will manage to open the world’s eyes to the torture and ill-treatment inflicted on these vulnerable groups and kick start a debate on how best to prevent and respond to such violations in a fashion where health professionals are made part of the solution instead of viewed as the problem.
Last but not least, the March session was the venue of the second act of an initiative started by UK-based IRCT member Freedom From Torture (FFT) with the support of the IRCT. Here, FFT produced analytical reports on the torture situation in countries of origin of their main client groups at their UK centres. These reports, which are based on forensic documentation of the clients in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol, are used for the dual purpose of building background information for asylum cases and promoting changes on the ground in the country of origin to the benefit of future generations and as an important element of reparations (guarantee of non-repetition) for their clients.
In the first act was a very well received report on Sri Lanka to the UN Committee Against Torture in 2011, which greatly contributed to a very strong examination of the Sri Lankan government. The second act was a report on the situation in Iran, which made a significant contribution to the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran and which was officially launched during an event at the Human Rights Council in March. It is truly remarkable to see the impact that these reports, based on medical evidence, have in a context at the UN where most reports and assertions are, at best, based on interviews and anecdotal information. It is very easy for States to claim that victims of torture and ill-treatment are lying to an interviewer because they want to hurt the government, but when faced with overwhelming forensic medical evidence produced by independent health professionals in a third country they tend to get more quiet and shy away. I, for one, can’t wait for FFT to launch their third act — a feeling perhaps not shared by governments that torture.
I can safely say that this is the most exciting and promising Council session that I have experienced since the very first session in 2006. And I am looking very much forward to the next Council session in June where the IRCT in collaboration with Penal Reform International will host an event where torture rehabilitation specialists will evaluate and discuss how to best implement the right to rehabilitation and what role UN human rights mechanisms can play to support these efforts.
Victims of ill-treatment and torture of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland may soon receive redress and compensation for the abuses they endured. Today, the government of Ireland received – and will reportedly release – a report on its role in the abuses at the Magdalene Laundries.
For decades, young women and girls toiled in the laundries, an Catholic-run institution where the girls were essentially enslaved – made to work without pay and endure mental and physical abuse.
From the mid-1920s to 1996, state courts or even families would send ‘fallen girls’, often young girls who were pregnant and unmarried, or the children of such women, to the laundries. There, they were forced to work – Maureen Sullivan, now 60, told the BBC that during her time at the laundries she worked from 6am to 9pm, seven days a week until she was 16. Girls knitted clothes, scrubbed floors and washed clothes and bed linens for hotels, the army and others. This was all done without pay while many women and girls suffered sexual, psychological and physical abuse.
While Peter Mullen’s 2002 film The Magdalene Sisters shocked many by its portrayal of the laundries, former Magdalene inmate Mary-Jo McDonagh told Mullan that the reality of the Magdalene Asylums was much worse than depicted in the film.
But few in Ireland, outside the Magdalene women, are understood to have known the extent of the abuse and ill-treatment going on. Research conducted by lawyer Maeve O’Rourke, who also campaigns on behalf of the survivors, claimed that the state was complicit in the torture and abuse as it sent girls to the laundries and, although dealing with them commercially, failed to inspect or regulate the institutions. Approximately 30,000 girls and young women are believed to have been involuntarily incarcerated in the institutions run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, the Religious Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
In 2011, the UN Committee against Torture condemned the Irish government for failing to investigate these claims of abuse and ill-treatment at the Magdalene Laundries:
The Committee is gravely concerned at the failure by the State party to protect girls and women who were involuntarily confined between 1922 and 1996 in the Magdalene Laundries, by failing to regulate and inspect their operations, where it is alleged that physical, emotional abuses and other ill-treatment were committed, amounting to breaches of the Convention [PDF]
They were directed to begin formal inquiry. Furthermore, the UN committee called on the Irish government to establish a system for redress, rehabilitation and compensation for the survivors.
Many survivors are now threatening a hunger strike if they government does not provide for a thorough system of redress.
It’s time for an apology, and it’s time for redress. The survivors of the Magdalene Laundries, who have for too long been silenced and the crimes they suffered overlooked, deserve a thorough system of rehabilitation and compensation. It is their right.
Like other international bodies, the UN Committee Against Torture takes good time to develop its work. Thus, it requires a lot of patience and a strong focus on long-term objectives to work with the Committee.
But sometimes developments happen all at once and with such speed that it is hard to keep up. This November session of the Committee was one of those moments, which saw a wealth of significant developments especially in relation to the areas of redress, documentation of torture and protection against reprisals. These are all issues of key concern to the IRCT and something that we have been working on with the Committee for years. It is therefore with great pleasure I will outline the most significant developments and speculate as to how the rehabilitation movement can best utilise them in its daily work – while still promoting further improvements.
Victims’ needs for redress and rehabilitation
This subtitle is significant because it illustrates the spirit of the Committee’s new approach to redress and rehabilitation outlined in its new General Comment on Article 14 of the Convention Against Torture. The Committee embraced a victims-centred approach, advanced by the Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez, and integrated this thinking into its General Comment.
This is very noticeable in the section focusing on rehabilitation which in several places has a strong focus on the needs of victims. This can be seen in provisions on early access to rehabilitation services based on a medical rather than judicial assessment of the victim’s claim, consideration of the risk of re-traumatisation of the victim in rehab and judicial processes, and the clear statement that achieving full rehabilitation can only depend on the victim rehabilitation potential and not the resources of the State .
The General Comment also makes a significant contribution to the Committee’s future monitoring of States fulfillment of the right to rehabilitation by establishing that specialised services must be available, appropriate and promptly accessible and that such services can either be provided directly by the State or through the funding of non-State facilities, including NGOs, but always with the victim’s participation in the selection of service provider.
This provides a framework for rehabilitation advocates, victims and their representatives to directly engage with government authorities to further define how rehabilitation should be provided in the specific national context. Where this dialogue needs a bit of international “facilitation”, the text also provides criteria against which international monitoring mechanisms can assess States’ implementation of their Convention obligations to provide rehabilitation. Lastly, it can hopefully initiate a global dialogue on how to best ensure that torture victims receive the rehabilitation that they need.
During the session, the Committee had the chance to review how the government of Peru has set up its redress programme. This resulted in a fruitful dialogue and some novel recommendations from the Committee especially in relation to rehabilitation services. The recommendations can be found in paragraph 18 of the Concluding Observations on Peru. [Download document]
Documentation of torture is an integral element in investigations
The Committee has long had a strong focus on implementation of the Istanbul Protocol as a torture documentation tool. However, this has mainly been recommended to States as a training tool. The IRCT has long been arguing that while the Istanbul Protocol is a useful training tool, it should also be actively used as a mandatory and integral part of any investigation of torture and ill-treatment since it is only through its mandatory, appropriate and independent use in investigations that it will make a real contribution to ending impunity. One noticeable example of this is the situation in Mexico, where the Government has made a less-than-genuine implementation of the Protocol. During this session’s review of Mexico, the Committee extensively questioned the government on this issue and ended up issuing recommendations that clearly recognise the Istanbul Protocol’s role as an important part of torture and ill-treatment investigations. The specific recommendations can be found in paragraph 17 of the Concluding Observations [Download document].
This is an important step in the global promotion of torture documentation. It provides a context in the Committee Against Torture to question States on their active use of the Istanbul Protocol rather than how many trainings they have done. Further, it is very well aligned with current IRCT priorities of developing a global action plan for national implementation of the Istanbul Protocol.
Reprisals – focal point
In recent years, the Committee Against Torture and other related bodies such as the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture have become increasingly concerned with the occurrence of acts of reprisals against persons or organisations that interact with these mechanisms. While the Committee has previously addressed these acts on an ad-hoc basis, it has now made the decision to designate one of the Committee members as rapporteur on reprisals.
In parallel, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture has established a working group to look into the issue. While this is a welcome development, there is still a lot of work to be done on designing specific measures that these mechanisms can take to prevent and otherwise address acts of reprisals. In this context it will be particularly important to involve national organisations to ensure that their voices are heard. The IRCT will be happy to support our members with bringing their positions to the attention of the Committee.
Time for national implementation
While all of these developments are welcome, the real test of their relevance will be whether they are in fact implemented on the ground. Here it is the role of organisations like the IRCT to bridge the gap between the international and national level by providing the support that our members identify as needed to promote national implementation. This could be in the form of political pressure, capacity building, technical assistance or something entirely different. We will only know when we hear from you.
Asger is Head of the Geneva Liaison Office
The day saw an unprecedented number of organisations around the world come together to mark the day, to stand in solidarity with survivors of torture and to remind the world that rehabilitation for torture survivors not only works, it is a right to which they are entitled.
As Joost Martens, IRCT Secretary-General says in his foreword to the report,
Each year, on 26 June, we pause to commemorate and honour the victims of torture, both historic and present. The day has been marked since 1988, which was the first anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, signed on 26 June 1987.
Yet today, despite its absolute prohibition, torture continues to be a global phenomenon: both physical and psychological torture is prevalent in over half the world’s countries. This is a disgrace in the twenty-first century.
Its victims are men, women – often targeted by rape and other sexual torture, and also, children. Torture victims are disproportionately from marginalised groups, in particular the poor, but also minority groups, such as ethnic, religious and sexual minorities.
The day gives us a time to pause and remember those who have suffered, and stand with those who continue to suffer, for, the effects of torture continue long after the actual act has happened.
These are some of the photos we got from 26 June events around the world:
Meeting new people outside IRCT or outside the circles of human rights work, we’ve found people have a number of questions about what the IRCT does and, more simply, about the issue of torture around the world. “Is there still torture?” they ask, often astounded that there is. For many, the term ‘torture’ invokes ideas of medieval torture chambers and the rack or the Iron Maiden.
Ten of the most common questions we get are the following:
Sadly, yes, torture continues as a phenomenon today. In fact, torture takes place in the majority of countries in the world – as many as 90% of countries, estimates former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak. Furthermore, Nowak estimates that in as many as half of those countries, torture is a rampant and systematic problem.
2. Where does torture occur?
Torture most often takes place in places of detention – whether in the initial police lock-up, interrogation rooms, prison systems or other places where people are deprived of their liberty. This allows torture to remain a “secret” or “hidden” problem in the world [PDF]; places of detention are often well outside the realm of the public view and therefore escape public condemnation.
The United Nations defines torture in the UN Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment as:
“… ‘torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
4. How are people tortured today?
While such techniques from the Middle Ages are no longer used on a large scale, the techniques of torture are still just as cruel, inhuman and painful to the victim. Furthermore, modern torture techniques are often designed to leave as few marks as possible to avoid possible future prosecution for the crimes. The Istanbul Protocol, the international guidelines for documenting torture, discusses torture methods under the following categories: beatings and other blunt traumas, beating of the feet (falanga), suspension, other positional tortures (such as being detained in a small cage or box, being forced to stand while arms are stretched high), electrical shocks, tooth torture, asphyxiation, rape and sexual torture. Other practices, such as hooding, humiliation, being stripped naked, threats to oneself or family, mock executions, simulated drowning (waterboarding) and sleep deprivation are also common torture methods that leave no external marks behind.
5. Why do people torture?
“The main aim of torture is to destroy the self-esteem of the person. The torturer tries to destroy the personal integrity by methods that cause maximum physical and mental pain and ensure gravest humiliation.”
While this is the main aim of torture, as described in Atlas of Torture, the goal of such pain and humiliation may vary. Police may torture a person to extract a confession for a crime or implicate others in a crime, as is a common practice in many countries, such as the Philippines; people may be tortured for information, as was the excuse used by the U.S. for the CIA torture programme in the so-called ‘war against terror’; armed forces may use rape and sexual torture to destroy the social fabric of communities. Or, state officials may employ torture as punishment for acts that person or a third person is believed to have committed.
6. Who commits torture?
For a case to be described as torture, the crime must be committed by a public official or a person acting in an official capacity, such as a state authority like police officers, soldiers, armed militia, among others. This also may include teachers, healthcare workers, paramilitary groups or prison guards.
The victims of torture can be anyone – any person simply in the wrong place at the wrong time can become a victim of torture. However, there is no doubt that some groups are at particular risk of torture, for example, the poor. As the IRCT stated in The London Declaration on Poverty and Torture, poverty is one of the major factors that keep people particularly vulnerable to torture and other ill-treatment. “Most of the victims and survivors of torture belong to the poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of society,” Nowak said in the 2011 Global Reading for 26 June.
This is, generally speaking, because poverty makes people vulnerable to abuses and leaves them without the ways and means of defending their rights. Other factors can marginalise people, leaving them vulnerable to torture; this includes groups such as women, children, the elderly, religious, ethnic or sexual minorities and political opposition groups, among others.
8. What are the effects of torture?
There has been a growing body of scientific research on the physical, emotional, and mental effects of torture. The physical effects of torture depend greatly on the method of torture used. Certain types of torture are related to specific symptoms and signs. For example, for survivors of falanga, a type of torture where the soles of the feat are beaten, effects may include smashed and broken heels, later causing slow and painful walking for only limited distances.
The psychological consequences are frequently persistent and invalidating. The prevailing manifestations include anxiety, depression, irritability, emotional instability, cognitive memory and attention problems, personality changes, behavioural disturbances, neurovegetative symptoms such as lack of energy, insomnia, nightmares, sexual dysfunction, and “survivor’s guilt”.
In other words, torture represents an extreme life stressor and exposure to torture increases the risk of developing psychiatric symptoms and subsequent dysfunction, social problems, marginalisation and poverty. We know that not everyone exposed develops psychiatric manifestations but that a number of genetic factors, including vulnerability to stress, proneness to anxiety, developmental deficits, previous psychiatric history, incapacitating physical consequences, quality of social environment and individual coping efforts, all play important roles. Furthermore, the more prolonged, repeated, and unpredictable the experience of torture is, the more traumatic it is and more serious the psychiatric consequences are likely to be.
9. What is rehabilitation?
We believe that all torture survivors and their families have a right to rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is simply ameliorating the effects of torture – it is to empower the torture victim to resume as full a life as possible.
Torture rehabilitation can take a variety of forms. In approaching it through a holistic approach, rehabilitation can include medical treatment for physical ailments resulting from torture; psychosocial counselling or trauma therapy; legal aid to pursue justice for the crimes; or programmes and activities to encourage economic viability, among others.
10. What can I do to help?
There are many ways in which supporters can help. The first and most direct help is of course donations to the IRCT for our work.
Another way in which supporters can help is to simply share the stories of torture survivors or human rights defenders. International support from the World Without Torture community can create unending pressure on authorities to live up to their human rights obligations, such as stopping torture, ending harassment of human rights defenders, or bringing perpetrators to justice, among others. Your tweets, Facebook updates, letters to state leaders: these are all ways in which we can together create unceasing pressure on authorities to stop torture.