The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture - What the Fund is
“Under international law, States have an obligation to prevent and combat torture. Equally important, States are also obliged to provide redress to victims of torture, including rehabilitation. The UN Fund for Victims of Torture is a practical tool of the United Nations Human Rights Office to support torture victims in need of rehabilitation and assistance. It responds, both rapidly and in the long term, to the plight of thousands of victims who would otherwise remain unattended and marginalized. Its important work relies on strong, continuous contributions by States and private donors, so that the Fund can fulfil its unique mandate in support of victims of torture worldwide."
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 2008-2014
See the video testimonies about the Fund.
The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is a unique and universal humanitarian tool available to the UN and OHCHR providing direct assistance to victims of torture and their family members wherever torture occurs. For Q&A on the Fund, please click here.
The Fund aims at healing the physical and psychological consequences of torture on victims and their families, and thus restoring their dignity and role in the society. Direct assistance to victims may take the form of humanitarian, medical, psychological, legal and financial aid.
The Fund has a unique victim-centered focus and operates through a multi-stakeholder approach: it supports civil society through contributions received by Member States; it avails itself of the independent expertise of Trustees, and reaches out to victims on the ground, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of its mandate.
Since its establishment by the General Assembly in 1981 (resolution 36/151), the Fund has awarded more than 620 organizations and centres worldwide reaching out over 50,000 victims every year. These include NGOs, rehabilitation centres, victim associations and family members, private and public hospitals, legal clinics, public interest law firms and individual lawyers.
To see and read stories from projects supported by the Fund click here.
The fund also promotes accountability and, to that end, works in coordination with the Committee against Torture (CAT) and the special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Fund is managed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the advice of a Board of Trustees composed of independent experts from the five world regions. The Board meets twice a year to determine priorities, review policies and adopt recommendations on grants.
Between April and September, the Secretariat of the UN Torture Fund analyses new applications as well as narrative, financial and audit reports on the use of previous grants. It also organizes pre-screening visits to new applicants and regular monitoring visits to grantees.
The recommendations on grants adopted by the Board of Trustees in October are then transmitted to the Secretary-General for approval. As a rule, grants are disbursed in January, for the 12 months ahead.
Download the Mission Statement of the Fund in E | F | S (PDF)
For more information about the Fund download the flyer in E | F | S (PDF)
Download the brochure of the Fund click here (PDF)