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UN Week – 3/19/12

March 20, 2012

This blog entry is written by members of our blogging community and expresses those experts’ views alone.

by John and Douglas Carey

Contents of this issue: Torture victims’assistance.

 A UN report just released describes the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, A/HRC/19/26. This is not to be confused with a private fund-raising organization, the Center for Victims of Torure. . The UN “Fund provides grants to non-governmental organizations and other channels of assistance that submit projects involving medical, psychological, social, financial, legal and humanitarian or other forms of assistance to torture victims and their relatives. * * *

 “The beneficiaries must be direct victims of torture and/or direct family members. Priority is given to projects providing direct assistance to torture victims, which could consist of medical or psychological assistance, help with social or financial reintegration through vocational training for victims, and various forms of legal assistance for victims or members of their families, including assistance for seeking redress or applying for asylum.” Id. at 2.

 Various countries are listed as having made contributions between January 1 and November 30, 2011. None gave over $1,000,000 except the US, which contributed $5,700,000. Individuals as a group gave $25,285, Holy See ($1,000), Morocco ($3,000), Kuwait ($10,000), Qatar ($10,000), and the United Arab Emirates ($9,982).

 Shockingly, not one of the Permanent Members of the Security Council except the US gave anything. Equally shockingly, not one of the countries represented on the Fund’s Board of Trustees (Argentina, Serbia, Portugal, Egypt and India) gave anything. This is especially disappointing in the case of Argentina, which during its “Dirty War” allegedly dropped drugged prisoners from helicopters into the ocean, and took infants from their mothers for adoption before disposing of the mothers.

 At the same time, Argentina has done much to reform its past torture practices, having brought to trial scores of former officials. According to the latest book published by our son Professor Henry F. Carey of Georgia State University, “The peer pressure that led to so much harm by the junta has led to a positive peer pressure in recent times to get back on the right side of history by going further than any other government in the world has.” Reaping What You Sow: A Comparative Examination of Torture Reform in the United States, France, Argentina, and Israel. (Praeger, 2012) 174.

 Anyone interested in supporting the UN’s efforts at aiding torture victims could, according to the report cited above, send a check in US dollars to the United Nations Geneva General Fund, account No. 485001802, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, International Agencies Banking, 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 17th floor, New York, NY 10036-2708 (Swift code: CHAS US 33; ABA code 021000021). Individual donors’ names were given in reports prior to the one cited, but not in this one.


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