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Closed 31/08/2020

Stand with LGBT+ Survivors of Torture during the Covid-19 Pandemic

The global pandemic has presented significant challenges for the survivors that we work with, and has led to more torture and ill-treatment while attention is elsewhere. More needs to be done to eradicate eradicate discriminatory torture.
raised of £5,000 target
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Closed on 31/08/2020
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More than 70 countries still criminalise same-sex relations between consenting adults or certain forms of gender expression. Forms of violence against the LGBT+ community that amount to torture and ill-treatment include violent arbitrary arrests, forced medical examinations, corrective rapes, beatings and conversion therapy, a practice that aims to 'cure' an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Survivors are often unable to obtain justice, as state officials are usually the main perpetrators of such violence and this may make investigations impossible. Bringing legal claims is difficult. These survivors are an especially vulnerable group, in considerable need.

We stand in solidarity with victims of discriminatory torture wherever they are. People who are tortured because they are gay. People who are tortured because they are trans. People who are tortured because they are women. People who are tortured because of their race or ethnicity. People who are tortured because of their religion. REDRESS helps all of these people obtain justice and reparation for their torture. - Rupert Skilbeck, Director at REDRESS.


Emergency laws introduced to control the spread of Covid-19 have enabled the authorities in many countries to use violence against minorities, including members of the LGBT+ community. Some countries even adopted a gender-based alternating lockdown schedule, which took into account only the sex that appears in identity documents, which led to discrimination.

REDRESS has been at the forefront of the fight against discriminatory torture, seeking to raise awareness about this problem, improving standards of protection for these especially vulnerable groups, and identifying the specific reparations that are needed.

Azul's story

Earlier this year, after 11 years of litigation, REDRESS and its partners obtained a landmark judgment on behalf of Azul Rojas Marín, a transgender woman from Peru, in the first case of LGBT+ discriminatory torture ever decided by a human rights court worldwide.

Azul was told that her case would be closed because no-one would believe a homosexual.

After all that I have been through, finally, a court believes me. I wish I could have been able to share this joy with my mother, who was always alongside me in my efforts to find justice - Azul Rojas Marín.

Azul was detained late at night by Peruvian police officers while she was walking home. They insulted her and made derogatory remarks about her sexual orientation. She was forcibly taken to a police station and kept there for almost six hours, although her detention was not officially registered. During her detention, she was stripped naked, beaten repeatedly, and anally raped with a police baton. When she sought to pursue a criminal complaint against the police officers, she was constantly ridiculed and revictimized, even being interrogated in court by a lawyer holding a police baton.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the ultimate authority on human rights in the Americas, found Peru responsible for the arbitrary detention, torture, and sexual violence suffered by Azul at the hands of Peruvian police officers in 2008.

What is needed?

REDRESS is seeking to raise an initial £5,000 to support survivors of LGBT+ discriminatory torture to bring such legal claims, while also challenging the discriminatory laws and practices that prevent access to justice for these survivors.

We want to be able to engage with the authorities in Peru to implement Azul's judgment, and raise the problem of LGBT+ torture in the Americas more broadly. We want to look at other countries where LGBT+ torture is a problem, and start cases there.

Your donations could allow REDRESS to continue to bring survivors' voices to the forefront, and to advocate to governments, regional bodies, and the United Nations through digital campaigns at a moment when the Covid-19 has limited our ability to conduct advocacy in person.

The funds raised could also help REDRESS monitor instances of LGBT+ torture and ill-treatment in the context of Covid-19. This will allow us to gather evidence and establish a legal basis to make perpetrators accountable for such violence, and to ensure that governments and other key stakeholders understand the problem and respond accordingly.


REDRESS is a specialist human rights organisation that represents victims of torture to obtain justice and reparation.

For over 25 years, REDRESS has built a strong reputation for representing torture survivors, advocating for the rights of victims, and ensuring effective reparations. We prioritise the interests and perspectives of survivors in all aspects of our work.

As a charity, we rely on the generosity of supporters to help us provide support for our clients and achieve positive outcomes for torture survivors which can have a long-lasting impact on their lives. With your support, we can continue to make a difference.

Please visit our website for more information about our work: https://redress.org/

Your contribution matters, please donate and share this page with your friends, family, and on social media.

About the charity


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REDRESS is a human rights organisation that represents victims of torture to obtain justice and reparation. We bring legal cases on behalf of individual survivors, and advocate for better laws to provide effective reparations. Learn more about our impact at redress.org/about/survivors-stories

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