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UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture
The work of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is guided by the advice of an independent Board of Trustees, comprised of a Chairperson and four members, one from each geographical region. Members are appointed by the Secretary-General for a period of three years, renewable once. They have expertise in human rights, in particular torture and its effects on individuals, families and communities, as well as knowledge of other relevant fields such as fundraising and project management.
Dr. Vivienne Nathanson (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is a medical physician and lecturer in public health. She served for years at the British Medical Association as Director of Professional Activities. She is currently Principal Advisor on Public Health to the World Medical Association and Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Formerly, she sat on the Board of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), the largest network of torture rehabilitation centres worldwide.
Ms. Nathanson has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2017.
Vacant position (Asia-Pacific)
Dr. Vladimir Jović (Serbia) is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst specialized in torture rehabilitation and prevention. In 1997, he founded the IAN Center for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (CRTV) in Serbia. He has served as expert on mental health in prisons, psychiatric hospitals and other places of detention for the National Preventive Mechanism and the Protector of Citizens (Ombudsman) of Serbia and advised international entities, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Dr Jović coordinated the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) global project to document torture. Since 2001, he provides clinical treatment at the Private Psychoanalytic and Psychiatric Clinic MEDIAN .
Mr. Jović has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2020.
Mr. Juan E. Méndez (Argentina) is an internationally renowned human rights lawyer, who served as UN Special Rapporteur against Torture (2010 - 2016) and as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (2004-2007). His illustrious career, portrayed in his autobiography “Taking a Stand”, began as a defense lawyer of political prisoners during the military junta in Argentina, where he was held as a prisoner of conscience. He served on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and held leadership positions in Human Rights Watch and the International Center for Transitional Justice, amongst others. He is currently the Faculty Director of the Anti-Torture Initiative of the American University Washington College of Law and a visiting professor at the University of Oxford.
Mr. Méndez has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2020.
Mr. Lawrence Murugu Mute (Kenya) is a lecturer at the School of Law of the University of Nairobi, with expertise in equality law, disability rights law and human rights law. He served as the Vice Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, member of the Committee on the Prevention of Torture, and member of the Working Group on Older Persons and People with Disabilities. He has worked with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION).
Mr. Murugu Mute has been a member of the Fund’s Board since 2017 and its current chairperson since March 2022.
In the exercise of its advisory functions, the Board of Trustees recommends grant applications, advises on policy matters and engages in fundraising and outreach, including holding consultations with donors, project leaders and strategic partners.
The Board collaborates extensively with other UN anti-torture mechanisms (the Committee against Torture, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Torture), as well as other international, regional and national stakeholders combatting torture and its consequences.
The Board meets twice a year to determine priorities and review its policies and practices (March session) and to adopt recommendations on grants (October session).