APPROACHES TO PREVENTING TORTURE- A REHABILITATION PERSPECTIVE Prof.Dr. Kamrul H Khan Executive Director CRTS Torture Defined • The deliberate, systematic or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons acting alone or on the orders of any authority, to force another person to yield information, to make a confession, or for any other reason. Tokyo Declaration, WMA, 1975 Common Methods of Physical torture used in Bangladesh • • • • • • • Slapping Kicking with boot Pouring hot water into nose Beating with baton Hanging between two chair Beating with roller stick Blow of punch • Pressing fingers/nails with players • Piercing needle into finger tip • Hanging with the roof • Electric shock • Aerial Suspension • Beating with baton & rifle bat unsystematically • Sexual abuse Torture Prevention • In the light of this well known saying that ‘Prevention is better than cure’, CRTS has put special emphasis on the preventive side rather than its curative side since its very inception. Basically, it is not the motto of CRTS to rehabilitate the torture victims only, rather it is the main objective of CRTS to eradicate torture throughout Bangladesh which is only possible by creating a sense of self consciousness among the mass specially among the professionals in the form of mass mobilization against torture and animating human rights. In actual fact, there is no alternative than to play an active role by the local professionals for the prevention of torture. • For this purpose, CRTS in collaboration with physicians, journalists, lawyers, teachers, social workers wants to form a local UNIT with a view to protecting people from torture in all the districts of this country firstly, through dialogue; secondly, imparting training; thirdly, organizing them to increase their solidarity and educating them. • It is not possible to achieve success unless all classes of people take active part in any of the social movement. The doctrine for the prevention of torture is briefly called, ‘Integrated Preventive Approach (IPA)’ where people of different professionals such as journalists, physicians, lawyers and social workers are aware of the fact of fundamental rights of the people as per the country’s constitution, which is the introducer of highest law, universal declaration of human rights, UN Convention Against Torture etc. and side by side others different preventive programs like factfinding & urgent appeal, view exchange, training & seminars, different publications. CRTS Activities Preventative • Victim's Associations (VA) • Door to Door Campaign Against Torture • Home Visits • Research and Documentation • Lobbying for Change and Spreading Awareness Curative • Integrated Rehabilitation Approach (IRA) • Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) • Community Health Assistant Program (CHA) • Integrated Rehabilitation Approach con Victims' Association • Once the victims, especially of rural areas, return to their communities, they will often form or join a victim's association (VA). The VA was initiated by the CRTS as a way for victims to continue rehabilitation at home by actively participating in a program that supports one another, future victims and as a means to prevent future torture occurrences from happening by spreading awareness. VA's are based on three pillars of strength: Mental , Human Power and Financial Solvency , and have the impact of shifting feelings of loneliness to unity. They are self-help groups that consist of approximately 10 – 30 members and they hold meeting to discuss their own social and economic problems. con • Treatment and Rehabilitation • CRTS under curative activities sincerely addresses almost all complications with available resource. CRTS Treatment Center is concerned with the treatment of the torture victims and provides services through a process termed as Integrated Rehabilitation Approach (IRA). It is a multidisciplinary approach, which includes physical, psychological as well as economic rehabilitation measures. CRTS is operating a Dhaka & Tangail based treatment center as outdoor services provided to the victims. CRTS considers a person as torture survivors when victimized only perpetrated by the members of the law enforcing agencies and security forces of Bangladesh. Most of the torture survivors visited the center with acute physical complication to get the psychological, economical and legal supports. Prevention and Awareness • • • • • • • • Rally Meetings Seminars Press Conference Distribution of Leaflets Posters Stickers International Day in Support of Torture Victims 26 June observation Center for Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors (CRTS) and Nagorik Uddyog jointly organized a round table discussion at the National Press Club in the city to mark the international day against torture. The round table titled ‘Measures to prevent torture’ The discussion was presided over by Dr. Professor Abdus Sobhan. Round table discussion Chief Guest was former advisor to caretaker government Advocate Sultana Kamal. In this round table, keynote paper was presented by Dr. Kamrul Hasan Khan, Executive Director of CRTS. Among others Justice Kazi Ebadul Haq Advocate Z.I. Khan Panna, Chairman Human Rights and Legal Committee of Bangladesh Bar Council, Mr. Zakir Hossain CEO of Nagorik Uddyog and Sanjib Drong of Tribal Forum participated in the discussion Around 45 organizations and 30 journalists participated at this round table discussion. They discuss the matter and share there experience and try to find out the way how to overcome the problem as early as possible. Challenges for the Prevention of Torture • Treatment: In Bangladesh there is no particular treatment system for torture victim.On the other hand,due to guilty feelings, Victims do not take support from the existing government’s general treatment system (government hospital) • Rehabilitation: Generally torture victims are not getting support from their own family, society as well as country, so they become deprived. • Financial support In Bangladesh there is no any established financial support system for torture victim. • Legal support There are number of Organizations in Bangladesh who provides legal support to the Victims but due to lack of awareness and communication, the victims cannot avail those supports. Legal Challenges Torture is not a crime in national legislation in Bangladesh. A police station, which is the initial place where victims are to lodge complaints, by default refuse to record complaints of torture when a member of the police or military is named as the alleged perpetrator. The police produce a distorted investigation report resulting in the complaint being deemed to be "false." The judiciary, rather than providing justice, create further obstacles for victims seeking redress such as Section 197, which stipulate that sanction from the authorities is required before public officials can be tried. Threats, intimidation and obstacles forced most victims of torture from even seeking redress. Changing the evidence by exploiting 161 CrPC Challenges of Health Lack of health policy and availability of integrated health care. Lack of coordination, cooperation and solidarity among the Health & other Professionals (Doctors, Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Counsellor, Social Worker, Lawyers etc. Lack of trained Professionals for providing IRA Lack of paucity of professional at the community level. Expensive & lengthy treatment process. Safety and Security of Human Rights Defenders Social Challenges Political influences Lack of acceptance for victims in Family and community Lack of co-operation & coordination (Civil societies, TFT, Lawyer, NGOs etc.) Stigmatization Lack of awareness among the civil society Secondary victimization Organizational Challenges Lack of co-ordination among the Human Rights organization Limited funding Hidden computation among the sector players Lack of issue documentation based Lack of trained professional Lack of quality services Sustainability research and authentic data Economic Challenges Loss of property, Joblessness Loss of income & Dependent & burden to the family Vulnerability of family members specially women and children Challenges at the State level Lack of political will Reservation of Article 14 of the UNCAT Ratification of UN-OPCAT No separate law for torture victims Law enforcing agencies are not trained properly on Human Rights An obstacle to development A threat to Democracy Human rights situation in Bangladesh Total Population of Bangladesh : About 160 Million Nine Month’s Human Rights Monitoring Report (January 01-September 30, 2011) by Adhikar • • • • • • • • • • • Extra Judicial Killings Human right violations by Indian BSF Deaths in jail Attack on Journalists Political violence Disappearances Acid violence Dowry related violence Rape Sexual harassment/Stalking of women Public lynching 66 84 84 182 8977 17 86 375 558 526 120 Following approaches can be taken for the prevention of Torture : Marginalized groups Lawyers and human rights activists can support and assist marginalized groups by: • Being aware of and highlighting marginalization and its consequences through various media with a view to fostering respect for the rights of marginalized groups; • Taking up cases on behalf of interest groups or communities who are particularly at risk of torture on a pro bono basis; • Urging States to publish reports providing data on complaints of torture disaggregated by age, gender and other key factors, to see if there are patterns of victimization. Women Lawyers and human rights activists should be: • Aware of the gender-specific violations and consequences, both physically and mentally, of torture and ensure that any interviews or correspondence with the victims of such violence does not result in secondary dramatization; • Aware of, and invoke as appropriate the principles of evidence in cases of sexual violence, in particular by objecting to unfair lines of questioning; • Engage in strategic litigation that tackles systemic obstacles to access to justice experienced by women. In addition, lawyers, human rights activists and others should call upon the governments of their countries to • Implement relevant international standards in domestic laws and procedures, in particular by removing discriminatory laws that impact on women’s rights, in particular women’s access to justice; • Train the police, other investigatory services and the judiciary to be sensitive to women who are victims of torture, and ensure that they are not subjected to further victimisation, including by questioning that violates principles of evidence in cases of sexual violence; • Put in place specific gender-sensitive units that deal with sexual violence against women; • Set up adequate protection and support services for women who are victims of torture, including shelters; • Adopt rules of evidence that give equal weight to testimony given by men and women; • Advocate for women to have a key role in any reparation programmes, in particular in respect of gender-specific violations. Children Lawyers and human rights activists should: • • • • • • • At all times, be sensitive to the personal state of development, needs and interests of children who are victims of torture, and consult with experts on child psychology as appropriate; Provide children with adequate information about their rights, the nature of legal proceedings and the role they are likely to play during such proceedings; Provide children with legal aid or pro bono services as appropriate; Call on the government to implement its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international standards, in particular to ensure that legal proceedings are sensitive to the particular circumstances pertaining to children; Call on authorities to set up complaints hotlines and complaints mechanisms for children who have been tortured, which should be staffed with persons having the required expertise in dealing with children and to make similar arrangements for investigations and judicial proceedings, in particular trials; Call on the government to establish a body responsible for the observance and implementation of children’s rights, in particular freedom from torture, or to set up special units within existing national human rights institutions to this end; Advocate for children who have been victims of human rights violations, in particular torture, to be heard and to be able to participate in any reparation programmes. Poor and disadvantaged people Lawyers and human rights activists should: • Reach out to impoverished communities and provide legal aid services to those who cannot afford it and urge their governments to set up free legal aid clinics. These should be established in the poorer areas of the country where their need is greatest; • National Bar associations and university law faculties should consider establishing volunteer projects where qualified lawyers and law students assist poor clients for free; • National Human Rights Institutions should establish outreach programmes in poorer areas to inform individuals of their rights and what to do if they have been the victim of a violation. Ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples Lawyers and human rights activists should: • • • • • • • Identify patterns of discrimination and marginalisation of ethnic minorities and indigenous groups, and raise public awareness thereof; Build a relationship of trust and networks with members of ethnic minorities and indigenous groups; Raise awareness amongst ethnic minorities and indigenous groups of the legal system and their rights within the system; Strengthen the capacity of lawyers and human rights activists belonging to ethnic minorities and indigenous populations; Build a rapid response system of localised legal assistance to members of ethnic minorities and indigenous populations; Advocate for legislative reforms and institutional changes that remove obstacles to access to justice, such as the ability to use multiple languages, and obligating law enforcement institutions to hire personnel and liaison officials that is reflective of ethnic groups and indigenous populations; Advocate for ethnic minorities and indigenous populations to play a key role in any reparation programmes, including in the design, implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of programmes, and in particular in respect of violations targeting members of the community or the community as a whole. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees Human rights lawyers, paralegals, community groups and others should: • • • • Inform IDP’s and refugees about their rights; Put into place protection measures, including self-help groups; Provide legal services on a pro-bono basis; Call on the state, as appropriate, to put into place legislation that provides for protection of IDP’s and refugees, refrain from violations, protect IDP’s and refugees from violations by non-state actors and provide access to justice and adequate forms of reparation for any torture or other serious violations that IDP’s and refugees may have suffered; • Advocate for IDP’s and refugees as appropriate to play a key role in any reparation programmes, in particular concerning procedures and measures that affect their rights. Diplomatic and consular protection Victims and witness protection Lawyers and human rights activists should: • • • • • • • At all times evaluate the security risks of victims and witnesses in torture cases; Ensure utmost confidentiality to protect the identity and/or location of the victim unless going public’ is adopted as a suitable strategy to counter any threats; Provide victims and/or witnesses with the resources to seek protection; Request the authorities to suspend suspected perpetrators of torture and to provide adequate measures of protection; File separate complaints against those believed to be responsible for any threats or against unknown perpetrators; Identify patterns of threats, harassment and intimidation of victims and witnesses and raise public awareness thereof; Advocate for legislative reforms and institutional changes with a view to putting in place an effective system of victims and witness protection. Recommendations Withdrawal of reservation on Article-14 on UN CAT & ratification UNOPCAT Make people aware about UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders New Legislation on Compensation for Torture Victims Independent investigation body should be established Torture cases be prosecuted under separate court with trained Judges All laws inconsistence with fundamental rights shall be reviewed and amended cont’d Treatment of torture require multi disciplinary approach therefore IRA (Integrated Rehabilitation approach) model be be integrated in national health policy for its replication in Bangladesh Victims restitution, compensation, rehabilitation and satisfaction and guaranties of non repetition Article-10 of UNCAT (Human Rights education) be part of curriculum of all Health profession & LEA Massive awareness against the colonial attitude and mind setup be mobilized Indigenous of Important Human Rights instruments and its application in local court, police station etc be ensured cont’d Issue a standing invitation to all of the Human Rights Council’s special procedures, including as a priority, the special rapporteur on Torture. Submission of periodical report on the country situation of torture to the UN committee against torture and also Human Rights committee. Implementation of judgment by High Court regarding to section 54 and 167 of CrPC (55 DLR, P-363, BLAST Case of Custodial Death of Student Rubel, Judgment by Justice Mr. Hamidul Haque and Ms. Salma Masud Chowdhury of High Court Division, 7 April, 2003) Conclusion • • • • • • The lack of prevention of torture and basic human rights is a defining characteristic of human poverty. In Bangladesh, despite impressive achievements towards a number of Millennium Development Goals, it is widely acknowledged that many continue to suffer from challenges against the rule of law, limited justice options, as well as the lack of knowledge and protection of human rights. The revised 'National Strategy for Accelerating Poverty Reduction' highlights the importance of a reformed justice sector for the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. An economically viable society can solve the problem. NGOs can solve the problem in a very limited area. It is the state when it is economically viable or sound then it can solve the problem. So, Politicisation of the Prevention and Rehabilitation Program is the only way to make a torture free Society. When a person becomes economically viable then He/She gets Social position and becomes culturally developed. Mission Statement of CRTS CRTS would wish to see a torture free world, where people can live with dignity, peace, social justice, keep and practice their own rights without any fear and can contribute effectively in social development.