29 September 2016
British NGO REDRESS opens new office in The Hague
The Hague – Today human rights organisation REDRESS officially started their operations in The Hague, the international city of peace and justice. REDRESS works to eradicate the practice of torture, prosecute torturers and ensure that survivors of torture obtain reparation for all the harm they suffered. The new organisation in The Hague will be a platform to extend their presence in Europe and globally.
REDRESS team marking the official opening of the office in The Hague. Paul Lomas (Chair of the Board of REDRESS Nederland), Carla Ferstman (Director of REDRESS), Juergen Schurr (Head of Law and Policy), Gaelle Carayon (Post-Conflict Legal Advisor), Nader Diab (Legal Officer), Jeremie Kouzmine (REDRESS intern). Photo by Gerrit de Heus
Why The Hague?
REDRESS, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), helps torture survivors obtain justice and reparation. The Hague, as the epicentre for international justice work is a natural fit for REDRESS, and builds on REDRESS’ long experience of collaborating with the International Criminal Court and other international justice institutions on issues such as victim participation and reparation in criminal trials. As an internationally focussed organisation it is important for REDRESS to have a base in a city and country that best exemplifies that outlook.
Vice Mayor Van Engelshoven: “The Hague is the epicentre for international justice work and in that perspective a natural fit for REDRESS. I am sure they will feel at home in the international city of Peace and Justice.”
Juergen Schurr, Head of Law and Policy at REDRESS: “We are delighted by the warm welcome and extensive support we have received from the City of The Hague and its partners, and are especially thankful to the team at WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency and Briddge Legal & Finance. It can be a complex task to set up a new base in another country within a short period of time. We have been amazed by the degree of professional support and encouragement we have received and it underscores to us that we have made a great decision to join the vibrant international community in The Hague.”
REDRESS is embarking on an ambitious plan to extend its collaborations with organisations worldwide to address the scourge of torture. They are a member of the steering committee of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and their presence in The Hague will help to strengthen ties with NGO partners, court officials, the diplomatic, legal and academic community. It will also help extend their work with the European Union’s Network of Contact Points on Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, whose Secretariat is based in The Hague. REDRESS has been one of the main proponents of the Network and looks forward to further collaborating with it on its efforts to end safe havens for some of the worst criminals.
REDRESS is convinced that the way forward is to increase their resolve, strengthen civil society coalitions, and build partnerships between the public and private sectors. Increasingly, domestic, regional and international courts are setting important precedents in the area of victims’ redress and these rulings must be shared, replicated and extended for the benefit of all.
REDRESS was founded in the United Kingdom in 1992 by a British survivor of torture – Keith Carmichael. He was detained without charge and tortured in Saudi Arabia for 3.5 years in the 1980s. When he was eventually released, he decided to establish REDRESS to work to eradicate the practice of torture, prosecute torturers and ensure that survivors of torture obtain reparation for all the harm they suffered. This remains REDRESS’ focus till today.
Founder Mr. Keith Carmichael
REDRESS works with survivors to help restore their dignity and to make torturers accountable REDRESS prioritises the interests and perspectives of survivors in all aspects of its work. The highest priority in decisions and interventions is given to promoting survivors’ well-being and the avoidance of further traumatisation.
Keith Carmichael with Pink Floyd at benefit concert in London in 1994
This news article is also available in Dutch