About ARCT today:
Albanian Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma and Torture (ARCT) represent a small piece of the Albanian civil society organizations: it is a non-for-profit, non-political and non-governmental organization registered and operating in Albania since 1995, designing and implementing programs aiming to contribute in building a democratic society without use of torture in a country where strong political persecution has been seen for a long, almost 50 years period of the 20th century.
The organization has produced more than 50 reports documenting human rights practices Albania, and works with partners globally and in Albania to restore and protect human rights.
The Albanian Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma and Torture hold accreditation status with the United Nation.
After a period of brutal repression, countries and people must recover from the previous atrocities and rebuild own society to create a shared future for all. To do so, post-dictatorship societies often look back to identify the root causes of the violence, establish an accurate record of what happened, provide justice for victims, create mechanisms to hold violators accountable, provide reparations where necessary, and work toward preventing future human rights abuses.
Throughout its history, The Albanian Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma and Torture has actively participated to overcome the transitional justice process in Albania. This participation has given an overview of different transitional justice mechanisms, including Memorization and Redress, and has created a possibility to examine how individuals can use transitional justice to address conflicts in their lives and their communities.
Lessons from the past is worth learning, especially if they call for a special attention towards respect for human rights and human dignity – this has been, and still is, one of the basic assumptions of ARCT engagement in offering Rehabilitation of torture victims services (combined with scrupulous documentation of violation practices and human suffering), as well as Prevention of Torture programs (reporting periodically to International community on the situation of torture in the country, opening Police to CSOs, improving health documentation system in places of detention), providing assistance and a window of opportunities for this target group. These initiatives are made possible through support of donors such as the European Commission and Open Society Institute, UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, IRCT, embassies etc.
For many, ARCT is the last hope of those victims of State neglect.
As a representative of the Albanian civil society, ARCT is an organization operating in a field where international support is yet vital for the sustainability and continuity of work, as state institutions are often indifferent or even against (openly or hidden) human rights organizations.
This report will give you a glimpse at some of the many ways ARCT’s talented staff and partners have worked to make a positive impact on the lives of our clients, their families, and their communities in 2012.
Adrian Kati, Executive Director
• Albanian rehabilitation Centre for Trauma and Torture Albanian ARCT has started the year 2012 with a great achievement: a signed Memorandum of Understating with the Albanian State Police has opened the doors of police to independent and periodic monitoring.
ARCT example was used as a positive unifying experience, which created the basis for other human rights organizations to work inside police commissariats.
Free access to police custody cells is part of the amendments for the legislative framework of the organization and functioning of the Albanian State Police.
• ARCT contributed in developing access to places of detention through implementation of more than 120 monitoring visits in places of detention, medical examinations, forensic expertise, legal service and court representation, psychological assistance for both prison population and former political prisoners.
(We have documented more than 30 thousands stories, photographs, and historical information since early ‘90s, which will be advocated under the slogan “Historical Memories” in the country. ARCT was the negotiator between the former political persecuted and international community during the challenging days of the October Hunger Strike.
A specific Recommendation on the issues related to former political persecuted in Albania was addressed by the European Parliament to the Albanian Government, as part of the key priorities in the process of the EU integration.
• ARCT fought for under-represented, abused, women with children in prisons, juvenile and people with disabilities and chronic diseases. During the legislative amendments with regards to the Amnesty law, ARCT presented comments and reviews the criminal justice reforms.
Success stories show that detained population has benefited reduced sentences through ARCT Court representations.
• The impact of ARCT’s cases can be measured in at least five important ways: - deterring human rights abusers; - providing a catalyst for transitional justice process in the country; - providing therapeutic benefit for survivors of torture and other human rights violations; - creating a historic record of truth and raising awareness of past and ongoing abuses
• ARCT is partnering with worldwide organizations / networks to help social victims/second generation torture victims with concrete possibilities of reintegration.
We have provided social, legal and psychological assistance to 9 former Guantanamo prisoners settled in Albania. Awareness was constantly raised for their legal status and challenges they face in daily life.
ARCT has negotiated with the state authorities for the possible return to their countries of origin for two former Guantanamo prisoners.
• ARCT met the needs of an ever-increasing number of imprisoned individuals with limited access to medical treatments and mentally disturbed, advocating that even though imprisoned, the state is responsible to not blocking access to crucial services or benefits.
We promoted best practices and challenges through Cross Border cooperation and exchange Visits with Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro.
• ARCT forged new partnerships with public and private universities, human rights defenders and lawyers, journalists, medical doctors, psychiatrists and strengthened ties to these outstanding professionals through our well-established program of internships, exchange programs, MoUs, contribution in studies and research, lecturing, etc.