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
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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:
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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:
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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:
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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:
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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
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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.
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Challenges of torture survivors in receiving socio