Frequently Asked Questions about the APT
What is the APT doing for victims of torture?
Many human rights NGO’s are working towards the same ultimate goal: a world without torture or other forms of ill-treatment. We wholeheartedly support and collaborate with international and national organisations which focus on documenting and denouncing acts of torture and on the rehabilitation of victims. However, the APT concentrates on the prevention of torture: we encourage all actors to adopt measures that would prevent future violations and future victims. This includes advocacy for the creation of complaints system and effective redress for victims of torture.
Why does the APT not denounce states that practice torture?
Publicly denouncing torture is important but this traditional “blaming and shaming” strategy is already carried out in an effective way by numerous other NGOs. The APT has a complementary and unique focus on torture prevention through advocacy, training and advice. Our objective is to empower our partners to take concrete actions to effectively prevent torture and ill-treatment in their countries. This requires dialogue and cooperation with the authorities. A preventive strategy can therefore only be implemented in countries where the authorities have a political will to combat torture and ill-treatment. On the other side, reducing the risk of torture is needed everywhere as there is no country “immune from torture”.
Why is the APT not working with individual cases of torture?
Once torture has taken place, it is essential for the fight against torture to document and denounce individual cases. Several other NGOs are offering legal and medical assistance to victims of torture and fight against impunity and the APT is cooperating with them. Our approach, focused on prevention, is complementary. Through encouraging effective legal framework, regular visits to places of detention, effective complaints mechanisms we create conditions that would reduce the risks of violations. By working on the system as a whole, rather than on specific individual cases, our aim is to build an environment where torture is less likely to occur.
How does the APT decide on countries to engage with?
An effective preventive strategy requires a certain level of political will to combat torture, which is publicly stated and able to be monitored. In an environment where torture is systematically used to silence political opposition, prevention initiatives are likely to fail or be used for political propaganda.
This is why the first criteria for our engagement in a country is a certain level of political will to fight against torture. Other criteria include:
- the existence of a local partner (this can be an NGO, a National human rights institutions, or even a Ministry)
- the possibility for a relatively small NGO like the APT to have a direct impact
How does the APT select its partners?
The APT is working in partnership with different types of organisations depending on the country. Our Partners are NGOs, national human rights institutions, Ministries, academic institutions). Partnership requires trust and good communication based on:
- a common agenda regarding torture prevention strategies in the country
- possibly previous contacts and cooperation
- clear division of roles and responsibilities (ideally through a Memorandum of Understanding)
Can my organisation get funding through the APT?
The APT is an international NGO and not a donor. Therefore we are not directly funding other organisations. We can have however develop projects with local partner organisations for which we are raising funds jointly.