Sir[a] is a Attention Center for Victims of Ill-treatment and Torture, dedicated to providing therapeutic, legal and psychosocial support. To date, we have assisted and accompanied more than 750 people directly or indirectly affected by human rights violations. In most cases, people who have been survivors of ill-treatment and torture in detention centers, in protests, in armed conflicts or along their migratory journeys, among other scenarios.
Despite the fact that torture is prohibited by international law and ratified by the more than 150 signatory countries of the "Convention against Torture", from Sir[a] - as do dozens of organizations linked to Human Rights - we have been warning and denouncing for years that it is a practice still in force, protected by the institutions and rooted among the different strata of the security apparatuses around the world. In the last 5 years alone, as reported by Amnesty International, cases of torture have been reported in more than 140 countries.
Faced with this scenario, from the Sir[a] Center and the Community Action Group (GAC) we want to continue standing. Our goal is to continue to report every abuse and every case of torture, while continuing to support the justice and reparation processes of those affected. With your support, we can contribute to making our Center a sustainable resource and, with it, guarantee the total psychosocial and legal support of our users.
From Sir[a] we want to continue standing against mistreatment and torture, as we have been doing for years. In 2011, our entity began its journey as the clinical branch of the Community Action Group (GAC), an organization that has been dedicated to the promotion of Mental Health and the defense of Human Rights for more than 20 years. Since then, and after having established ourselves as an independent organization in May 2016, we have been accompanying more than 750 patients affected by political violence, to become a reference group of professionals at an international level.
During the last years, we have responded to hundreds of cases related to serious violations of Human Rights both inside and outside the state. We have accompanied people who have suffered abuse during the expression of social movements and demonstrations; we have assisted people on the move who suffered episodes of torture during their migratory journey; and we have dealt with cases related to police abuse inside state prisons. In all these scenarios, we have worked both on the documentation and performance of forensic tests with which to support the complaints of the victims, as well as on providing the necessary clinical care for their psychological and psychiatric rehabilitation.
Now, putting in value all that we have walked to date, we are ready to embark on a new stage. For this reason, this year we have established ourselves as a Center for Attention to Victims of Ill-treatment and Torture, with the purpose of continuing to guarantee attention to the people affected, as well as the promotion of control, prevention and complaint mechanisms that serve to eradicate these practices, until they have no place in any context.
For this upcoming phase, we have moved into a new space and have expanded our team to better serve a greater number of people, while maintaining our values and our vision. In this sense, Sir[a] is governed by the principle of universal care, which means that our team offers its support to people who need it, regardless of their sociodemographic variable, their administrative situation, or their economic income.
Now, to go ahead with this project, we need to ensure its sustainability and financial independence for this course. That is why we invite you to support comprehensive care for survivors of abuse, helping to finance our work, as well as our efforts to denounce and point out each abuse. In short, we encourage you to continue to stand against torture together.
Is there still torture?
Torture is not an anachronistic or exclusively physical practice, nor is it limited to the scenes we see on television or in the movies. Far from this, from a medical-psychological point of view, torture is understood as the action of inflicting serious physical or psychological suffering on a person, with a certain political intention, either through discrimination, punishment or humiliation, among many others. In this way, just as we assume that torture can become a recurrent method in war scenarios, it is hard for us to imagine that torture also manifests itself in much more subtle ways and in more common and close spaces. Such as borders, detention centers, prisons or other institutional spaces.
In addition, in recent years, various international organizations have warned about the countless cases of torture inflicted on migrants and refugees. Although there are no consolidated figures on the incidence of torture around the world, the UNHCR estimates that between 5 and 35% of refugees have suffered it. For its part, the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT), in 2017, already warned that two thirds of the patients treated by the entity were migrants.
In this regard, Sir[a] has documented signs of degrading treatment and torture in different migratory detention spaces, such as the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos; the migratory stations in Mexico, and more recently on the southern Spanish border. All of them, spaces that cause a physical and psychic breakdown in people, as they attack their security, their basic needs, their dignity and even their ability to direct their own lives, because when facing their regularization process or request for International Protection , face the lack of information and, in many cases, arbitrariness. In short, elements that, if combined, fit perfectly with the definition of torture.
On the other hand, in what refers to Spain, it should be noted that both the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture have indicated
Our main objective is to continue contributing to the processes of justice and reparation of victims of political or institutional violence, guaranteeing their comprehensive care. That is, carrying out a coordinated action between the legal team, the psychosocial team, and the forensic team, always prioritizing the rehabilitation and the circumstances of the patient.
Sir[a]'s team has extensive experience in accompanying people who have suffered serious human rights violations, ill-treatment, and torture, including the evaluation of cases of historical memory in complaints against perpetrators.
Since our foundation, together with the Community Action Group (GAC), we have treated more than 750 patients; we have been part of more than 300 expert reports, and we have participated in around 60 litigations. Always, thanks to the effort of our technical and volunteer team. As a Center, our main lines of work are the realization of expert reports, therapeutic care, psycho-legal accompaniment, professional training, as well as research in the field of Human Rights, and Mental Health.
The Center for The Care of Victims of Torture and Ill-Treatment is made up of a team of professionals, including doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, communicators, lawyers, body therapists and traditional healers. From Sir[a] we also have a team of more than 20 people throughout the territory who collaborate as volunteers. Sir[a] has a physical headquarters in Madrid and teams and collaborators in Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia, as well as networks throughout the territory.