Why an Atlas of Torture?
Despite their universal and absolute prohibition, torture and ill-treatment remain a global crisis affecting the majority of States worldwide.
The Atlas of Torture seeks to use the potential of technology to connect and empower human rights defenders, practitioners and individuals in the global fight against torture. It aims to:
- Raise awareness on the problem of torture and ill-treatment and how it can be prevented through documentation, learning and exchange.
- Ensure easy access to information on torture and ill-treatment.
- Strengthen cooperation and exchange among those fighting torture and ill-treatment.
What is the Atlas of Torture?
The Atlas of Torture is a resource for States, civil society organisations, researchers, human rights defenders and the public at large. It provides for the possibility to access information, engage in learning and exchange and get involved in the fight against torture and ill-treatment. The Atlas of Torture, however, neither maps individual cases nor analyses the phenomenon of torture and ill-treatment. Instead, it encourages users to use the available data for their own analysis.
The core element of the new Atlas of Torture is a user-friendly database on the situation of torture and ill-treatment and how it can be prevented. The database provides information on:
- Relevant publications of international and national human rights organisations, defenders and researchers.
- The international legal framework, with a special focus on the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and its Optional Protocol as well as references to other key sources of international law.
- Specific thematic issues (e.g. deprivation of liberty, gender-based violence etc.)
The database covers a variety of sources ranging from documents by UN and regional bodies to reports by State actors and civil society organisations. The Atlas of Torture covers in their entirety the key UN regulatory and monitoring bodies focused on torture and ill-treatment. This includes the UN Committee against Torture (CAT), the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (UNSRT) and the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT). These documents are uploaded periodically (i.e. according to the UN sessions schedule). Additional sources covered periodically are UN treaty bodies (CCPR/CRC/CEDAW/CED/CRPD/CERD/CMW - documents covered: relevant General Comments and jurisprudence) as well as regional organisations and their subsidiary bodies and mechanisms, such as the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT – documents covered: CPT standards, annual reports) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR – documents covered: all torture and ill-treatment related reports). Other sources, such as reports by civil society organisations and other national and international bodies, are covered only on an ad-hoc basis. This means that the database contains individual publications submitted to the Atlas of Torture by organisations themselves as well as relevant publications that have come to the attention of the Atlas of Torture team, but not necessarily a comprehensive collection. The database covers only publications in German, English or French.
The database is built on Uwazi, an open-source solution for organising, analysing and publishing documents and make information more easily accessible designed by HURIDOCS. It allows users to search for documents via various filters (like e.g. country, theme, source, document type, year of publication) obtaining targeted search results.
Projects & Activities Map
The Atlas of Torture provides a map of the relevant actors engaged in the fight against torture and ill-treatment and their work. The map will give a global overview on:
- The actors engaged in the fight against torture and ill-treatment – from civil society and states to regional and international organisations (e.g. SPT, CPT, SRT).
- Past, present and future projects and activities carried out worldwide (e.g. projects, country visits, trainings, conferences, workshops, and lectures etc.)
Creating greater visibility for the work of organisations and actors worldwide, it provides users with an overview of the key actors involved in the fight against torture and ill-treatment. The aim of the map is to make it easier to identify potential partners to cooperate and coordinate with, thereby improving synergies and reducing overlaps. The content of the interactive map can be searched through various filters, including by themes, groups or past, present and future projects and activities.
The Learning Platform enables users to learn about torture and ill-treatment and strengthen their capacities. The Platform aims to:
- Collect and link to lectures, trainings, interviews, conferences, e-courses and other relevant material in video or audio format.
- Encourage and support actors worldwide to produce learning materials.
The Learning Platform explores the use of innovative formats in order to raise awareness on the topic of torture and ill-treatment. Audio/video materials are a powerful tool to raise awareness and they have a greater chance of being disseminated more broadly, thus increasing the impact of our work. As with the other components, the Learning Platform’s content can be easily searched by using filters.
The Exchange Platform allows users to exchange information on thematic issues related to torture and ill-treatment, new developments as well as to disseminate the results of their work. In open or closed formats, users will be able to participate in or launch new online discussions and to screen live online events, including webinars. The Exchange Platform aims to foster exchange across borders and disciplines thereby strengthening cooperation and establishing new partnerships and coalitions.
How can you support?
Join our community!
The aim of the website is to generate a community of users and contributors to make the Atlas of Torture website sustainable in the long-run. We encourage everyone who is interested in the fight against torture to reach out and partner up with us! You can share your work– in written, audio or video format – as well as your projects and activities by using the online submission forms, or participating and launching online discussions in the Exchange Platform
Close cooperation with you and other anti-torture organisations is key!