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
The Fund assists individuals whose human rights have been severely violated as a result of torture, with the aim of rebuilding their lives and restoring their dignity. For the definition of torture under international law click here.
The Fund is mandated to provide direct assistance to victims of torture and their family members through grants awarded to non-governmental channels of assistance, including NGOs, rehabilitation centres, associations of victims 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.
Direct assistance to victims may take the form of humanitarian, medical, psychological, legal and financial aid. Since its establishment by the General Assembly in 1981 (resolution 36/151), the Fund has awarded grants to more than 600 organizations, providing rehabilitation to more than 50,000 victims worldwide every year.
The Fund supports projects with a clear victim-centered focus, through annual grants of between US$20,000 and US$80,000, awarded on a competitive basis. Grants may be renewed if conditions are met. A call for applications is issued every year in January.
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, to review policies and to adopt recommendations on grants.
Between April and October, 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 in October are then transmitted to the Secretary-General for his 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)