The London Declaration on Poverty and Torture

We, the undersigned,

Council Members of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), representing health professionals and other relevant professionals who provide multidisciplinary rehabilitation for victims and survivors of torture throughout the world, gathered at the Annual Council Meeting in London, United Kingdom, 9 and 10 November 2011,

are alarmed by the level of violence, including torture, that currently occurs in all regions of the world and specially in situations of conflict and social unrest, and that is often related to poverty, defined as a human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other human rights.

Bearing in mind,

that all dimensions of poverty perpetuate an enduring state of marginalisation, diminished rights, and reduced protections that make an individual more vulnerable to torture and ill treatment;

that torture has complex and far reaching consequences on physical, psychological, social and economic well-being of its victims. The debilitating consequences of torture affect the victim’s ability to earn and thus provide for the victim and the family and to further contribute to society;

that in general, official State policies, including development policies and programmes, have thus far failed to adequately address the link between poverty and torture, to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, and to break the vicious cycle that poverty and torture create; and

that women and men, groups or communities historically subjected to discrimination face compounded violations to their rights when they do not have the financial means to defend their rights or to access the health, justice and employment sectors in conditions of equality.

Deeply concerned,

that poverty is one of the major underlying factors that keeps people perpetually vulnerable to torture, and that torture tends to increase or deepen poverty by stripping victims of the ability to continue their livelihoods;

that poor persons are disproportionately more vulnerable to torture and ill treatment, in particular in situations of detention and lack of legal representation.

Urgently call upon States,

Read the full declaration here.

This is a declaration from the IRCT council members, representatives from all continents, regions, backgrounds.

This is hugely exciting development for the IRCT and for the future of international discussion on root causes, and therefore, also how to address the problem of torture. Simply put, the poor are tortured. Because they are easy targets, because they cannot buy their way out of detention, because their rights have not been respected.

And we call upon States to take steps to take the responsibility to eradicate torture and to effectively ensure the rehabilitation of torture victims.

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