Redress - Ending Torture, Seeking Justice for Survivors
Reparation News
January 2017
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Dear friends and supporters,

As we start a new year marked by a significant deterioration in the human rights situation in many parts of the world, REDRESS remains more committed than ever to fight for a vision of a Word Without Torture, one of the most horrific abuses of human rights that a person can suffer.

No one should be subjected to torture, regardless of who they are, what they are accused of or where they come from. No one should escape punishment for torture. In 2017, REDRESS will continue to work hard to achieve more positive court decisions on behalf of torture survivors; to strengthen institutions and anti-torture laws wherever this is needed and to increase public solidarity for all who suffer this horrific crime. 

Last year, we were fortunate to work with a range of committed lawyers, academics, institutions, governments and individuals all of whom are invaluable to our efforts to realise our vision. We want to thank you for your continued support and look forward to continue working with you in the months ahead.

Below, we present some of our most recent achievements to pursue remedies for some of the most vulnerable people who have suffered torture. To keep up with our latest updates, you can follow @REDRESSTrust on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Best wishes,

Carla Ferstman




©Latvian Foreign Ministry

REDRESS  brings CIA rendition case against Lithuania to Strasbourg

Last month, REDRESS brought a crucial case before the European Court of Human Rights against Lithuania for its alleged complicity in the secret detention and torture of a Saudi Arabian national, Mr Mustafa al-Hawsawi. Lithuania is one of the European countries that we argue facilitated the torture and enforced disappearance of detainees held by the CIA during the aftermath of the 11 September 2011 attacks, but no one has ever been held accountable. Mr al-Hawsawi, now in US custody at Guantanamo Bay, was secretly detained and tortured by the CIA in various locations between March 2003 and September 2016. During this time, he was subjected to water-dousing, beatings, cramped confinement, psychological pressures and sleep deprivation at the hands of the CIA and has developed several serious medical conditions as a result of the torture and ill-treatment that he suffered.

Read more about the case here


Landmark LGBTI case reaches the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

REDRESS together with two Peruvian NGO partners has taken an eight-year legal battle by a gay Peruvian man, who was raped by Peruvian police officers, before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, one of Americas’ leading human rights institutions. At a hearing last month in Panama City, representatives of Luis Alberto Rojas presented oral arguments on a number of critical aspects of the case. The case will crucially determine whether the alleged rape constituted torture. REDRESS, PROMSEX and La Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos filed their initial petition in 2009 and are now expecting a decision on the merits. 

Read our press release here

Read a Reuters article about the hearing


REDRESS renews calls for UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's decisions to be enforced by states

In a statement during an event to commemorate 25 years of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on 28 November, our Director Carla Ferstman reiterated the important role of the WGAD in several cases we are working on. These cases include Zeinab Jalalian, a young Kurdish women's rights activist imprisoned in Iran; British national Andy Tsege, a father of three who was kidnapped in Yemen and rendered to Ethiopia leaving his partner Yemi and three children without him; and Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national charity worker who was detained on a family visit in Iran and who has been separated from her young daughter and husband ever since.

Read our statement


REDRESS highlights need for legal aid for victims in the Ongwen case 

REDRESS has drawn attention to the need to provide legal aid to the 2,607 victims who are participating in the Dominic Ongwen case before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ahead of the start of the trial of the ex-Lord's Resistance Army commander, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, on 6 December, REDRESS and others outlined these concerns in a letter to the Registrar of the ICC. REDRESS also highlighted the need to do more to provide justice and reparation for victims in a press statement, given that no reparations policy has been developed, adopted or implemented yet in Uganda.

Read our letter to the ICC Registrar

Read our press statement


REDRESS intervenes in first ICC case to consider reparation for destruction of cultural property

REDRESS and the Human Rights Centre at Queen’s University Belfast have intervened in relation to the reparation phase of the Al Mahdi case before the ICC. The case is the first at the ICC to consider reparation in relation to the destruction of cultural, heritage and religious property and relates to the destruction of shrines that took place in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012. Our submission addresses restorative measures for damaged or destroyed cultural property, the impact of the destruction on affected communities and individual victims, and appropriate measures to address the victims’ psychological, moral and economic harm as a result as well as appropriate apologies and acknowledgements of responsibility.

Read more about the case here


REDRESS files submission on the merits in case of Congolese rape victim

REDRESS has filed its submission on the merits in the case of S.A. v DRC, which concerns a complaint seized by the African Commission of a Congolese rape victim. The victim was raped by a member of the Armed Forces in the late 2000s, in the context of the armed conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the attack, the soldier also stole all the family's savings. The victim was awarded damages against the State and the convicted perpetrator, both of which have not yet been paid. Our submission sets out the legal framework of court-ordered damages in the DRC and the obstacles faced by victims when seeking enforcement of these awards. REDRESS is working on this case together with the Synergie pour l'assistance judiciaire aux victimes de violation des droits humains au Nord Kivu (SAJ).

Read more about the case here


©IRIN News

New manuals for litigating torture and ill-treatment in the MENA and East Africa regions

REDRESS has recently published two new manuals for legal practitioners: "Litigating torture and ill-treatment in the Middle East and North Africa" and "Litigating torture and ill-treatment in East Africa". The manuals outline the existing avenues for litigation of torture cases at the domestic, regional and international levels in several countries of these regions. They also provide an introduction to the methods to document torture and ill-treatment to support litigation efforts. The first manual focuses on the MENA region and uses as case studies Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. The second manual analyses the cases of six East African countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

Download now "Litigating torture and ill-treatment in the Middle East and North Africa

Download now "Litigating torture and ill-treatment in East Africa" in English or French


"Reporting on Torture" handbook now available in French

A new version in French of our "Reporting on Torture" journalist handbook is now available. Developed by REDRESS in partnership with four other human rights organisations working to eradicate torture in a range of countries - the Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Kenya; the National Coordinator for Human Rights in Perú; Advocacy Forum-Nepal and Lawyers for Justice in Libya - the handbook provides practical guidance to journalists who cover this complex but important beat. Hard copies of the handbook in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Nepali are available at

Download here Rapport sur la torture : Un manuel pour les journalistes qui couvrent les cas de torture

Read an op-ed by our Director Carla Ferstman in The Times

Advocacy work


15th Session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC

The states parties of the ICC met in The Hague at the annual session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) that took place from November 16-24 last year. The ASP offered a unique opportunity for ICC states parties, NGOs and civil society to discuss the challenges that the Court faces in advancing its mandate to provide justice for mass atrocities. This year's session took place shortly after South Africa and Burundi announced their withdrawal from the Rome Statute system, as well as Gambia announced its intention to withdraw.

With the ICC conducting its first reparations proceedings in four separate cases, REDRESS' participation this year focused on how to best give full effect to the rights of victims as enshrined in the Rome Statute, in particular, their right to participation, representation and reparation. The Victims' Rights Working Group, a network of national and international experts that advocates for victims' rights before the Court, informally facilitated by REDRESS, issued a list of recommendations to States, which can be read in English here and French here.

REDRESS also organised two side events, "Moving Reparation Forward: Some Lessons Learnt" and together with ASF Canada and ASF Belgium, "Victims' rights and complementarity: paving the way towards transition in Colombia, Uganda and the Central African Republic". More information about these events can be found here:


UNCAT meeting on abuses of INTERPOL's alerts system

Last month, REDRESS and Fair Trials held a meeting with the UN Committee Against Torture on the potential for abuse of INTERPOL’s alerts system. It provided a valuable opportunity to foster cooperation between UNCAT and INTERPOL and for UNCAT to provide input into INTERPOL’s ongoing process of reform to protect the fundamental human rights of people whose rights are affected by its work, and in particular, how INTERPOL could draw on the UNCAT’s jurisprudence when defining its human right obligations and deciding whether to publish or maintain individual alerts.This meeting was a follow-up to an expert briefing of the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) we organised a year ago.  


REDRESS expresses concern over human rights situation in Bahrain 

REDRESS together with 11 other human rights organisations sent a letter to the UK Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of her trip to Bahrain on 6 December. In the letter, the organisations expressed their concerns over the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and the UK Government's failure to exert any positive influence in this regard.

Read the letter here

Conferences and trainings

Please find below a few examples of recent conferences and trainings held by REDRESS. Additional information about these and other events can be found here:

REDRESS participates in expert forum on criminal justice in Uzbekistan 

Our International Legal Advisor Kyra Hild (pictured above) attended the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)'s sixth Expert Forum on Criminal Justice for Central Asia. She spoke at the side event "Countering institutional incentives for torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the Central Asian context" that was held on 17 November in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. One of the issues discussed was how to counter incentives for torture and ill-treatment.


Training for Greek lawyers, medical doctors, psychologists and social workers working with refugees

In January 2017, REDRESS and Human Rights Foundation Turkey conducted a three-day training in Athens, Greece, for professionals that are providing frontline support to refugees. The purpose of the training was to provide guidance on the documentation of torture and ill-treatment in the context of the mass refugee influx in Greece, and to provide practical guidance on how to address the needs of torture survivors. The training took place in the context of a project coordinated by the Greek Council for Refugees.

See REDRESS' recent report: "Mass Refugee Influxes, Refoulement and the Prohibition Against Torture", available in English, FrenchArabic and Spanish 

Meeting on regional collaboration towards an anti-torture law in Nigeria

Last month, REDRESS held a roundtable to consider the role of key stakeholders in the development and implementation of Nigeria’s anti-torture bill in line with Nigeria’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN Convention against Torture. Participants included national, regional and international stakeholders, including representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, the Law Reform Committee and the Ministry of Justice. REDRESS organised the meeting in collaboration with the Nigerian Coalition against Torture, the Legal Resources Consortium and the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC). Participants included Lucy Asuagbor, Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and member of the African Commission’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA). 


Roundtable on strengthening legislative frameworks to prevent torture in Tunisia

REDRESS together with DIGNITY and the Tunisian Ministry of Relations with Constitutional Bodies, Civil Society and Human Rights held a roundtable in November in Tunisia to explore how the existing legislative frameworks on torture can be strengthened. It brought together representatives of the African Commission’s Committee for the Prevention in Africa, government  institutions, the National Preventive Mechanism and national and international civil society actors. Mehdi Ben Gharbia, Minister of Relations with Constitutional Bodies, Civil Society and Human Rights, opened the meeting, which was also attended by Jean-Baptiste Niyizurugero, vice-president of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa.

CNDDHH and REDRESS held legal training for Peruvian lawyers 

REDRESS and its partner in Peru, the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, held a training for Peruvian lawyers of the Coordinadora network in Lima in November last year. The training included sessions on the human rights situation in Peru, the available international mechanisms to redress cases of excessive use of force and torture and existing avenues to litigate cases of sexual violence perpetrated during the recent Peruvian armed conflict. Gaia Pergolo from REDRESS provided training to participants. 


Training for Libyan lawyers in Tunis 

Lawyers for Justice in Libya and REDRESS organised a three-day workshop in Tunis last month to train 15 Libyan lawyers, activists and media professionals who are actively documenting crimes in Libya. The training provided an overview of transitional justice measures; documentation efforts in other conflict and post-conflict contexts, methods of documentation as well as digital security and secure storage of evidence.


REDRESS participates in trainings for judges and prosecutors in Mexico 

Our Legal Officer Gaia Pergolo participated in training sessions for judges and prosecutors organised by the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Mexico regional Office (OHCHR-Mexico) on national and international standards on the prohibition of torture. The training aimed to raise awareness and build capacity on the international and national standards related to torture by working with national stakeholders who work on torture cases.


Experts meetings in Kenya on reparations for victims of the post-election violence

REDRESS co-organized a series of expert meetings on reparation for human rights violations in Kenya which were held from 5 to 8 December 2016 in Mombasa. The first meeting in partnership with Physicians for Human Rights discussed how to ensure that any possible reparations in Kenya are gender-sensitive and address the needs of victims of sexual violence. The second meeting in partnership with the Kenyan National Human Rights Commission and the International Center for Transitional Justice discussed the legal framework for reparations in general. 

Support our Marathon runners this year

We are pleased to announce that this year’s most famous UK’s race –Virgin Money London Marathon 2017– will be represented by eight Team REDRESS’ runners: John, Guy, Eddie, Nick, Mike, Christiana, James and William. Due to unforeseen circumstances, our Marathon runner Peter has swapped London Marathon to the NN Marathon Rotterdam, the largest one-day event in the Netherlands which will take place in April.

With our highest ever fundraising target last year, we are looking forward to get involved in yet another successful run. We will share our runners' fundraising pages as soon as they become available so you can support them. Do not worry if you have missed to guarantee a place to this event, if you are interested in applying for one of the other running events, please contact for more information. 

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