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

Time: 11:10 to 11:30

Data in the Fight against Impunity: Evidencing human rights violations and rehabilitation rights of survivors of torture through the IRCT global clinical database

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Ms. Leanne MacMillan ( IRCT - Denmark ), Ms. Felicitas Treue ( Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad (CCTI) - Mexico ), Ms. Bojana Trivuncic ( International Aid Network - Serbia ), Mr John Alster Soriano ( Medical Action Group - Phillipines )


Torture rehabilitation centers hold unique information about torture, perpetrators, torture contexts and the rehabilitation path of survivors, their families and communities. IRCT centers took up the challenge of capturing and managing this data across contexts and countries, respecting client confidentiality and consent. Working initially in partnership in 10 countries, then adding another 23, they developed a clinical database comprising thousands of client records that can be used for individual, thematic, country and regional reporting on torture and its survivors. The data can also be used to inform the right to rehabilitation.


An initial selection process was carried out to identify torture rehabilitation centers in a range of political and security contexts, low and middle resource countries, and working within a range of practice settings and survivor populations. A baseline survey identified the number of torture survivor clients, clinical record completion levels, how records were held, secured and analyzed at the individual and service/practice level. Over 18 months, partners working in rehabilitation clinics in 10 countries, an IT expert and project manager built the database. At two global meetings 100 plus data elements that fit the clinical needs of the wide range of contexts and survivor profiles was agreed. Most importantly, the database includes fields for the full range of holistic rehabilitation services. After 11 partners piloted the database, it was modified and 23 more centres added. In its third year, the database and the project was externally evaluated and modifications made to meet user needs. Partners were trained on delivering human rights outputs through advocacy, litigation, communications and campaigning approaches using the data drawn from the database. Periodic static reports issued at the service level on 30 common elements are used to identify trends in torture and survivors rehabilitation needs.


The partners developed an unprecedented, globally relevant clinical record keeping system that captures the range of data collected through holistic torture rehabilitation services. Partners will present the strategic thinking behind its development, review its structure and framework used to negotiate its content and functionality to make it relevant and secure across countries. Demonstrating the database, participants will see how comprehensive it is and how to contribute to the building of a global dataset that is highly relevant to the implementation of the right to rehabilitation and the fight against impunity. Partners will report on the human rights outputs they have generated based on the database including practice level trend analysis, thematic reports and interventions in the UN treaty body system based on the data. The project complies with the highest standards of ethical research standards, client confidentiality and informed consent by all survivors included in the database.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

The project is funded by EU EIDHR funds, additional support from IRCT core funders Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. No conflicts of interest to declare.

By continuing your visit to this website, you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. Yes I accept