According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other conventions and resolutions, you as a survivor or family member of a survivor of human rights violations, have specific rights.
Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law”.
An important document called Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law affirms that states have the duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, the duty to submit to prosecution the person allegedly responsible for the violations and, if found guilty, the duty to punish her or him. Moreover, in these cases, States should, in accordance with international law, cooperate with one another and assist international judicial organs competent in the investigation and prosecution of these violations, that victims should be treated with humanity and respect for their dignity and human rights, and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure their safety, physical and psychological well-being and privacy, as well as those of their families. Moreover, it is stated that victims have the right to remedies, meaning (a) Equal and effective access to justice; (b) Adequate, effective and prompt reparation for harm suffered; (c) Access to relevant information concerning violations and reparation mechanisms.
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (generally known as CAT) states that:
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.
CAT further states that each state party shall ensure to victims of torture an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation (article 14). The right to a remedy and reparation is articulated as an integrated right that consists of access to justice, reparation, including economic compensation, and, rehabilitation. on. We have, pursuant to the adoption of General Comment no 3, to article 14 of the CAT, been particularly aware of the importance of ensuring psychological support to survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence, both immediately after the violence, if possible, and as part of a more long term reparation.
For more information on rights and access to other conventions and resolutions, please visit the thematic page about torture here.