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The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture offers emergency funding to provide direct assistance to the victims of torture in exceptional circumstances.

Who can apply

As a general rule, only applications by civil society organizations, directly assisting torture survivors in exceptional circumstances to access legal, medical, psychological, social and humanitarian assistance are admissible.

Applications by governmental, parliamentary or administrative entities, political parties and/or national liberation movements are inadmissible.

When to apply

Applications for emergency grants can be submitted at any time throughout the year, provided that they meet the emergency criteria outlined below.

Special calls

The Fund may also issue special calls for emergency grant applications to respond to a surge in torture victims’ needs during a specific crisis and open for determined period. Examples of past special calls include the COVID-19 pandemic (2020), Rohingya refugee crisis (2018), civil war in Syria (2015), crisis in Mali (2013) and aftermath of the Arab Spring (2012).

Amount and duration

The Fund awards emergency grants for a maximum amount of 100,000 USD and for a maximum duration of 12 months (with no possibility of renewal or extension).


Applications must be submitted in English, French or Spanish.

Emergency funding criteria

The Fund considers emergency grant applications eligible only if they respond to the following emergency rationale:

  • Sudden change in circumstances that has caused an
  • Extraordinary increase (surge) in the needs of torture survivors for assistance requiring an
  • Immediate response.

Emergency grants respond, for example, to the following:

Human rights crisis:

  • political strife or uprising
  • landmark trial (torture survivors requiring additional assistance)
  • detrimental policy or institutional change in places of deprivation of liberty

Humanitarian crisis:

  • armed conflict
  • sudden influx of refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced people or migrants

Individual situation:

  • urgent need of assistance for individual torture survivors (the application must be submitted by an organization on behalf of, and with the consent of, the survivor)

Emergency grants do not respond, for example, to the following:

  • existing and systemic patterns of torture
  • cashflow difficulties of the organization

How to apply

Organizations interested in applying for an emergency grant should contact the Fund's Secretariat* providing brief responses to the questions for preliminary assessment of eligibility (English | Français | Español)

Following the preliminary assessment of eligibility for an emergency grant, the Fund’s Secretariat may invite an organization to submit a complete emergency grant application. Organization receiving an invitation are required to register and submit the complete application through the OHCHR eGrants Online System. Please inform the Fund's Secretariat* about your registration by email.

*Secretariat: and

Reference documents

For more detailed information about how to apply for an emergency grant, interested organizations are invited to refer to the: