United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

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Invitation to the Press

Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

We are pleased to invite you to a special press briefing on two major EU-supported anti-torture projects, on the occasion of 26 June 2003, UN International Day for Victims of Torture, and organised by the European Commission and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).

The IRCT is this year coordinating its sixth consecutive global campaign, 'Together against Torture', to commemorate this important UN Day. The 2003 campaign comprises an unprecedented number of 302 participating organisations in 96 countries worldwide. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness on the situation, needs and rights of victims or torture worldwide. The 'Together against Torture' campaign is supported by the European Commission, as well as the OSCE-ODIHR, the Oak Foundation, and the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The global launch of an important torture prevention project will also take place at the press briefing. The 'Implementation of the Istanbul Protocol' project, supported by the European Commission, aims to establish a framework for the universal implementation of the Istanbul Protocol, making an important and sustainable contribution to the prevention of torture and to bringing perpetrators to justice. This year, the project is being implemented in Georgia, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and Uganda.

The Istanbul Protocol is a 'Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment', representing leading international standards in the medical documentation and prevention of torture. The IRCT's project partners include the World Medical Association, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and Physicians for Human Rights-USA.

The IRCT actively promotes the inherent link between rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture, recognising that any effective policy to the fight against torture requires an integrated approach, addressing both aspects of the work. The current EU policy shift from rehabilitation to prevention has resulted in about 30 rehabilitation centres facing imminent closure or having to considerably reduce their activities and the IRCT strongly encourages the EU to review its current funding policy to ensure a cohesive impact on the work against torture.

Interview opportunities: Ms Danièle Smadja, Director Multilateral relations and human rights
Dr Jens Modvig, IRCT Secretary General
Time and Date: 11.30pm, Thursday 26 June 2003
Venue: Press Room Breydel, European Commission, Avenue d'Auderghem, 1040 Brussels

For more information, please contact Caroline Pincemin, Head of IRCT Office in Brussels,
Tel: +32 2 286 90 25 or Email: caroline.pincemin@easynet.be