OHCHR Humanitarian Funds - what the Funds are

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The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (hereinafter “the UN Torture Fund”) and the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery (hereinafter “the UN Slavery Fund”) are United Nations voluntary trust funds administered by the Secretary-General through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. These humanitarian Funds are mandated to provide direct assistance – humanitarian, legal and financial - to victims and their family members. Funding is obtained by means of voluntary contributions from Governments, non-governmental organisations, private or public entities and individuals.

UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture

The UN Torture Fund was established by the General Assembly in 1981 (resolution 36/151) to offer, through established channels of assistance, humanitarian assistance to victims of torture and members of their family.

The types of humanitarian assistance provided to victims include, inter alia, medical, psychological, legal, social and economic assistance. In addition, the Fund supports trainings for the professional development of staff and other personnel, allowing them to share best practices and lessons learned.

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UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Contemporary Forms of Slavery

The UN Slavery Fund was established by the General Assembly in 1991 (resolution 46/122) to offer, through established channels of assistance, humanitarian, legal and financial aid to individuals who are victims of contemporary forms of slavery.

The Fund focuses particularly on individuals who suffered from the most severe forms of human rights violations occurring in the context of slavery, as well as the most identifiable contemporary forms of slavery – inter alia, chattel slavery, debt bondage, human trafficking, serfdom, child labour and servitude, forced labour, and/or forced marriage.

The type of humanitarian assistance provided to victims includes, inter alia, housing, legal aid, psycho-social support, food, medical care, vocational training and sustainable sources of incomes.

>>Read more about the UN Slavery Fund

Structure of the Funds

Each fund is administrated by the Secretary-General with the advice of a Board of Trustees, composed of five UN experts  (a Chairperson and four other members from the five regional groups: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Western European and Others Group).

The Secretariat of the UN Torture and Slavery Funds, located in OHCHR’s Human Rights Treaty Bodies Division, is the operational arm of the Funds. The Secretariat prescreens applications received, monitors and evaluates the use of grants and provides support to the Funds’ Board of Trustees during their annual sessions.