"In this moment thousands of innocent people are being tortured in our region" Suzan Jabbour, President of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region said at the IRCT annual regional meeting in Amman, organized in cooperation with the Institute for Family Health.
On the third of November 2014, at the annual regional meeting launched under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein, several key government, human rights, health experts, and representatives from IRCT, a Copenhagen-based umbrella organisation that supports the rehabilitation of torture victims and the prevention of torture across more than 140 rehabilitation centres worldwide, met to discuss emergency responses to torture and ill-treatment in the context of the multi-faceted humanitarian crises in the Middle East.
During the meeting, IRCT President Jabbour called for the formulation of a regional strategy to meet escalating needs of torture survivors and for shared responsibility between the public, government, and civil society. The five-year strategy of the IRCT was also discussed alongside feedback from IRCT member centres in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey who have been reporting on multitude of challenges they face in providing support and rehabilitation to torture survivors. Additionally, representatives from UNHCR contributed to the discussions on the immediate needs in the regional response plan.
The meeting was launched by Dr. Adnan Badran, deputizing for Queen Noor Al Hussein, who emphasised the need for an enabling legal environment in relation to human rights and human security- two principles embedded in King Hussein Foundation’s programs. Other speakers included Mr. Basel Al Tarawneh, Government Coordinator on Human Rights who highlighted Jordan’s commitment to human rights issues, and IRCT Secretary-General Victor Madrigal-Borloz who said that "the victim must be central to our response...and real changes can only be made with the involvement of civil society". Dr. Manal Tahtamouni, Director Institute for Family Health, a Jordanian leader in trauma rehabilitation and psychosocial support programs was also a speaker, reaffirming the need to include torture survivors in our refugee response plan to maintain social cohesion and healthy generations to come.