As a membership based organisation, one of our main goals is to strengthen the capacity of each of the centres across the globe through peer-to-peer training, supported through the coordination of the Secretariat and our academic partners. These are a few examples of the programmes and collaborative efforts within this area of our strategy.
Torture rehabilitation cannot be conducted through a narrow “one size fits all” approach or as a stand-alone activity; for example, health-based rehabilitation has little value if the victim has no food on the table. Our members – from over 70 countries around the globe – have a unique experience and knowledge of taking generic rehabilitation approaches and tailoring them to local socio-economic and cultural contexts. As a result, the IRCT seeks to improve the capabilities and performance of our members to provide holistic rehabilitation through the facilitation of sharing experiences, knowledge, and skills across regions.
To do so, selected staff members of one centre travels to another centre and participates in the day-to-day operations to develop new perspectives, skills, and knowledge. Their new understanding is shared through regional and/or thematic workshops.
Staff that work for our members work in very difficult conditions and there is a high risk of burnout. In addition, staff may be exposed to a number of other stressful situations, including threats to the personal safety of themselves and their families. The Secretariat and exchange programmes seek to facilitate care for caregivers’ measures to meet this need, including the adoption of clinical supervision systems.
The provision of high-quality medical documentation of torture cases is a key mechanism for fighting impunity, ensuring reparation for victims, and supporting prevention. Such documentation requires close collaboration between health and legal professionals that possess specialised skills and knowledge on the appropriate legal and medical procedures. This combination of capacities is rarely available because most legal and medical schools do not provide courses on the documentation of torture. The Istanbul Protocol has been endorsed by the UN General Assembly, monitoring bodies and some national governments as the standard for medical documentation of torture.
Because the Istanbul Protocol is such a crucial tool for doctors and lawyers who engage themselves in cases of torture, our Secretariat will continue to promote its use throughout the duration of our new strategy.
These are among the few ways in which the IRCT serves to strengthen the capacity of the entire global membership of more than 140 torture rehabilitation centres. Through our collective knowledge, experiences, expertise, and skills, we share, exchange, and improve our ability to provide holistic rehabilitation to torture victims.