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Project information

Protecting UK nationals at risk of torture abroad

Ensuring that a government meets its international obligations and stays true to the absolute prohibition of torture is crucial to encourage greater assistance to victims. REDRESS will advocate the UK Government to secure the release of persons help in deplorable conditions in Iran and Ethiopia.

February 2017 - January 2019

Charity information: REDRESS

  • Need


    According to FCO data from 09/15, 2,000+ UK/dual nationals were detained abroad, with about 100 new ill-treatment cases each year. At present, REDRESS assists 3 British nationals arbitrary detained in Iran and Ethiopia and has pursued international remedies on their behalf. It has engaged the FCO to step up demarches, however, HMG has discretion as to whether and how strongly to pursue demarches with foreign governments and there is limited transparency and inadequate oversight.


    The funds will help REDRESS to advocate with family members of detainees to encourage HMG to do more to support these and other detainees and to strengthen Parliamentary oversight of consular cases involving torture. Also, it will assist REDRESS to increase pressure on the Government by engaging Parliament and the media, focusing on imposing conditions on aid and assistance programmes. The project will press the UK Government to do more to ensure that its nationals are free from torture.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increase pressure on the UK Government to strengthen support of British nationals detained abroad.


    » Foster 2 meetings for victims' families to engage with senior officials to present their case.
    » Set up 2 meeting in Parliament to strongly engage with the UK government to strengthen support to detainees abroad.

    What success will look like

    Success will mean the release of 3 persons held in deplorable condition in Iran and Ethiopia and consular policy in torture cases is made more effective.

    Aim 2

    The UK Parliament will be better informed of the situation of the UK/dual nationals detained abroad.


    » Hold 4 PQs debates and publish 1 policy report that informs 500+ MPs, HMG officials and other stakeholders about gaps in protection of detainees.
    » Involve public in 4 news and 2 social media campaigns to increase the awareness of risks facing nationals and explain plight of detainees.

    What success will look like

    Success will mean greater oversight and transparency giving 150+ detainees at risk of torture a year access to more transparent and effective consular support.

  • Impact


    The project aims to explain plight of detainees and need for effective HMG demarches, increase public awareness and pressure on HMG to make more effective diplomatic demarches. In long-term, this will foster greater attention to human rights in HMG foreign policy. Thus, the success will be demonstrated by monitoring the number of UK/dual nationals at risk of torture abroad. Success will mean HMG strengthening support to detainees abroad and demands the release of those arbitrary detained.


    There is a risk that the UK government will refuse to positively engage with REDRESS, thus, weakening the consular policies in torture cases. We will deal with this risk by fostering close links with MPs, HMG officials and other stakeholders to ensure greater oversight and pressure on HMG.


    Donors of this project will receive a quarterly newsletter on the project detailing the ongoing and forthcoming engagement with the UK government and public. At the end of the project, REDRESS will produce a report and share the produced policy report.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £27,859

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      Amount Heading Description
      £6,095 Running Costs Contribution towards: Office Rent; Office Supplies Audit and accounting
      £3,600 Volunteer Expenses To cover travel and lunch for Volunteer Interns
      £400 Marketing Costs Payment for media adds/Promotions in Social Media (on Facebook and Twitter)
      £200 Travel Expenses Travel to support victims families' travel
      £750 Report Report - print 350 copies; A4 report ; Appx 75 pages ; distribution
      £250 Research Costs Obtaining materials (Purchase of books, and research materials); translation of documents
      £16,564 Staff and Training Contribution towards Staff Salary

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    The People's Postcode Lottery £19,962 Guaranteed
    The Allen and Overy Foundation £5,000 Guaranteed
    The Oakdale Trust £750 Guaranteed
  • Background


    REDRESS work in the UK and abroad forges links with torture, inhumane and degrading treatment survivors and assists them in their efforts to obtain justice and reparation. This work operates out of REDRESS’ offices in Vauxhall, from where we support countless torture survivors living in London and throughout the UK, and from where we lead our support to grassroots organisations working to combat torture in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.


    The project will benefit directly 3 detainees and families REDRESS currently assists (25+ pp). Indirectly, results would feed into feed into REDRESS’ efforts to encourage the UK Government to make more transparent its overseas security and justice assistance policy, particularly in relation to countries where UK citizens are arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture. It could help around 2,000 UK/dual nationals detained abroad each year from whom about 20% in countries where torture is endemic

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    REDRESS is a leading UK-based NGO that assists torture survivors to obtain justice and reparation and holds accountable the governments and individuals who perpetrate it. In the UK, REDRESS works directly with survivors and front-line service providers on legal and associated support needs. It also advocates the Government to strengthen compliance with anti-torture obligations, such as ensuring that the Government affords adequate support to vulnerable victims including Britons tortured abroad.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Carla Ferstman

    Director, a Canadian qualified barrister and solicitor and has worked in the human rights field for 22 years.

    Juergen Schurr

    Head of Law and Policy, has worked with REDRESS for approximately 10 years.

    Eva Sanchis

    Head of Communications, who has 6 years’ experience working at REDRESS. She previously worked on several award-winning projects.

    Josie Fathers

    Advocacy Officer, has extensive experience working on human rights issues in the Middle East, particularly with regards to the Gulf States.