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The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture offers emergency funding to provide direct assistance to the victims of torture in exceptional circumstances.

Who can apply

As a general rule, only applications by civil society organizations, directly assisting torture survivors in exceptional circumstances to access legal, medical, psychological, social and humanitarian assistance are admissible.

Applications by governmental, parliamentary or administrative entities, political parties and/or national liberation movements are inadmissible.

When to apply

Applications for emergency grants can be submitted at any time throughout the year, provided that they meet the emergency criteria outlined below.

Special calls

The Fund may also issue special calls for emergency grant applications to respond to a surge in torture victims’ needs during a specific crisis and open for determined period. Examples of past special calls include the COVID-19 pandemic (2020), Rohingya refugee crisis (2018), civil war in Syria (2015), crisis in Mali (2013) and aftermath of the Arab Spring (2012).

Amount and duration

The Fund awards emergency grants for a maximum amount of 100,000 USD and for a maximum duration of 12 months (with no possibility of renewal or extension).


Applications must be submitted in English, French or Spanish.

Emergency funding criteria

The Fund considers emergency grant applications eligible only if they respond to the following emergency rationale:

  • Sudden change in circumstances that has caused an
  • Extraordinary increase (surge) in the needs of torture survivors for assistance requiring an
  • Immediate response.

Emergency grants respond, for example, to the following:

Human rights crisis:

  • political strife or uprising
  • landmark trial (torture survivors requiring additional assistance)
  • detrimental policy or institutional change in places of deprivation of liberty

Humanitarian crisis:

  • armed conflict
  • sudden influx of refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced people or migrants

Emergency grants do not respond, for example, to the following:

  • existing and systemic patterns of torture
  • cashflow difficulties of the organization

How to apply

Organizations interested in applying for an emergency grant should contact the Fund's Secretariat* providing brief information (a) on the emergency context (with a brief justification of how the emergency situation is aligned with the specified criteria cited above and) (b) brief information about the organization’s experience in providing services specifically to torture survivors.

Upon contacting the Secretariat, organizations will receive information on how to register and access to the OHCHR eGrants Online System., where they can proceed to submit their Emergency Grant project application.

*Secretariat:  [email protected] and [email protected]

Reference documents

For more detailed information about how to apply for an emergency grant, interested organizations are invited to refer to the: