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15 July 2002

15 July 2002

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has approved, on behalf of the Secretary-General, grants amounting to about $7,8 million to organizations supporting survivors of torture.

The Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture recommended these grants at its twenty first session, held in Geneva from 13 to 27 May 2002. 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 this year focused its recommendations exclusively on projects providing direct assistance to victims of torture. 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 family. Therefore, Board members did not provide any grant for applications concerning training, seminar or conferences for health or other professionals providing direct assistance to victims of torture.

Grants were allocated to some 200 organizations working in more than 60 countries worldwide and assisting about 80,000 victims of torture and members of their families. The Board also recommended maintaining an amount for emergency assistance to individual victims of torture or to programmes already financed by the Fund that could encounter financial difficulties.

For the year 2002, the Board has received requests for grants amounting to more than US$12 million, which represents an increase of $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 Board has also expressed during a meeting its gratitude to about 40 regular donor Governments for having given voluntary contributions in time for allocation at its twenty first session.

It was estimated that new applications for grants for the year 2003, which should be submitted to the secretariat of the Fund by 30 November 2002, would amount to at least $13 million. New voluntary contributions are therefore needed and should be paid before 1 March 2003 in order to be officially recorded by the United Nations Treasurer well in advance of the twenty- second session of the Board of Trustees in May 2003.

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-seventh session (the previous report is contained in documents A/56/181 and E/CN.4/2002/66).

For more information, please contact the Funds secretariat at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Trust Funds Unit, telephone (41.22) 917.93.15, fax (41.22) 917.90.17, e-mail: vfvt.hchr@, website: vftortur.htm

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