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The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture

Purpose of the Fund

The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is a unique UN operation that gives direct help to victims of torture and their families. It was established in 1981 by the General Assembly (resolution 36/151) to focus global attention on the needs of torture victims. The Fund’s aim is to help victims and their families to rebuild their lives and to seek redress for the human rights violations they have suffered.

How the Fund works

The Fund awards hundreds of grants to civil society organizations worldwide to deliver medical, psychological, legal, social and other assistance to the victims of torture. The voluntary contributions that the Fund receives, mostly from Member States, contribute to rehabilitation, reparation, empowerment and access to remedies for nearly 50,000 torture survivors each year.

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 regions of the world.

Beneficiaries of the Fund

The Fund awards grants to civil society organizations ranging from grassroots and survivor-led initiatives to well-established human rights organizations and rehabilitation centers. The Fund’s grantees provide direct services to torture survivors in situations of particular vulnerability including: children, youth, persons deprived of liberty, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, migrants including asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons, LGBTI persons, people tortured in detention, victims of enforced disappearances, and victims of sexual violence in armed conflict, among others.

The Fund in 2021

In 2021, the Fund awarded 171 annual grants for civil society organizations to implement projects for direct assistance to torture victims, for a total of 7,164,000 USD. The Fund also awarded six annual grants to help build the capacity of civil society organizations providing vital services to survivors.
In addition, the Fund allocated over 700,000 USD for emergency grants to be awarded on an as-needed basis throughout the year to respond to human rights and humanitarian crises.

Fact Sheet on 2021 activities (PDF)

List of grants in 2021 (PDF)

Key documents

Mission statement of the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture: English | Français | Español (PDF)

Flyer for the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture: العربية | English | Français | Español (PDF)

Latest reports

United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture - Report of the Secretary-General: Presented in August 2020, this report outlines the activities undertaken by the Fund from 1 January to 30 June 2020, including its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. View document A/75/316

United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture - Report of the Secretary-General: This report complements A/74/233, providing information on the activities of the Fund and the recommendations for grants adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Fund at its fiftieth session, held in Geneva from 7 to 11 October 2019. View document A/HRC/43/25

​Latest News


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Activities

Webinar in commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture & 40th anniversary of the Fund
25 June 2021

COVID-19 response and emergency grants
June 2020

The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture awarded 17 COVID-19 emergency grants, assisting nearly 4,000 torture survivors
December 2020

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture Combatting torture and ill-treatment in times of COVID-19: Testimonies from the ground. Joint statement - English | Français | Español and webinar recording
26 June 2020

Videos

An introduction to the Fund: Healing through rehabilitation
2019
Watch on Vimeo in English |  العربية | 中文 | Français | русский | Español

Emergency support to Rohingya victims that fled to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
2020
Watch on Vimeo

The Abuelas Search for Truth and Justice – four decades of UN advocacy by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo of Argentina to find their disappeared grandchildren
2019
Watch on Vimeo

Kate Gilmore: Torture victims in the context of migration
21 June 2017
Watch on YouTube


The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture
Apply for a grant
Contribute to the Fund
Others involved
Contact information

United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture,
OHCHR-UNOG, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneve 10,
Switzerland

Tel: (41) 22 917 9315
Fax: (41) 22 917 9017
Email: unvfvt@ohchr.org