The United Nations and human rights experts have called for a torture free world in observance of the International Day in Support of Victims of torture.

The day marked on June 26 draws attention to the continued practice of torture around the globe focusing on the indiscriminate targeting of individuals in the name of counter-terrorism, national security and States’ irregular migration policies.

Claudio Grossman, Chair of the Committee against Torture, noted that 30 years had passed since the United Nations Convention against Torture entered into force and prohibited torture under all circumstances and without exception.

And while efforts have been made towards eliminating torture there is a tedious road ahead especially when confronting the systemic issue of torture that has attached itself within legal systems.

"A world without torture will be achievable when prosecutors and judges refuse to rely on coerced confessions and insist on investigating acts of torture and prosecuting those responsible for them," Grossman said.

New global initiative

Meanwhile, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention against Torture, a group of States has created a ten-year global initiative for the universal ratification and implementation of the Convention Against Torture.

A world without torture will be achievable when prosecutors and judges refuse to rely on coerced confessions and insist on investigating acts of torture and prosecuting those responsible for them.

Claudio Grossman, Chair of the Committee against Torture

"This is an ambitious undertaking and this day, 26 June, commemorates the plight of victims and reminds us of the long road ahead," Grossman added.

"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. 

Multi-layered approach

Proper and effective documentation of torture requires a multi-layered approach by all responsible authorities - law enforcement, doctors and forensic specialists, lawyers and the judiciary, Evans said.

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

"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.

Source: Agencies