Freedom from Torture statement on anti-racism

At Freedom from Torture our vision and mission are based on a foundation of human rights. This means we are an explicitly anti-racist organisation and are committed to the eradication of all forms of racism both in society and in our charity.

The structural and pervasive racism that led to the torture and murder of George Floyd under the knee of an American police officer is not unique to the United States. It is built in to Britain’s public institutions, it exists in our immigration system and it is written in to our history books. It lives and breathes in our society today.

Charities are not exempt from this and we know that there is work for us to do to live up to our anti-racist values.

Since George Floyd’s torture and murder we have started this work. This has been both a bottom up and a top down effort involving trustees, staff and volunteers working across a number of areas to educate and support ourselves and each other on the journey towards racial justice.

Initiatives to date include:

  • The forming of a staff-led Race and Inclusion Task Force to assess our current performance and make recommendations for improvements in relation to race and inclusion within our charity.
  • A recruitment drive to increase diversity of skills and backgrounds on our Board of trustees.
  • The creation of a new senior management post for a survivor of torture and a new survivor empowerment directorate, in line with our long-standing commitment to survivor empowerment.
  • The senior management team commissioning an internal audit to build data on equality and diversity and ethnic pay with a commitment to ensuring all colleagues are rewarded fairly and equitably for their work.
  • Rollout of anti-racism and unconscious bias training for all of our staff and trustees.
  • We are committed to presenting survivors of torture in all our external communications in a way that respects the survivor’s truth, dignity and agency, and never to present any human as a helpless victim.
  • A commitment not to use unremunerated internships or any other volunteering that is effectively an unremunerated internship.
  • A commitment to show the salary for all advertised roles and not to negotiate on salary for roles as data shows this creates a situation that disadvantages people from diverse backgrounds.
  • A new progressive diversity, equality and inclusion policy with input from our Race & Inclusion Task Force.

We are pleased with the engagement and enthusiasm for this endeavour among survivors we work with and from across our charity and the wider Freedom from Torture community. We look forward to continuing together on this important journey towards racial justice.