Paz Rojas awarded in Chile for her fight against torture

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chilean doctor Paz Rojas, member of APT Advisory Board, has received the Human Rights Medal Harald Edelstam, from the hands of the mayor of the municipality of Providencia (Santiago de Chile).

Paz RojasThe prize is a tribute to the legacy of former Swedish Ambassador Edelstam in Chile and it is granted for the first time to honour the work of prominent human rights defenders. It is a recognition of Paz Rojas’ tireless commitment in fighting torture and its sequel since the first days  of the dictatorship of General Pinochet in September 1973.

Since the 1980s, Paz Rojas greatly contributed to the development of what is today the APT, in support of Jean-Jacques Gautier, both as a member of the APT Board and Advisory Council. She continues to be a permanent source of inspiration for the APT. As a doctor specialized in neuro-psychiatry, she dedicated her life to assist survivors of torture, relatives of persons who disappeared and were executed during the dictatorship, including during her years of exile in Paris between 1974 and 1981. When she returned to Chile, Paz Rojas joined CODEPU, a human rights organisation that she chaired during several years, providing medical, psychotherapeutic, social and legal assistance to victims of human rights violations. In 1998 she received the Human Rights Award of the University of Oslo.

Nowadays, Paz Rojas continues to strive for the eradication of torture in Chile. Her book, “Torture and Resistance in Chile”, written during her exile jointly with two other women doctors who were also refugees in France and initially published in 1991, was re-edited in 2013. At a time when the use of torture tends to increase, this testimony against oblivion is essential to prevent the repetition of such acts.