International day in support of victims of torture – 2022 and its Significance
26 June is observed as international day in support of victims of torture. It is an UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The day serves as a reminder to people that torture is a crime. This event gives everyone a chance to unite and voice their opinions against human torture. Organizations, including the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and Amnesty International, have played an active role in organizing events around the world to promote the day.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his statement conveyed:
Torturers must never be allowed to get away with their crimes, and systems that enable torture should be dismantled or transformed.
Theme of International day in support of victims of torture – 2022
26 June is observed as international day in support of victims of torture. It is an UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. There is no specific theme for the day.
What constitutes torture?
The term ‘torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.” — Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984, art. 1, para.1)
Quick facts about victims of torture across the globe
Here are quick facts about Quick facts about victims of torture across the globe. More than 21,000 people in 21 countries participated in the survey conducted for Amnesty. These are the most startling revelations:
- 44 percent of respondents from 21 countries fear they would risk being tortured in police custody.
- That figure is highest in the Americas: 80 percent in Brazil and 64 percent in Mexico fear being tortured in custody. The percentage decreases to 32 percent in the United States and 21 percent in Canada.
- “Torture is a fact of life in countries across Asia,” said Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific Director Richard Bennett. “The problem isn’t limited to a few rogue states but is endemic throughout the region.”
- A significant majority of respondents in both India and China (74 percent) thought torture was sometimes necessary, according to the survey. This was the highest percentage among all the countries polled.
- In the United States, 45 percent of those surveyed felt that torture was sometimes necessary and acceptable to obtain information. Amnesty points out that no one responsible for the “enhanced interrogation methods” in the United States’ “war on terror” has faced prosecution.
- Amnesty found evidence of torture in 79 countries, all of whom were part of the 155 countries that ratified the UN Convention Against Torture.
- Police spun a “wheel of torture” in a detention center near Manila, Philippines to decide how to extract information. The wheel was used for fun, with portions marked “3 minute zombies” or “20 seconds Manny Pacman.”
- Sudan uses amputation as a method of punishment. Last February, Human Rights Watch cited credible sources saying government doctors had carried out amputations for the courts.
History of International day in support of victims of torture
In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which condemned torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In 1975, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in response to non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Progress was made both in developing legal standards and instruments and in enforcing the ban on torture in the 1980s and 1990s. The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture was established by the General Assembly in 1981 to fund organizations providing assistance to victims of torture and their families.
In 1984, the General Assembly adopted the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which took effect in 1987. The Committee against Torture monitors how States Parties implement it.