International studies show that 20% or more of all asylum seekers have been exposed to torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in their home country. Τhis means that in Greece the number of victims can potentially be as large as 10-20.000 persons.
To recover from the experience of torture is a complex and difficult process that can last for years. However, we believe that all torture victims should have the right to receive treatment from trained professionals that can assist the victim to ease the pain and the suffering. We also believe that by putting focus on torture we provide our contribution to the world wide fight to prevent torture.
WHAT IS TORTURE?
The term torture means…
Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person For such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, When such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. Article 1 of the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The violence may include: beating, electroshock, stretching, waterboarding, suffocation, burns, rape, sexual harassment and abuse, prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, threats, humiliation, mock executions, mock amputations, forced witnessing in others’ torture and many other techniques.
Perpetrators may include: governmental agencies, organized bodies such as the police or security forces, military or paramilitary forces, personnel working in prisons or detention centres, or prisoners who acted on the order of or forced by officers, rebel forces and forces acting against guerrilla forces, opposition groups, legal and health professionals or other persons acting on behalf of or with the consent of public officials, death squads, or ordinary citizens in situations of war and generalized violence.
BEING A VOT (Victim Of Torture): Consequences of torture
Torture can have long term physical and psychological consequences on the victims
The physical as much as the psychological consequences, including disabilities, post traumatic stress disorder, increased anxiety, insomnia, depression, a feeling of guilt, shame or humiliation and other such psychological disorders may have severe consequences on the victims and their family life and well-being.
These consequences need to be discovered and addressed through the provision of assistance and rehabilitation measures.