This project is undeniably innovative and experimental, not only in its unique combination of grounded, multi-disciplinary research and direct action, but also insofar as it seeks to place the protection of human rights on the inside of the institutions usually associated with violations. In other words, we are seeking not so much to ‘steer from the outside’, but to ‘transform from the inside’. Our hypothesis is that once the institutional practices and cultures of law enforcement and security organisations are transformed, torture will no longer follow as a normalised and systemic practice. At that point, prevention becomes effective and sustainable.
Our methodology can be divided into three stages:
- We started the project with a period of intensive desk and observational research, conducted with partner institutions and exploring the root causes of torture.
- On the basis of this research, our project team members developed a rich or thick understanding of the situational factors that underpin and sustain torture and ill treatment. We then developed a model for an intervention based on strengthening situational factors that inhibit torture and eradicating or minimising factors that cause or sustain it.
- Finally, in a move that perhaps most distinguishes this project, our team members began working directly with security and law enforcement agencies. Key actors within those institutions began to develop their own projects to address the specific situational factors that cause or inhibit torture and ill treatment within their workplaces.