Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 14:10 to 15:40 Download Poster

Twofold approach to combating torture: Addressing root causes through advocacy and service delivery for treating its manifestations

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Khalida Salimi ( SACH Struggle for Change - Pakistan )


The prevalence of torture has a well-documented history in Pakistan. It is used as an instrument of power to suppress, intimidate and destroy the individual and specified community members. SACH being a non-government organization working against human rights violations and abuses has been providing treatment and rehabilitation services to torture survivors for over two decades. SACH’s vast experience shows that treatment of torture survivors not only requires treatment of individual, but the whole society. It should ideally involve a multi-disciplinary approach, since the consequences of torture are dire and protracted, and may include physical, psychological, cognitive and sociopolitical problems.


The conception of two-fold approach will be demonstrated through an oral presentation, citing various forms of torture treatment practiced in the field, as well as the need and effects of advocacy for elimination of torture from the society. In the light of our field experience, SACH has adopted the strategy of reaching out to communities, identification of torture victims, treatment and rehabilitation of victims through multi-disciplinary approach, capacity building and care for care givers, as well as winning credibility and partnerships for a proficient advocacy effort in the society. SACH has been striving to make a difference in the lives of torture victims not only through multi-disciplinary treatment and rehabilitation strategy, but through advocacy on national and international levels for effective implementation of UNCAT in order to prevent torture practices in the society. The presentation will be based on lessons learned and best practices adopted in SACH’s field work for supporting torture victims, including practices that proved effective and to what extent, instances when actions could not produce desired results and underlying reasons, and the challenges SACH has faced in the 22 years of its interventions, demonstrating how things have changed over the years.


Prevention and rehabilitation both are part of the fight against torture. Based on the fact, the presentation will lead to increased awareness among audience that treatment and rehabilitation activities have some impact on the prevention of torture; however, usually it creates very little impact on the occurrence of torture. The approach to combating torture in a society must involve a multi-disciplinary treatment of torture victims, as well as awareness-raising, lobbying for legislative changes in conformity with international standards and denouncing torture practices. SACH adheres to such an approach in the form of service delivery through medical care, physiotherapy, psychosocial support, and rehabilitation activities, as well as advocacy efforts that are channelized for elimination and prevention of torture through sensitization, capacity building, dialogues and consultations, and calling for rule of law in conformity to UNCAT implementation.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

The presentation is based on SACH’s experiential learning and lessons learned from field work. Information shared thereof doesn’t call for any claims from other entities.

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