Asian Regional Conference on Enhancing Capacity of Rehabilitation Center and Civil Society in Access to Justice of Victims in Torture


The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) invites nominations for participation and call for conference papers in the Asian Regional Conference on enhancing the capacity of rehabilitation centers and civil society in accessing justice for the victims of torture to be held in Manila, Philippines from 22-24 November 2011. The theme of the conference is “Access to Justice of Victims of Torture in Rehabilitation.” The Asian Regional Conference is being organized by the Medical Action Group (MAG), an IRCT member-organization in the Philippines.

Article 2 of the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (referred hereafter as the CAT) says in part that each State party should “take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture.”

Torture is prohibited in all international human rights instruments and domestic laws. Still, torture is prevalent in many countries in the world. These conditions continue to prevail and are widespread due to lack of infrastructure in place for investigation of torture case, prosecution of perpetrators at all levels and the holistic rehabilitation for torture victims.

In Asia, these issues are significant considering the situation that torture cases are not promptly, impartially and effectively investigated. This is compounded with the fact that majority of perpetrators go unpunished, and many governments do not take the necessary steps to provide access to holistic rehabilitation and justice for the victims. Each of the rehabilitation centers and civil society working with the torture victims, in general, is characterized by different set of challenges and opportunities. But they all a common share common goal of eliminating torture and that justice must be given to torture victims.

Following the obligations of States to prevent torture and to hold perpetrators accountable, Article 14 of the CAT stipulates that each State party shall ensure in its legal system that victims of torture obtain redress and have an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. It is important to note that the services provided by rehabilitation centers for the victims of torture go beyond the aspects of rehabilitation. They also contribute to raising public awareness on campaign against torture and enhancing capacity of civil society supporting torture victims and their families to obtain redress. The campaign and advocacy work about the prevalence of torture and government’s acquiescence or participation in it can create public discourse and pressure, and eventually bring about policy change on the need for justice as part of rehabilitation.

This clearly illustrates the vital role that rehabilitation centers play in access to justice for the victims of torture with which fulfilling torture victims’ right to rehabilitation is therefore an important element in preventing further violation and in promoting social healing and justice.


The general objective of the conference is to map out the different approaches adopted by rehabilitation centers and civil society in accessing justice for the victims of torture.

The conference will be a venue for exchange of information about related rehabilitation work and access to justice initiatives in the region, to discuss challenges and ways by which these can be overcome, and to share different programs and initiatives with the objective of exchanging views and adopting “good practice” or “successful intervention”, which may be applicable in the Philippines and in Asia.

The conference will seek to:

  1. Identify areas of common concerns, specifically on the need for capacity development for institutions that are engaged in access to justice program; and
  2. Discuss and plan for possible collaborative and cooperative actions that address the challenges faced by various organizations represented and similar organizations in the region, especially in enhancing their capacity to continue their rehabilitation and access to justice work.

Learning methodology

The conference will be conducted in a participatory manner using methods such as group discussion, information sharing and presentation of the highlights of conference papers submitted by each IRCT member in Asia. Experts in the field of human rights and rehabilitation work will be invited to speak on a particular subject. Audio-visual material will also be used to facilitate communication and inter-cultural learning.

On November 21, a meeting of IRCT Asian regional partners on Non-State Actors or NSA project i.e. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Philippines will be conducted before the actual conference to discuss the facilitation of the Regional Conference. From November 22-24, these will be devoted to discussion on sessions on issues and challenges concerning rehabilitation and access to justice work.


Representatives from nineteen IRCT members in Asia and local NGOs will be selected to participate. (Please wait for further notice on the number of representative that be selected from each IRCT member and local NGOs.) Selected participants from local NGOs are also invited those who are actively working in the field of rehabilitation work, access to justice and, related to civil and political rights.

The selected participant who will take part in the conference must prepare in advance a 5-10 page paper, (1.5 space, 12 font, Times New Roman) addressing the rehabilitation work in access to justice of victims of torture. Abstract should be submitted no later than October 7, 2011. The annex to this note provides separate information on submission of abstracts.

If your organization would like to nominate a participant, please submit a nomination letter to the conference Secretariat on or before October 7. Participants who have been selected will be informed by October 17. We will send out another wave of invitation through e-mail by October 18 which will include the conference venue, program detail, list of participants and other logistical requirements.

A list of accepted paper abstracts will be posted online at this time or will be sent through e-mail.

Practical information

The conference organizers will cover travel costs (including visa fees) and accommodation during the entire duration of the conference. Please let us know all your travel need and arrangement, air and land.

Flight reservation: Please make your booking arrangements ahead of time and ensure that modest or economy class travel is maximize otherwise we will provide you with all the travel arrangements required from the city of departure to your final destination. If you have any special needs or require special assistance, please let us know at the time of reservation so that we can accommodate all your needs.

Insurance: Please let us know at the time of reservation if you require travel insurance.

Visa: We highly recommend that you check with us prior to travel and especially with your consulate the visa requirements for each country as international laws change frequently. Please also check the link

Dietary requirement: Please let us know your dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or halal food) when you submit your nomination form so that necessary arrangement could made for your food requirements.

Dress code: Please wear your national costume or clothing which is significant for your country during the formal opening ceremony on November 22 as the diplomatic communities will be invited to the opening event.

Nominations, paper abstracts and conference related communications should be sent to the conference Secretariat thru e-mail at Please also check our Facebook and website for conference updates.

Call for conference paper

Conference theme: Rehabilitation in Access to Justice of Victims of Torture

Theme Tracks
  1. Role of rehabilitation center in access to justice for torture victims
  2. Forensic Evidence in the fight Against Torture
  3. Good practice or successful interventions in Access to Justice
  4. Concept, Significance and the Link of Rehabilitation with Access to Justice

Guidelines for Submission of Paper Abstracts

  1. All abstract must be submitted electronically. Abstracts submitted should be of previously original work.
  2. All abstract submissions are required to be structured under these headings:
    1. Purpose
    2. Method
    3. Result
    4. Conclusion
  3. Only one author can be listed as the presenter. Co-authors are welcome to attend the session. But the expenses fare is to be shouldered by the sending organization.
  4. All abstract must be 450 words or less, use Times New Roman, 12 font size and be no more than a single legal size page. Handwritten abstract will not be accepted. The title and the designated presenter are not included in the word count. Headings within the abstract are included in the word count.
  5. All abstract must be submitted in English.
  6. Acronyms and abbreviations should be spelled out at first use.

Full paper submissions are due by November 18, 2011. All submissions must be in PDF format and submitted electronically.

The conference Secretariat must receive abstract by not later than October 7, 2011. Abstract should be addressed to Edeliza P. Hernandez, Executive Director of MAG and head of the conference Secretariat through e-mail at