Rehabilitation for victims of torture in OSCE participating States

In partnership with the German Chairmanship of the OSCE and with DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, the CTI will hold a regional meeting on the rehabilitation of victims of torture for countries in the OSCE region, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 23-24 June 2016.

For victims and survivors of torture or ill-treatment, access to safe, meaningful and appropriate rehabilitative care can be fundamental to their well-being and recovery.

Article 14 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) provides that 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. Rehabilitation is one of several types of redress envisaged by the UNCAT, and will be the focus of this regional event.

Rehabilitation refers to the restoration of function or the acquisition of new skills required as a result of the changed circumstances of a victim arising from torture or ill-treatment. It seeks to enable the maximum possible self-sufficiency and function for the individual concerned, and may involve adjustments to the person’s physical and social environment. Rehabilitation for victims should aim to restore, as far as possible, their independence; physical, mental, social and vocational ability; and full inclusion and participation in society.  A victim-centred approach is key.  Rehabilitation should be holistic and include not only medical and psychological care, but also legal and social services.

There are a number of legal and practical challenges facing victims of torture gaining access to rehabilitation services in OSCE participating States, and it is hoped that this event will assist Governments in the OSCE region in fulfilling the requirements of Article 14 of the UN Convention against Torture in respect of rehabilitation for victims, through:

  • Spurring a discussion among OSCE participating States on avenues to improve access to redress and provide rehabilitation to those exposed to torture and ill-treatment or punishment;
  • Discussing the right to redress, with a particular focus on the practical realization of the right to rehabilitation; and
  • Promoting dialogue and cooperation among OSCE participating States in order to share experiences and good practices regarding rehabilitation.

The event will build on discussions held at a CTI-organised side event during the 2015 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, and hopes to deal with many of the issues such as how to ensure victims’ access to legal redress including in the form of rehabilitation, how to minimize re-traumatization during legal and administrative proceedings, as well as sharing good practices around the provision of services and support and how this can be achieved holistically.

Participants will be senior-level officials from relevant ministries who are or have been directly involved in policy decisions or practical implementation around rehabilitation at the national level. A range of experts on redress and rehabilitation will also be invited to share their experiences

The meeting is by invitation only.