Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Scars that go deeper than the skin

Photo: Flikcr / Zokwanele - Zimbabwe / 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

28 June 2014 – The relentless and indiscriminate targeting of individuals in the name of counter-terrorism, national security, in the health-care context and States’ irregular migration policies remind us that we are far from realizing the goal of a world free of torture, according to UN experts.

Torture continues to take place all over the world. In some countries it is a systematic practice; in others there are isolated incidents. The main perpetrators may be officials or outlawed groups, gangs or individuals that torture with the explicit or tacit consent of the State.  

UN PhotoVictims of torture continue to be ignored, silenced, abandoned or re-victimized. Impunity and insufficient protection measures for victims continue to stand in the way of a torture free world.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention against Torture, on June 26, a group of States initiated a ten-year global initiative for the universal ratification and implementation of the Convention.

“A world where there are no victims of torture would be a world where we can trust the police and intelligence agencies to do their jobs and prevent crime without resorting to violence,” said Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture.

Survivors of torture, who are courageous enough to speak out about their physical traumatization and psychological ordeal, need empowerment and institutional support to so their stories can be heard, without fear of reprisals.

“We are working towards a world where victims are assisted from a holistic perspective and their inherent dignity is restored as they obtain justice and access to long-term rehabilitation and redress,” said Morad El Shazly, Chair of the UN Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture.    

The experts expressed the hope that torture will be completely eradicated one day, stressing that in order to achieve this, “we must work together to end impunity for perpetrators and to provide effective redress for the victims of torture and ill-treatment who must not be left to suffer alone for one more day.

“The prohibition of torture is absolute", stressed UN Secretary-General in his message. " The Convention against Torture states unequivocally that the use of torture is illegal under any circumstances, including armed conflict, the fight against terrorism, political instability or other emergency conditions."

UNRIC's related links:

UNRIC's backgrounder on human rights
UNRIC's backgrounder on terrorism
UNRIC's Newsletter on migration

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