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Torture Prevention and Rehabilitation Programme

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The project contributes to eradicating torture and impunity in Serbia and the Balkan region through provision of comprehensive rehabilitation for victims and building capacities of stakeholders to prevent and report on torture (Ombudsman office, associations of people from marginalized groups) as well as campaigning against torture and culture of violence.

First year of the project implementation was marked with strong networking and partnership building activities that positively influenced achievement of the project results and presented strong basis for the future activities. Capacities of CSOs gathering groups at risk of torture and ill treatment (Roma, drug users, users of mental health services and young people with multiple vulnerabilities) were built through a series of training events and ongoing support. They raised their capacities in terms of personal empowerment to act as human rights defenders, with achieved greater access of their beneficiaries into the CRTV for rehabilitation; they also raised public awareness about their experience of torture and specific vulnerability for torture.

Project activities have contributed considerably to the ratification of the law that assignees role of National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) to Ombudsperson office in cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGO) and Ombudsperson of Vojvodina (2011). The cooperation with Ombudsman and other civil society organizations continued successfully throughout the project duration. We see the cooperation with Ombudsman within development of NPM as one of the most successful achievement of the project. IAN became part of the National Preventive Mechanism responsible for systematic monitoring of psychiatric institutions. This important prevention work ensured greater visibility of torture among beneficiaries and public, empowered associations of users who are in risk of torture, and stronger networking, lobbying and advocacy within civil society.

Extensive research was organised for exploring concept of dehumanisation and impunity and this regional initiative was realized jointly with Centres for rehabilitation of torture victims from Serbia, BiH, Croatia, Kosovo and Albania. As the result of qualitative research six qualitative reports were produced to present manifestation, causes and forms of dehumanization among different marginalized groups in Balkan countries (two research studies from Bosnia and Herzegovina –Tuzla and Sarajevo, one from Kosovo, Albania, Croatia and Serbia). The results of the research were presented to the audience at the Regional conference that was held during the non-cost extension of the project period in Petrovac, Montenegro. The findings of the research provided us with knowledge about dehumanization and helped to understand the mechanisms leading to torture and abuse in war and especially post-war communities.

In the area of public awareness about torture there were range of public events, artistic performances, round table discussions and media reporting about torture. Each year, 26th June, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was commemorated with press conference, and adequate programme, within fruitful cooperation with CZKD Centre for Cultural Decontamination and Arti Zanati from France. These events were successful to influence public awareness about torture and human rights of most at risk populations (people with mental health problems, people living with HIV, Roma). What is significant is greater involvement of beneficiaries who were empowered to act upon themselves for their greater human rights, speak about their experiences and change public knowledge and attitudes.

Comprehensive rehabilitation of the victims of torture and family members is ongoing activity and Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims provides comprehensive support to victims in the centre and during field visits. New approaches and procedures of assisting current victims are intensively explored and discussed with beneficiaries and similar centres in region as well as in Europe. 777 clients – torture victims and members of their families received counselling and psychotherapy by staff of IAN Centre, through overall 1396 interventions. As in previous years of IAN CRTV functioning, most of the clients (680) were those with experience of war-related torture, while 97 clients experienced torture in post-war period, mostly by the police forces, as well as medical and prison staff.

European Commission

Project duration: November 2010 – January 2014

Contact persons: Jelena Lončarević jbakalic@ian.org.rs

Tijana Eror tijanaeror@gmail.com

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