IRRC No. 268

The Swedish Red Cross Centre for the rehabilitation of tortured refugees

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In 1985 the Swedish Red Cross opened a Centre for the Rehabilitation of Tortured Refugees in Stockholm. It did so on the bases of a thorough study of what had been done elsewhere in the world, especially in Denmark where the first centre of this kind was established.Sweden accepts about 15,000 refugees each year. The largest groups come from Chile, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Turkey. Many of them have been exposed to different forms of torture. Hospitals, the social welfare system, lawyers, immigration officers — none of these has any experience in dealing with the consequences. Now all sectors of Swedish society have to meet the needs of these new citizens. Lack of knowledge and understanding can, unintentionally, lead to callous treatment. It was therefore natural for the Swedish Red Cross to start collecting and developing existing knowledge on how to deal with the effects of torture.

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