Journée internationale de soutien aux victimes de la torture
Afin d’éliminer totalement la torture et d’assurer l’application de la convention du 10.12.1984, l’Assemblée Générale des Nations Unies a proclamé le 26 juin "Journée Mondiale de Soutien aux Victimes de Torture".
Cette journée est révélatrice d’une prise de conscience généralisée que la torture, honteuse pratiquée couramment utilisée dans plus de 150 pays et est bien une atteinte à un droit intangible de la personne humaine : la dignité.
Il convient dès lors de se mobiliser pour cette journée afin de poursuivre ensemble la lutte contre l’impunité des tortionnaires car il est nécessaire de ne pas oublier que si le Droit International de protection devient peu à peu aujourd’hui un élément d’espoir, son effectivité sera toujours le produit de notre vigilance.
Aucune cause ne peut justifier la torture
Malheureusement, il reste beaucoup à faire, il nous arrive d'entendre le témoignage de ceux qui ont été torturés par des régimes brutaux et de voir les salles dans lesquelles les actes de torture ont été commis, nous ne devons pas oublier pour autant que la plupart des victimes n'ont jamais l'occasion de raconter leur histoire et que la torture n'est pas limitée à une région particulière, à un système politique particulier ou à quelques pays."
"Quinze ans après l’entrée en vigueur de la Convention des Nations unies contre la torture et autres peines ou traitements cruels, inhumains ou dégradants, des actes de torture et d’autres formes de mauvais traitements sont toujours signalés dans au moins 111 pays du monde, et la Convention demeure le moins ratifié des six traités internationaux relatifs aux droits humains actuellement en vigueur", a déclaré ce jour (mercredi 26 juin 2002) Amnesty International.
Un moyen encore trop souvent utilisé
"Seuls 129 des 189 États membres de l’Organisation des Nations unies (ONU) sont parties à la Convention. En outre, nombre d’entre eux persistent à ne pas prendre les mesures nécessaires pour garantir pleinement son application, et restent passifs face à la pratique de la torture", a ajouté l’organisation de défense des droits humains.
GENEVA - 26 JUNE 2014
Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,
Every day, in prisons, police stations and places of detention both official and secret, women, men and children are deliberately and atrociously tortured. They are made to suffer pain and humiliation, and may be made to watch vulnerable family members being tortured. They suffer prolonged isolation and lengthy interrogation; medical treatment, food and water is withheld from them for long periods of time.
There are hundreds of thousands of such victims, and tens of thousands of such places, in countries on every continent across the globe. They include dictatorships, countries in transition, and several States with long traditions of parliamentary democracy.
Torture is an unequivocal crime. Under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, it is prohibited under all circumstances, without exception. Neither national security nor the fight against terrorism, the threat of war or any public emergency can justify its use. All States are obliged to investigate and prosecute allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and they must ensure by every means that such practices are prevented.
In fact, the prohibition on torture extends beyond national borders: States may not return a person to a country where she or he is at risk of being subjected to torture or other cruel or inhuman treatment. And every State has the duty to investigate, prosecute and punish people responsible for torture when they are found within its borders – even if the torture has taken place years before and in another country.
Furthermore, information extracted under torture may not be used in courts of law. This includes closed proceedings such as military courts, and hearings that the Government has made private for fear they could disclose sensitive information. It also means that intelligence agencies may not legally use information obtained under torture. Any such use not only weakens the absolute prohibition of torture by creating a market for information obtained by such means: it also amounts to collusion in acts of barbarity.
Every day my Office, and human rights activists, receive new reports of torture in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. They range from severe beatings to public sexual humiliation and rape; the use of specific machinery to inflict pain; mock executions; and the obligation to witness pain being inflicted on children or other family members. In almost all cases, those who have ordered and committed these violations escape justice. They are enveloped in the cloak of national protection or explicit amnesty measures, and their protectors feign ignorance of the horror that has been committed under their authority.
Governments that collude in this impunity violate not only the victim’s right to justice but also the human rights of us all. Acknowledging this, 154 States have ratified the Convention against Torture – yet many of them continue to tolerate such acts. A further 41 States have refused to ratify the Convention, and several of them continue to permit torture and ill-treatment of detainees, either implicitly or by law. States must also ensure that victims of torture and ill-treatment obtain full and effective redress and reparation. And this obligation, too, is systematically neglected. Victims are left unattended, and the burden of their rehabilitation is borne by NGOs, many of which are supported by the UN Fund for Victims of Torture.
Today, in a growing number of countries, torture takes place in detention centres set up by unofficial militia and other non-state actors. Recently my Office has documented cases of torture by opposition groups in Ukraine and Syria – including by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) force that has recently made dramatic inroads in Iraq.
Clearly such groups feel they are immune from the rules of international law. They are wrong. Government officials, parliamentarians, judges, lawyers, medical professionals, officials from the military, security forces, law enforcement and prisons – and, yes, the leaders of opposition groups, militia and criminal gangs – need to clearly understand that they are accountable for their actions; and responsible also for their non-action – for their failure to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and to protect the victims.
Every year, most notably in Latin America, a number of people who committed acts of torture twenty years ago or more are charged and convicted. Systems change; regimes change – but the laws prohibiting torture remain constant.
On June 26, we in the human rights community honour the world’s many victims of torture. We re-emphasize our pledge that every victim will one day gain her or his right to acknowledgment, justice and rehabilitation. We speak clearly and loudly so that officials everywhere will hear this message: no act of torture, or use of information extracted by torture, can be tolerated. Then we return to our work to ensure that torture, wherever it takes place, is documented, investigated, prosecuted, and punished, and that reparations are made to the victims – so that they can recover as best they can from the devastating physical trauma and fear that they have endured.
The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, which is managed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, provides financial assistance to organizations that offer psychological, medical and social assistance to victims of torture, as well as legal aid and financial support.
To learn more about the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, please visit http://www.ohchr.org
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UN human rights experts call for a torture-free world
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Geneva, 26 June 2014
Victims of torture continue to be ignored, silenced, abandoned or re-victimized. Impunity and insufficient protection measures for victims stand in the way of a torture free world. On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a group of UN human rights experts* reflect on how the world would look if accountability and the rule of law were strengthened to stamp out and prevent torture.
“Imagine a world where torture is not condoned and those individuals who perpetrate torture are promptly brought to justice through the full force of the rule of law. Indeed, this should not require a stretch of the imagination. States are, and have long been, obligated by international law to investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of torture and ill-treatment,” said the Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez.
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 unequivocally held that torture is prohibited under all circumstances, without exception.
However, 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.
“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, adding that, “in 2012, the Committee issued a landmark General Comment, elaborating on the right to ensure that victims of an act of torture obtain redress and have an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.” To mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention against Torture, a group of States has initiated a ten-year global initiative for the universal ratification and implementation of the Convention. “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.
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, the experts said.
“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.
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, he said.
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 joint statement was issued by the UN Committee against Torture, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
Every year, the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture supports hundreds of such centres as they give humanitarian, medical and legal assistance to thousands of victims and their relatives. Read about the work of the Fund here:www.ohchr.org/torturefund
For more information:
Committee against Torture: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/index.htm
Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/OPCAT/Pages/OPCATIndex.aspx
Special Rapporteur on Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/SRTortureIndex.aspx
For more information about the #TortureFreeWorld campaign: http://antitorture.org/torture-free-world-campaign/
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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en