Raphael from Survivors Speak OUT on his recent UN testimony

Editor’s note: Cross-posted from Freedom From Torture blog, a UK-based member centre.

Raphael Kiama (second from right) of Survivors Speak OUT Network speaks during the panel discussion on €œRehabilitation of Torture Survivors: How Holistic Treatment can Heal the Wounds and Facilitate Justice and Prevention€ (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Denmark and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)). UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Survivors Speak OUT Network was invited to participate in a side event hosted by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) on the Importance of Rehabilitation at the 3rd Committee Against Torture held in New York at the Headquarters of the United Nations. Raphael, a member of Survivors Speak OUT, represented the network at this event to talk about rehabilitation for torture survivors.

I had the privilege of representing the network at this event but many people where involved in the preparation to get me there. With network members, we worked together on the recommendations that we think are importance on rehabilitation but also with others who supported this trip including Jude, Centre Manager, and everyone else at Freedom from Torture North West; Shameem, Campaigner, (wonderful all the way) and Sonya, Policy Officer, (who was with me in New York) – both from Freedom from Torture in London; Brita and Miriam of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT); and to the Danish permanent mission to the UN for their generosity and hard work in putting the rehabilitation on the agenda in the international sphere.

At the first view ensuring that rehabilitation is on the agenda at such a meeting would perhaps be seen as normal course of action but, believe me, it is not so straight forward. This is because rehabilitation is not, per se, an intrinsic human rights article readable in its own right. The fact is rehabilitation as a right must be read within Article 14 of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which states: “(1) Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependents shall be entitled to compensation. (2) Nothing in this article shall affect any right of the victim or other person to compensation which may exist under national law.”

Please read the full article at Freedom From Torture

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