Chairwoman Hautala met on 17th March with Ms Brita Sydhoff, Secretary General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) and the Director of the Cordelia Foundation in Hungary Dr Lilla Hardi to discuss the fight against torture and promotion of rehabilitation to torture victims.[:]
Chairwoman Hautala has already cooperated with the IRCT in the past and is keen to continue to work closely with the organisation as fight against torture is one of her personal priority convictions. The IRCT has for many years also worked closely with the European Parliament, most notably with the Subcommittee on human rights. In the meeting more in depth attention was given to means of prevention of torture, actions needed for the rehabilitation of victims of torture worldwide and how NGOs and the European Parliament could work more closely on those issues. Concern remains over the insufficient implementation of the EU guidelines on prevention of torture. As the new External Action Service is slowly taking its form and the new High Representative on Foreign Relations, Ms Catherine Ashton, has assumed her duties glimmer of hope beacons over possible new momentum and increased willingness to tackle the substandard attention given to these guidelines. Chairwoman Hautala stressed that she expects the new External Action Service to fully integrate human rights issues into its functioning and policies and noted that focal point for human rights in all EU delegations in third countries should be the norm from now on. It was agreed to look into these concerns and issues together and to continue cooperation with regards several distinct issues in the Subcommittee on human rights.