Olivier Mach marked the OMCT for over three decades like few others did. He was a firm believer in the role that an organisation dedicated to ending torture could play, as well as in the uniqueness of its global SOS-Torture Network. Olivier joined the OMCT in its early years and served for over two decades as a member of its Executive Council, including as its President between 2005 and 2008. After his retirement, he remained committed to our cause as a friend, a mentor, always ready to provide advice, to seek practical solutions and to share his vision – in his warm and soft-spoken way, never one to impose anything.
Olivier understood the need to speak out against cruelty in order to end torture in situations such as the military dictatorships of Latin America, and he endeavoured to highlight the action of our SOS-Torture Network by giving a voice to local actors. The messages of solidarity and condolences we are receiving from Latin America, the Maghreb Region, Africa or Asia are proof of the gratitude felt by Network activists around the world for his commitment.
Olivier Mach embodied the Geneva that is proud of a long tradition of support to initiatives against injustice, torture and tyranny everywhere. For him, the OMCT represented an effort true to these values, and he worked tirelessly, in Geneva and in Switzerland, to increase support for the organisation. The OMCT could never have developed in the way it did without the time devoted by Olivier and his discreet generosity.
His death is an enormous loss. Everyone at the OMCT who met, worked or simply talked with Olivier will remember him as a man of vision and integrity, but also as someone who was simple and humble in the best possible sense. We owe it to him to continue putting all our energy into our work, as if he were still here. So that he can be proud of us.
Organisations such as ours have more than just an identity: they have a soul.
Today we have lost our soulmate. May you rest in peace, Olivier!
This statement is issued on behalf of the OMCT, its secretariat and all its staff, the members of the OMCT Executive Council, the General Assembly and its present and former Presidents.