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26 June 2003

26 June 2003

The United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and Officer in charge of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, approved, on behalf of the Secretary-General, grants amounting to about US$ 7.2 million to organizations supporting survivors of torture.
The Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture recommended the grants at its twenty-second session, held in Geneva from 12 to 28 May 2003. The Board recommended that the whole amount of money available in the Fund at the session be allocated to grants. Due to financial limitations, the Board of Trustees recommended exclusively projects providing direct assistance to victims of torture and members of their families. The priority of the Fund’s mandate is to provide grants to projects providing direct medical, psychological, social, economic, legal, humanitarian or other forms of assistance to torture victims and members of their families. Board members thus were not able to provide any grants to applications concerning training, seminars or conferences for health or other professionals providing direct assistance to victims of torture.
Grants were allocated to some 200 organizations assisting victims of torture and members of their families in 77 countries. The Board also recommended maintaining an amount for emergency assistance to individual victims of torture or to programmes already financed by the Fund which could encounter financial difficulties.
For the year 2003, the Board has received requests for grants amounting to about US$13 million, which represents an increase of US$1 million in comparison with 2002. The Board has expressed concern over the implications of the continuing rise in the number of requests for financial assistance. The Fund is the major donor to medium and small-scale projects in this field worldwide. The Board expressed its gratitude to about 40 regular donors to the Fund at its annual meeting with them, thanking them for having given voluntary contributions in time for allocation at the twenty-second session.
New applications for grants for the year 2004 should be submitted to the Secretariat of the Fund by 30 November 2003. The amount requested by organizations for 2004 is estimated at $14 million, as the trend identified by the Board in the last six years has been to receive an increase of US$1 million minimum a year in the amount requested by applications submitted. New voluntary contributions are therefore needed and should be paid before 1 March 2004 in order to be officially recorded by the United Nations Treasurer well in advance of the twenty-third session of the Board of Trustees in May 2004.
Detailed information will be available in the Secretary-General’s forthcoming annual report on the Fund, which will be submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-eighth session (the previous report is contained in documents A/57/268 and E/CN.4/2003/61 and Add. 1).
For more information, please contact the Fund’s Secretariat at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Trust Funds Unit, telephone (0041.22) 917.93.15, Fax (0041.22) 917.90.17, e-mail: [email protected], website

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