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Christians urged to light a candle for a torture survivor

An international prayer vigil is being organised by Action by Christians Against Torture (ACAT) to coincide with the United Nations' International Day for Support of Victims of Torture.

Calling on believers to "remain vigilant in prayer", ACAT said: "Christians will carry together the hope for a world free from all forms of torture; so that darkness becomes light, death becomes resurrection and imprisonment [becomes] freedom for those who are tortured."

Meanwhile, a UK charity supporting torture survivors says it received more than 1550 referrals for clinical or other types of support in 2015 for people from more tha 80 countries, a rise of 18-per-cent since 2014.

Top 10 Countries: Torture Survivors*

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Iran
  3. Pakistan
  4. DRC
  5. Turkey
  6. Afghanistan
  7. India
  8. Eritrea
  9. Nigeria
  10. Iraq

*Freedom from Torture (2015)

Freedom from Torture says 326 of those individuals originated from Sri Lanka; 158 came from Iran and 133 came from Pakistan.

The organisation - said to be the only charity dedicated to the treatment and support of torture survivors seeking asylum in the UK - is warning that torture victims are among those involved in the current migration crisis affecting Europe and the Middle East.

Making a number of recommendations for governments and service providers, Freedom from Torture also warns torture survivors are not accessing the help they need in refugee camps, while in transit or even when they arrive in countries such as the UK.

Chief Executive, Susan Munroe said: "It's all too often forgotten that torture survivors are among those risking their lives on perilous journeys to safety via land and sea.

"Many of them have suffered serious trauma but have no hope of accessing the specialist help they need in their countries of origin, refugee camps or on the road.

"If they get to the UK to apply for asylum there is very little that is available in the way of specialist rehabilitation.

"At Freedom from Torture, we receive increasing numbers of referrals for our services, yet our limited resources mean that we cannot meet the demand and must turn away two survivors for every one we can help."

Freedom from Torture has released a new report entitled 'From Torture Cell to Therapy Room; Survivors' Journeys to Rehabilitation'.

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