El Nadim Center for the Management and Rehabilitation of victims of violence is an independent Egyptian NGO that was established in August 1993 as a civil not for profit company.
During the first year of its establishment El Nadim restricted its activity to the provision of psychological rehabilitation to victims of torture and the provision of medicolegal reports whenever this was necessary. At that time we had been working in other human rights organizations and found great difficulty in issuing reports for victims of torture from official medical institutions such as university or government hospitals.
However, in our evaluation of the first year of our work, we realized that working with torture cannot be complete without making the issue public: i.e. publishing, campaigning and mobilization of different societal sectors against a practice that has gone completely out of hand over the past two decades. We have adhered to this approach in all our later activities, whether those were related to torture, violence against women or other issues of democracy and freedom of Civil Society.
El Nadim provides psychological management and rehabilitation to victims of torture. Together with other NGOs and individuals it also provides some form of social support and refers to legal aid resources.
- The access to victims of torture involves receiving them at the center and reaching out for them in case of obstacles or fear of talking about their trauma.
- Clients who are need of investigations or management that is non-psychological in nature, are referred to a respective specialist.
- El Nadim provides a psychological testimony to be added to the case files in legal aid centers. On two occasions EL Nadim testified in front of the Prosecution regarding torture cases who were seeking compensation.
- El Nadim helped set up a Sudanese Group against Torture. All of them were former clients at El Nadim.
- Since 2000 El Nadim has been the reference for UNHCR in Egypt regarding applicants for refugee status on ground of torture.
- Campaigning on particular torture cases and on torture in general.
- Since 1993 and until 2000 El Nadim has provided psychological, social and/or legal support to 1102 victims of torture, about two thirds of whom were males, one-third females and a small percentage of children. One third of them are Egyptians.
- In addition El Nadim is a founding member of AMAN and Regional Network for Centers working against Torture. It has members from Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, and Iran and has Kurdish membership of Kurds living in exile.
- Within the framework of that network EL Nadim has provided training on skills of management, rehabilitation of victims of torture and documentation of torture cases in Lebanon, Morocco and Sudan. It has helped in the foundation of a torture center in the Sudan. It has also provided training to colleagues in South Africa.
- El Nadim is member of the Council of the International Rehabilitation Center against Torture (IRCT) based in Denmark, the International Society for Health and Human Rights, Section of Torture and Psychiatry, World Psychiatric Association and the Amnesty Survey of Medical and Psychiatric Services for Victims of Human Rights Violation (70 organizations)
2. Activities related to Violence against Women
- Other than helping women victims of torture, El Nadim is also involved in addressing other forms of violence against women.
- Since 1993 and until 2000 EL Nadim has provided psychological, social and rehabilitative support to 316 women. More than half of them are Egyptians, one third are torture victims and the remainder are victims of domestic violence and rape.
- Since 2001 EL Nadim set up a women's program providing listening and counseling to women victims of violence. The program is based at the center with 11 field extensions: 7 in Cairo, 2 in Lower Egypt and 2 in Upper Egypt.
- The coordination of the first field study in Egypt (1994 - 1995) assessing the prevalence of violence against women in the country and women's perceptions and attitudes towards that violence. The research was presented in the Fourth World Conference on women in Beijing.
- The drafting of the NGO Shadow report on the Convention against all Forms of Discrimination against Women that was presented to the UN in 2000.
- Participation in the FES organized project on advocacy for the implementation of CEDAW in Egypt. The project was organized over one year May 1999 - May 2000, involved 11 sessions of dialogue between civil society, legislative and government bodies and produced a number of publications, among which a simplified version of the CEDAW convention written in common Egyptian dialect.
- Consciousness raising activities in several governorates all over the country regarding issues of violence against women in general and female genital mutilation in particular.
- Training of women grassroots activities on listening and counseling skills to women victims of violence in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia.
- Production of written guidelines on listening and counseling skills to women victims of violence.
- El Nadim has currently started a women's program which entails the training of 10 volunteers to advocate and carry out support to women victims of violence in Egypt.
3. Activities related to freedom of Civil Society
Since its establishment in 1993 El Nadim has been registered as a civil not for profit company to bypass the registration with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Affairs who exercises strong control over NGOs, their activities and their ability to network and interact with each other. In that regard El Nadim has participated in the foundation of the Forum for the Promotion of Civil Society, which is an independent forum that involves 104 organizations and civil society associations. It has also organized and participated in several campaigns advocating the freedom of civil society and has challenged several restrictive measures undertaken by the Egyptian government against NGOs. The last of those measures was the drafting of an alternative association law which aimed to put all voluntary and independent civil activities under the control of the government and included punishments that amounted to several years imprisonment in addition to dissolution of NGOs. El Nadim has participated in a national and international campaign against that law, has contributed to the distribution of legal and constitutional studies of its provisions and has participated in a one week hunger strike in protest. The law was ruled unconstitutional in June 2000.
a. Code of Ethics: El Nadim has participated in a series of discussion groups regarding the development of a code of ethics for NGOs in general and human rights NGOs in particular. The initiative started after the governmental attack on civil companies in general and human rights organizations in particular. The declaration of principles has been drafted and is circulating among NGOs for its discussion and endorsement. El Nadim has endorsed the code of ethics and is appearing in its three-year book as one of its references.
b. Torture report: El Nadim has published a report on Torture inside and outside police stations, in the period 1993 - 1996. The report was based on the experience of the clients who came to the attention of El Nadim, and included a review of: the reasons for torture, the methods of torture and the physical and psychological consequences, reports on cases who died under torture, report on victims of state violence and some case studies of some of those victims. The report was written in Arabic and translated in English and widely distributed inside and outside Egypt.
c. Three years of El Nadim: This is the first publication of El Nadim, and has the history of the center, an overview of its clients and the challenges it was met with. It also has a compilation of the statements and appeals made by the center over the period 1993 - 1997.
d. "A call from the Afterworld" is a booklet issued jointly by El Nadim and the Legal Aid Center for Human Rights documenting the torture of an Egyptian farmer during his interrogation in a murder crime by Egyptian police in the governorate of EL Fayoum to the South of Cairo. The man was burnt with kerosene and left unconscious in front of El Fayoum Central hospital. El Nadim managed to transfer the victim via different hospitals into a university hospital in Cairo and, through pressure on the Ministry of health, granted him some of this treatment expenses. Unfortunately the man died because of the extent of his burn and his brother is currently raising a case in court against the respective authorities. The documentation of this story was produced in over 6000 copies and has been distributed to all media contacts, political parties and all human rights meetings in Egypt.
At this point El Nadim is based in an office in the center of Cairo. A team of 10 members work in two shifts at the center.
e. Torture in Egypt: Facts and Testimonies. 2002 reprinted in 2004 (Arabic + English)
f. Torture in Sudan: Facts and Testimonies, 2003 (Arabic + English summary)
g. Days of Torture: Women in police custody, 2004 (Arabic)