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"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."(Article 5, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948)

The Unit for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture is dedicated to helping victims of torture and their families rebuild their lives, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or economic or legal status.

Who is a victim of torture?

For our purposes, a victim of torture is anyone who has experienced any form of torture, which is defined as "any act by which severe pain and suffering, whether physical or mental is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person."

Victims of torture in Cyprus are mainly asylum seekers. Hence, their protection and needs are met mainly by the Cyprus Refugee Law 2000. In accordance to the Refugee law as well as Cyprus' EU and International obligations the element of torture must be examined and taken into consideration when examining an asylum seeker's application for asylum. The victims that are treated by URVT are asylum seekers and persons granted with international protection status, and are referred to us by the Asylum Service or the Reviewing Authority for Refugees, Ministry of Interior, which are the competent authorities that examine asylum claims. The referral is based on an obligation stipulated in the Cyprus Refugee Law (Article 15) according to which when an applicant claims torture or where it is suspected that a person is a victim of torture or in the case where there is strong indication that a person is a victim of torture, the competent authority must refer him/her for medical examination. Currently referrals for medical examination are brought before a Medical Committee, which consists of public doctors. After it is certified that a person is a victim of torture then he/she is referred to URVT for rehabilitation. URVT also offers rehabilitation services to asylum seekers or persons granted with international protection status, who are victims of trafficking.

Torture victims arriving in Cyprus are mainly, Kurds from Turkey, Kurds from Syria, Syrians (Arab), Iranians, Palestinians. We have also had cases from Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Pakistan. URVT follows the definition on torture and the procedures as stipulated in the Istanbul Protocol.

If you are unsure if you have been a victim of torture, please contact us for further information. We will not turn anyone away.