The London Declaration On Poverty and Torture

  • November 11, 2011

We, the undersigned,

Council Members of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), representing health professionals and other relevant professionals who provide multidisciplinary rehabilitation for victims and survivors of torture throughout the world, gathered at the Annual Council Meeting in London, United Kingdom, 9 and 10 November 2011, are alarmed by the level of violence, including torture, that currently occurs in all regions of the world and specially in situations of conflict and social unrest, and that is often related to poverty, defined as a human condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other human rights.

Bearing in mind,

that all dimensions of poverty perpetuate an enduring state of marginalisation, diminished rights, and reduced protections that make an individual more vulnerable to torture and ill treatment;

that torture has complex and far reaching consequences on physical, psychological, social and economic well-being of its victims. The debilitating consequences of torture affect the victim’s ability to earn and thus provide for the victim and the family and to further contribute to society;

that in general, official State policies, including development policies and programmes, have thus far failed to adequately address the link between poverty and torture, to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, and to break the vicious cycle that poverty and torture create; and

that women and men, groups or communities historically subjected to discrimination face compounded violations to their rights when they do not have the financial means to defend their rights or to access the health, justice and employment sectors in conditions of equality.

Deeply concerned,

that poverty is one of the major underlying factors that keeps people perpetually vulnerable to torture, and that torture tends to increase or deepen poverty by stripping victims of the ability to continue their livelihoods;

that poor persons are disproportionately more vulnerable to torture and ill treatment, in particular in situations of detention and lack of legal representation.

Urgently call upon States

  • to effectively take responsibility to include the eradication of torture and the right to rehabilitation in their poverty reduction policies and strategies, including all development policies and programmes;
  • to ensure participation by torture victims and survivors and their advocates and defenders, as well as rehabilitation centres and other health professionals, in the definition of poverty reduction policies and strategies, including all development policies and programmes;
  • to ensure that any arrested person who cannot afford legal counsel should be provided immediately with free quality legal aid in conformity with international standards for fair trial and medical examination, thereby further protecting them from torture and ill treatment;
  • to ensure that access to rehabilitation will be offered to all victims and survivors of torture within their jurisdiction without discrimination;
  • to ensure that all torture victims receive holistic rehabilitation, which includes medical, psychological, social, legal and livelihood support;
  • to ensure relevant education and vocational training and to promote access of victims and survivors to employment in order to enable them to rise above poverty, thereby breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and torture; and
  • to include in their reporting exercises to regional and international relevant bodies and mechanisms, the steps taken in this connection and the progress achieved.

Executive Committee

Mohamud Nurein Said, Sub-Saharan-Africa – President

Jorge Aroche, Pacific – Vice-President
Loreine dela Cruz, Executive Committee Member – Asia
Lilla Hardi, Executive Committee Member – Europe
Simona Ruy-Perez, Executive Committee Member – Latin America
Karen Hanscom, Executive Committee Member – North America
Clarisse Delorme, Executive Committee Member – Independent Expert


Bhava Nath Poudyal – RATA – Indonesia
Shailendra Guragain, CVICT, Nepal
Pradeep Agrawal, SOSRAC, India

Mimoza Dimitrova, ACET, Bulgaria
Sebnem Korur Fincanci, HRFT, Turkey
Larisa Alaverdyian, FAVL/ ARDCen-TV, Armenia
Lejla Cakovic, CTV MOST , Bosnia
Mechthild Wenk-Ansohn, BZFO, Germany
Boris Drozdek, Psychotrauma Zentrum Zuid, Netherlands

Latin America
Carlos Jibaja, CAPS, Peru

Middle East and North Africa
Nagib Nagm Eldin Hassan, AMEL, Sudan

North America
John Docherty, RIVO, Canada

Sub-Saharan Africa
Didier Kamundu Batundi, SOPROP, Democratic Republic of Congo
Uju Agomoh, PRAWA, Nigeria

Independent Expert
Johan Lansen, Psychiatrist (retired), Amersfoort, The Netherlands

Secretary General
Brita Sydhoff

Independent Chair of Council
Victor Madrigal Borloz


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