International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: Dignity Comes First
26 June marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a cause to which Dr Inge Genefke, Right Livelihood Award Laureate 1988, has dedicated her life.
As Dr Genefke said in her acceptance speech, “That is what scares the torture victims: The blind indifference of the world. They themselves have not shown blind indifference.” Neither has she, forming the first Amnesty International medical group in Denmark in 1973. In those days, treating the physical and psychological effects of torture was still a work for pioneers, which led to the establishment of organisations such as DIGNITY and theInternational Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, both based in Copenhagen.
As the UN reports: “Recovering from torture requires prompt and specialised programmes. The work of rehabilitation centres and organisations around the world has demonstrated that victims can make the transition from horror to healing.” It is thanks to Dr Genefke’s legacy that torture survivors can now find the assistance and treatments they need.
But the work is not over yet. Together with IRCT, Swedish Red Cross and Kvinna till Kvinna, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation is organising a discussion on the topic of ‘Life After Torture’ during this year’s foremost Swedish political forum known as Almedalen. With unprecedented numbers of people fleeing from violence in recent years, what does Sweden and the world need to do today to support victims of torture?