Annual Report 2023

A message from our president

Upholding human dignity: A universal struggle that unites and impacts us all

Hina Jilani
Hina Jilani – OMCT President

As we navigate the intricate landscape of global challenges, from conflicts to escalating human rights violations and the climate crisis, the call for collaborative action to ignite change resounds louder than ever.

The year 2023 bore witness to an array of challenges, from the dire juncture of the conflict in Ukraine to alleged genocide incidents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the resurgence of authoritarianism in Afghanistan, and the crackdown on dissent in Bangladesh. The scourge of excessive police violence echoed across Chad and numerous other countries, including in Latin America, while migrants and asylum seekers in Tunisia and Libya endured systemic discrimination and severe human rights abuses. Women worldwide continued to confront high levels of sexual violence, and children in many countries endured detention conditions that no young soul should ever have to endure.

A united front to eradicate torture

Amidst these escalating crises and polarizing discourses that seek to distinguish victims based on group affiliations, returning to the foundations of a rule-based order that ensures human dignity is more important than ever. These foundations rest on the absolute prohibition of torture in all circumstances, with no justification or warrant for distinctions between victims.

This imperative to eradicate torture demands a united front. The OMCT and its SOS-Torture Network have been standing resolutely as a catalyst for change, fostering synergy among partners who bring unique expertise to advocate for justice.

In 2023, the OMCT reached a significant milestone by leading the efforts of the United Against Torture Consortium, which includes partner organisations such as IRCT, FIACAT, APT, Omega Research Foundation, and REDRESS. This coalition represents a formidable alliance that strengthens the anti-torture movement worldwide.

In 2023, we welcomed ten new members to OMCT’s SOS-Torture Network, a testament to our expanding reach and impact. The growth of our movement underscores our heightened focus on addressing local challenges across diverse geographical contexts, amplifying our capacity to effect change worldwide. Central to our committed work remains the invaluable presence of 200 grassroots organisations worldwide.

Without the exceptional dedication of our SOS-Torture network members, partners, and donors' community, who deserve our most heartfelt thanks, our collective endeavour to uphold human dignity would not be possible.

Concerted actions yield tangible results

We remain steadfast in our joint commitment to amplify the voices of human rights defenders worldwide, seek justice for victims of torture, and hold perpetrators accountable. From trial observation missions to advocacy campaigns, our concerted actions as an anti-torture movement in 2023 yielded tangible results, empowering individuals and communities to pursue justice and dignity. 17 human rights defenders were released following OMCT-led initiatives in collaboration with partner organisations, and 69 human rights defenders across 20 countries received urgent material support.

In 2023, we contributed to the establishment of the Afghanistan Human Rights Defender Network in Exile, and our direct assistance programme for victims of torture in Tunisia, SANAD, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2023, achieved a significant milestone in obtaining redress for torture survivors. This underscores our unwavering dedication to those on the frontlines of justice.

Compassion, solidarity, and an unwavering commitment to human rights

As we reflect on the challenges ahead, it becomes evident that no organisation can operate in isolation. Only together can we navigate the complexities of a turbulent world, steering towards a future anchored in the principles of human dignity and justice. The challenges may be daunting, but our resolve remains unyielding. With every action, we move closer to a world where the spectre of torture is but a distant memory—a world shaped by compassion, solidarity, and an unwavering commitment to working together as a movement to uphold human rights globally.

Hina Jilani
OMCT President