About Assistance to victims of torture activity
Victims of torture have urgent and specific needs. These can include medical attention, legal assistance, psychological consultations or a way to leave the country for a safe-heaven. This help must be swift and adapted to each victim’s specific situation. Most of them do not have access to specialised centers for torture victims. Others do not have the financial means to use them, and cannot obtain funds from assistance organisations, which refuse, in some cases, to allocate money to individuals. The “Urgent Assistance” programme overcomes these barriers in order to offer torture victims immediate help.
Today, OMCT is the only international non-governmental organisation that provides first assistance directly to the women, men and children who are victims of torture. Thanks to the SOS-Torture Network, OMCT is able to identify and verify requests for urgent assistance and to provide – quickly and inexpensively – the necessary help.
“I have the honour of writing to convey my deepest thanks for the humanity you have shown me through OMCT. Indeed, I have just received the transfer of the amount required to cover my physiotherapy treatment. I thank you infinitively and keep the hope that thanks to your contribution, I will be able to use my leg again.” - Victim, Benin
With regards to urgent assistance, OMCT favours a global approach. The organisation offers legal, socialor medical assistance. It is not only about healing the physical and psychological wounds of torture. To get past his sufferings, the victim must be able to obtain complete rehabilitation, compensation for ill-treatments, social reintegration, and punishment for the guilty parties. A victim can require help to quickly leave his country, as his life is in danger. Moreover, it is sometimes necessary to support him in the process towards obtaining asylum in a third country.
This programme intervenes only in emergency situations. With regards to medical assistance, for example, OMCT is not a centre specialised in care for torture victims, and cannot provide long term medical treatment. However, through NGOs in the Network, the programme can provide victims with the required medicine or the sum necessary to cover the first few hospitalisation fees or appropriate treatments. This assistance, although limited, is allocated directly and quickly to its recipient, which makes it an often crucial instrument.