The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)

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The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is today the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. With 311 affiliated organisations in its SOS-Torture Network and many tens of thousands correspondents in every country, OMCT is the most important network of non-governmental organisations working for the protection and the promotion of human rights in the world.

Areas of Work

Together with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), OMCT runs a defenders program called the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (Observatory). Other areas of work include: torture, economic, social and cultural rights, children’s rights and violence against women.

Urgent Responses Offered 

Urgent appeals, international solidarity and communication strategies

OMCT has established a defenders alert mechanism, which includes urgent appeals for WHRDs at risk. It also provides information about each case as well as on the actions that should be taken by national authorities and provides addresses for individuals or organizations to take action. See the Urgent Appeals section of the website.

Advocacy with regional and international mechanisms

OMCT regularly submits urgent appeals to the UN SR and other Rapporteurs depending on the nature of the violation. They also work with:

  • UN treaty bodies;
  • The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa;
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
  • EU embassies and other institutions.

Awards and fellowships

  • Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

Legal assistance and trial observation

OMCT provides legal assistance to defenders under the Urgent Assistance to Victims of Torture fund, as well as in the framework of the Observatory. Assistance includes covering legal fees and support for processing requests for political asylum (when fear of refoulement) as well as covering legal fees of counsels or lawyers of defenders who are subjected to judicial proceedings because of their human rights activities.

OMCT, in the context of their joint program with the FIDH, and the Observatory, also carries out joint judicial observation missions.

Medical assistance, stress management and psychosocial counseling

Under the program to assist victims of torture, OMCT works with network members and centers for rehabilitation of torture at the national level to provide medical support to defenders and WHRDs. Support can also cover medical fees required for physical and psychological treatment, cost of transfer to specialized centers and the fees to cover essential needs in cases in which the patient’s hospitalization is not required.

Protective accompaniment; solidarity and monitoring visits

OMCT, in the context of their joint program with the FIDH and the Observatory, carries out ad hoc solidarity missions. Their objectives are:

  • To bring support to defenders in difficult situations;
  • To enable defenders to meet representatives of international and regional intergovernmental organizations as well as foreign authorities, in order to promote their lobbying actions;
  • To alert the international media on their situation and on the human rights situation in the country.

These solidarity missions respond to local needs and are dispatched at the request or following a discussion with local members and partners on their usefulness.

Temporary relocation and emergency hotline

OMCT provides relocation assistance under the Urgent Assistance to Victims of Torture fund, as well as in the framework of the Observatory, a program it runs jointly with FIDH. OMCT covers evacuation expenses to a host country and subsistence expenses for defenders and family members.

Grants and relief programs

Under the Urgent Assistance to Victims of Torture Fund, as well as in the framework of the Observatory, OMCT provides social assistance to victims of torture, including defenders and WHRDs:

  • Assistance is temporary and is intended to allow the victim or her/his family to cope with extremely difficult situations. For example, to leave the country, to cover the living costs in the defender’s country of origin or in a host country;
  • Funds can cover legal and medical assistance.

Geographic Focus



The website is available in English, French, and Spanish.