Estimating the costs of torture: Challenges and opportunities

Emmanuel Kabengele Mpinga, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, Jennifer Hasselgård-Rowe, Félicien Tshimungu Kandolo, Henk Verloo, Ngoyi K. Zacharie Bukonda, Philippe Chastonay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Due to its nature, extent and consequences, torture is considered a major public health problem and a serious violation of human rights. Our study aims to set the foundation for a theoretical framework of the costs related to torture. It examines existing challenges and proposes some solutions. Our proposed framework targets policy makers, human rights activists, professionals working in programmes, centres and rehabilitation projects, judges and lawyers, survivors of torture and their families and anyone involved in the prevention and fight against this practice and its consequences. We adopted a methodology previously used in studies investigating the challenges in measuring and valuing productivity costs in health disorders. We identify and discuss conceptual, methodological, political and ethical challenges that studies on the economic and social costs of torture pose and propose alternatives in terms of possible solutions to these challenges. The economic dimension of torture is rarely debated and integrated in research, policies and programmes. Several challenges such as epistemological, methodological, ethical or political ones have often been presented as obstacles to cost studies of torture and as an excuse for not investigating this dimension. In identifying, analysing and proposing solutions to these challenges, we intend to stimulate the integration of the economic dimension in research and prevention of torture strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-581
JournalApplied Health Economics and Health Policy
Issue number6
Early online date18 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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