Derrick Pounder, Professor of Forensic Medicine at the University of Dundee and former chairman of DHR, has been appointed a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT). He will hold the position for a period of three years.
"I am very much looking forward to helping support the many wonderful organisations providing assistance to victims of the crime of torture," said Professor Pounder.
The Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture was established by the UN in 1981 with the purpose of receiving voluntary contributions for distribution, through established channels, of psychological, medical, social, legal and financial assistance to victims of torture and their relatives. DHR regularly meets with the UK Government to discuss the work of the UNVFVT and encourage its support for that work. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office contributed £150,000 to the UNVFVT in 2004.
The Fund is administrated by the Secretary General who is advised by a Board of Trustees comprising a chairman and four other members representing the five regional groups. They work in their independent capacity.
The objective of the fund is to provide support to organisations which assist in rehabilitation of torture victims. Every year the fund allocates nearly US$7 million to around 170 organisations in 60 countries. Victims of torture and their families benefit directly from the funded projects. The United Nations recently highlighted the fund’s positive impact on thousands of victims of torture who are assisted by the fund annually.
The Fund, which is administered in accordance with the financial rules of the UN, benefits from the advice of Trustees who have wide experience of the field of human rights. Professor Pounder chaired DHR during its early formative years and went on to develop DHR's unique modular Medicine and Human Rights course that has been accessible free of charge and has been taught to medical students around the UK .
Despite being head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Dundee he has found time to serve as an expert to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe in its visits to several European countries including Turkey and Chechnya.