Medici Contro la Tortura (Doctors Against Torture) is a volunteer association that offers care and support to victims of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment, no matter what their country of origin.
An initial group of doctors and paramedics began working together in Rome within the Italian section of Amnesty International, to address—among other issues—the relationship between the medical profession and human rights abuses (physician involvement in torture and the death penalty).
his group became the National Medical Network for the Italian section of Amnesty International.
Amnesty’s Medical Network organized the international conference “Sopravvivere e Testimoniare” (“Surviving and Bearing Witness”) at the Palazzo Senatorio in Rome, on the medical and psychological consequences of torture. This was the first time in Italy that such problems had been examined by the medical community. Inspired by this event, the physicians and psychologists involved with Amnesty International in Rome also began organizing pro bono clinical activities parallel to their work with Amnesty, which led to the foundation of Medici Contro la Tortura.
Medici Contro la Tortura became part of the Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati (CIR) — a humanitarian organization founded with UN support a few years earlier to defend the rights of refugees — meeting with the torture victims in their care and beginning to address, among other things, the phenomenon of refugees and asylum seekers, a new category for Italy at the time.
Medici Contro la Tortura and the CIR undertook a joint initiative focused on assistance and treatment for torture victims, spearheading the project Accoglienza e cura delle vittime di tortura with the support of first the European Union and then the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
Medici Contro la Tortura was called to speak before the Italian Senate’s Special Commission for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights.
Activities were developed in collaboration with the migrant communities (from Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia) occupying the sheds of the Tiburtina railway station, through the “school group” and the participation of several MCT members in the Collettivo Tiburtina and the panel set up at the Office of Social Services for the City of Rome.
A new group activity began with the “MCT Language and Storytelling Workshop,” which in 2008 led to the foundation of the association Laboratorio 53.
Medici Contro la Tortura contributed to the creation of SaMiFo – Salute Migranti Forzati, a public health facility (run by ASL – Roma A) providing general care and psychiatric/psychological treatment to asylum seekers and refugees living in Rome.
MCT began working with Save The Children to certify the underage status of unaccompanied foreign minors.
Medici Contro la Tortura officially joined the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), an international network of associations involved in the rehabilitation of victims and prevention of torture, with over 140 independent member organizations in over 70 countries.
The association began working with Medici Senza Frontiere to create a center for torture victims in Rome. Today, the project is jointly run by the two organizations.