OMCT showcases 10 torture activists ahead of Dec. 10 UN Human Rights Day, launching its 30th anniversary celebration
OMCT celebrates 10 fights
against torture for Human Rights Day and year round
10 December 2015, Geneva – Their safety is
constantly threatened. Repressive Governments can, unpunished and at any time,
kill, silence or make them the next torture victims. But they do not move from
They work in
highly politicized environments, often amid open conflict and in countries
where decades of violence, repression, corruption or persecution leave little
hope for short-term change. But they still believe their work has meaning and
will bear fruit.
They are driven
and educated lawyers, teachers, or human resource specialists who could earn a
good living for themselves. Instead they work for little money and big
headaches to defend the marginalized and oppressed.
Their job is painstaking
and slow, yielding infinitesimal results over decades. But they keep their eyes
set on the horizon.
When they are not
jailed, for lack of other means of stopping their dissident work, funding
restrictions strangle their organizations.
They get little money
are hardly any attention from the general public, when they are not altogether
discredited by authorities.
These are the dedicated
women and men of all ages from many countries fighting to eradicate torture
often at a high personal cost and who do not usually make the headlines though
These 10 defenders
the OMCT has celebrated daily in its #10HRD10Dec online campaign
during the last 10 days up today – the United Nations International Day of
Human Rights – are but a sample of the global movement against torture united through
the SOS Torture network of over 200 likeminded organizations.
Around the world,
there are many other people like Yavuz Binbay from Turkey, Olga Sadovskaya from the Russian
Federation, Justin Bahirwe from Benin, Nigina Bakhrieva from Tajikistan, Emma Bolshia Bravo from Bolivia, Salah Abu Khazam from Libya, Vilma Núñez de Escorcia form Nicaragua, Norbert Fanou-Ako form Benin, Hassan Ali Faiz from Afghanistan,
Paul Mambrasar from Indonesia.
Today, and every
other day of the year, the OMCT encourages citizens, donors and States to support
and spread the word about their achievements and the many challenges of their
work so that rule of law with its logical lot of freedom of expression, equality, and
redress can come true everywhere.
This profiling of these
often silent yet worthy and impactful struggles around the world could not
culminate in a better fashion than with the release yesterday on probation of Azerbaijani
human rights defender and OMCT Assembly member Leyla Yunus after more than a
year of arbitrary detention. This eloquently demonstrates the effectiveness of the
invaluable work of human rights defenders and torture activists and serves as a
reminder of how we should keep protecting them.
Below are all the "10 December, 10 Defenders" Campaign
Meet Paul: Restoring the human rights of indigenous Papuans amid on-going conflict
Meet Hassan Ali: Promoting human rights in Afghanistan for the sake of humanity
Meet Norbert: Better protecting children to break Benin’s cycle of violence
Meet Vilma: Still not ready to stop fighting against torture in Nicaragua
Libya: Meet Salah: Keeping hope for redress in the absence of a State, amid a civil war
Meet Emma who helps Bolivian victims recover from torture and its second trauma, silence
Meet Nigina: Towards a functioning system that leaves no room for torture
Meet Justin Bahirwe: A lawyer trying to reduce Congolese’s exposure to the pervasive risk of torture
Olga and the paradox of fighting torture in Russia: Revealing legal dysfunctionality, building trust
Yavuz from Turkey: A life after torture spent helping other survivors
OMCT wishes to thank the OAK Foundation, the European Union and the Republic and Canton of
Geneva for their support. Its content is the sole responsibility of OMCT and
should in no way be interpreted as reflecting the view(s) of the supporting