EU institutions open their doors to torture rehabilitation centres29-06-2012
In the course of two months, the IRCT in Brussels facilitated the visits of eleven non-EU member organisations to Brussels.
Representatives of IRCT members from Argentina, Bangladesh, Chad, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, the Philippines, Rwanda, Turkey and Venezuela had the opportunity to meet with members of the European Parliament, the European External Action Service, the European Commission as well as members of the Belgian Federal Parliament.
On these occasions, EU officials were given detailed information on the situation of torture in the different countries and urged to pay more attention to victims of torture in their contacts with these and other countries, both in the framework of election observation missions, human rights dialogues, development assistance, trade negotiations and other political dialogues.
Danie Botha, a representative from the PEACE centre in Namibia, evaluated the experience as “meaningful and interesting.”, adding that the PEACE centre “will surely build and nurture these bridges further.”
These kinds of visits are crucial as they provided alternative, specialized and detailed information to foreign policy-makers in Brussels, helping to keep the issue of torture in all its dimensions (prevention, access to justice and rehabilitation) on the political agenda.
IRCT Brussels also encouraged regional- and country-delegations of the European Parliament to visit IRCT members on their official visits and urged them to address the issue of torture with their interlocutors. For example, on their visit to Sri Lanka, Parliament members, including the Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, met with IRCT’s Sri Lankan members: Family Rehabilitation Centre and Survivors Associated.
“We felt that the delegation was interested in what we had to say. It was an opportunity for us to advocate our initiatives”, said Lahiru Perera, from Family Rehabilitation Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
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