International Day against Torture

Posted by under Breaking News on 27 June 2003

Amnesty International Annual 2002 Report indicates the number of governments practicing torture and ill-treatment has reached more than 170. Think Centre hopes to see all torture ended. June 26th is commemorated as the UN International Day in Support of Torture Victims and Survivors. A day to memory all those who did not survive their torture and those being tortured.


"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR], Article 5.


Declaring that "the sad truth is that we have a long way to go in stamping out torture," United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all states to ratify the international agreements against the evil, to devise new strategies to combat it and to contribute generously to the UN fund to aid its victims.

"As surely as it stands for peace and development, the United Nations stands equally for freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and for bringing the perpetrators of such grave crimes to justice," Mr. Annan said in a message marking International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

"We must continue to develop new strategies and follow through on those already in place," he added.

He noted that the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly last December, establishes a framework that will allow visits by independent international and national bodies to places where persons are deprived of liberty.

"I call upon all States that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention and its Optional Protocol as a concrete step in the struggle to prevent torture in our world," he said.

Mr. Annan thanked all those who had contributed to the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture who "often carry the physical and mental scars with them throughout their lives." He added: "I call on all others to follow this example by giving generously to the Fund, so that an even greater number of projects can be funded in the coming year.

"On this International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture, let us harness our moral outrage at this practice and commit ourselves to concrete steps to end it once and for all," he concluded. "We owe this to the victims of torture. And we owe it to our common humanity."

In Geneva, the acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Bertrand Ramcharan, marked the day by approving, on behalf of the Secretary-General, grants amounting to about $7.2 million to organizations supporting survivors of torture.

Mr. Ramcharan joined the UN Committee against Torture, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on torture and the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture in a joint appeal to governments, non-governmental organizations, private and public entities and individuals to contribute generously to the Fund.

As part of the commemorations of the Day, the OHCHR and the UN Office in Geneva have organized an exhibition of the about 230 works of art by torture victims from around the world.

Sources and Links

AI INDEX:POL 30/006/2003, 25 June 2003 Sad fact that fight against torture must continue in the 21st Century

AI INDEX: ASA 23/009/2003, 26 June 2003 Torture and ill-treatment- the scourge of Cambodia

For the full text of the report "Kingdom of Cambodia A human rights review based on the Convention against Torture

Amnesty International Stop Torture Campaign

Amnesty International Take action to stop torture

Asian Human Rights Commission,25 June 2003,AS-22-2003 REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners must end immediately

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