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June 26: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

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A high percentage of refugees arriving in Greece are victims of torture. More than 1,200 individuals have been certified in the framework of METAdrasi’s activity “Certification of Torture Victims”.

Ali from Iraq mentioned to us: “Half of the total years of my imprisonment I had been held with fellow prisoners in the area of executions, under conditions of overcrowding. All the years I spent in prison there was no space for me to walk. Nerves atrophied, muscles atrophied, I got problems in the joints, I got deformed. Witnessing mass executions was for many years an integral part of my everyday life. Each day they would bring another batch”.

33-year-old Dahab, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was tortured in the presence of her son, a fact which caused her extra guilts for what her child had seen and heard. The health problems she is still facing, as a consequence of the tortures she had been submitted to, burden her even more. “I don’t even know what life is anymore”, she told us.

Victims of torture are persecuted in their country of origin for reasons such as: political action of themselves or of a member of their family, sexual orientation and/or gender identity, religion, racial or ethnic origin.

These people bear visible or invisible scars in their body and soul. Unfortunately, many of them continue to live under precarious conditions, not receiving the proper support and rehabilitation services they are entitled to, both for the defense of their rights, as well as for their physical and mental health. Consequently, their identification, in the field, as torture survivors and the accessibility to certification are of vital importance. Equally substantial is the constant specialised training by experts for the professionals in the provision of services towards the refugee population.

Photo credits: Yannis Behrakis / REUTERS