CALL FOR PROPOSALS “Covid & Detention in the Middle East and North Africa”

Terms of Reference

1 | Context and justification:

Like the rest of the world, the pandemic situation is no exception in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The management of the crisis at the national level differs in attempts to flattening the curve and limiting the contagion through certain measures such as the compulsory wearing of the mask, curfew, total or partial confinement, vaccination, etc. However, one category of people seems underprotected and neglected amidst this pandemic: people in detention! Detainees in police stations, prisons and detention centers are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Detention facilities are generally severely overcrowded, lack resources and access to medical care, and certainly not adapted to the health measures required to deal with the virus, which leaves the detainees in a vulnerable situation.

The response of governments in the MENA region has been different from country to country. Information on these measures is rather vague. It is reported that the response in some countries in the region remains insufficient and does not comply with the principles of legality, proportionality, necessity and non-discrimination. Governments should free political prisoners, human rights defenders and activists, as well as those who are detained unlawfully. Governments should also apply the recommendations of the Interim Guidance of OHCHR and WHO according to which the “Release of individuals, including children, persons with underlying health conditions, persons with low risk profiles and who have committed minor and petty offences, persons with imminent release dates and those detained for offences not recognized under international law, should be prioritized”.

Civil society organizations need to maintain and upgrade their work on responding to the crisis in their countries with regard to detention issues. Urgent and catalytic local actions attempting to open prisons, improve conditions, protect prisoners’ rights, especially against preventable illnesses and ill treatment in prisons and police detention, and seek accountability for violations, are highly required.

2 | Objective of the call for proposals:

The objective of this call is to contribute to safer and improved detention conditions in highly challenging countries in the midst of COVID, human rights and accountability crises through strengthening civil society action on detention and custody.

3 | Who can apply?

  • The applicant should be a society organization from the Middle East and North Africa region;
  • The applicant should be from the OMCT SOS-Torture Network or a partner organization;
  • The applicant must be involved in the promotion and protection of human rights;
  • The applicant must be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action.

4 | Activities covered by the proposal:  

The proposal should highlight intervention and urgent policy adjustments in detention in the prisons and detention centers on the ground. Eligible activities include one or more of the following: (i) access, monitoring, documentation and transparency; (ii) direct engagement with detention authorities on their COVID 19 preparedness and policy response; (iii) urgent support to detainees, families, and legal representatives including legal, social or medical support; (iv) restoration of monitoring systems and CSO access to detention; (v) support to particularly vulnerable detainees, including children, and release campaigns, and (vi) visibility supports to improve awareness of detention protection gaps.

The request must be based on a detailed proposal with a specific objective that reflects the relevance of the project. The request must be subject to good planning of actions in terms of duration, impact and budget. Only the most relevant and promising projects proposed by capable applicants will be covered financially.

More specifically, the eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • The relevance of the project with regard to the local context and the objective of the call;
  • The potential impact and sustainability of the action;
  • The capacity of the campaign leader to implement it (action plan and clear methodology for project management);
  • Tangible and quantified result indicators.
  • | Selection process :  

Call opening dates: from 20/07/2021 to 20/08/2021.

A selection committee composed of OMCT members will select two proposals based on the previously defined criteria.

OMCT will perform the finalization of the project proposal details, budget, and the signature of the contract.

    6   | Grant arrangements

The grant amount will be up to EUR 15,000 for an execution period of eight (8) months (from September 1st to April 30th).

OMCT support can cover up to 100% of the total cost of the action. The applicant is not required to make a financial contribution to the action submitted.

Note that the exact amount of financial support will be determined based on the relationship between the actions proposed and a realistic budget presented and discussed by the requesting CSO with the OMCT.

To ensure proper implementation of the action as well as fruitful communication, follow-up meetings (in person or virtual) will be held monthly between the applicant and the OMCT, in addition to the submission of a narrative and financial report of the funding period.

  7 | How to submit an application?

In order to answer the call, please complete and return the following documents by digital mail at the address:

These documents should be filled and submitted before the deadline to consider the application.

Please also provide a brief presentation of the organization, its objectives, scope of work, its registration number, its activities and the latest auditor’s report.

About the OMCT (World Organization Against Torture)

The OMCT is a non-governmental, non-lucrative organization that works with 200 member organisations to end torture and ill-treatment, assist victims, and protect human rights defenders at risk wherever they are.

Together, we make up the largest global group actively standing up to torture in over 90 countries. We work to protect the most vulnerable members of our societies, including women, children, indigenous peoples, migrants and other marginalized communities. To achieve this, we advocate with governments to change or implement their laws and policies, we help victims seek justice and strive to hold perpetrators to account. Because torture can never be tolerated, and human dignity is not negotiable.