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 (25 JUNE 2013)
- Governments must do more to fulfil their obligations to ensure that torture victims and their families can obtain redress and rehabilitation for the suffering they have endured, UN human rights experts* have stressed in a joint call.
To mark UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June, the independent experts are highlighting the fact that traumatised victims too often struggle to obtain the physical and mental rehabilitation, justice and compensation to which they are entitled.
“Torture unfortunately continues to be practised in many countries, made possible by the dehumanization of the victim, torturer and society at large,” said Claudio Grossman, Chair of the UN Committee Against Torture which last November issued a landmark definition on the right to reparation for victims (General Comment no. 3 on Article 14 of the Convention).
Victims have the enforceable right to reparation that includes fair and adequate compensation and access to as full rehabilitation as possible. States must also ensure victims are not exposed to further risk of ill-treatment and ensure violations are investigated and punished.
The Committee’s stance was reinforced in March by Human Rights Council resolution 22/21 that called on States to not only provide redress for victims of torture but to ensure that victims are fully involved in the process to help them rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society.
“A victim-centred approach requires individual assessment of the victim’s needs and treatment that goes beyond the short term,” said UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez. “A holistic approach is crucial to ensure professionals work with, rather than on, a person who has been tortured.”
Another key duty on States, the experts stress, is to tackle impunity and strengthen judicial proceedings to prevent torture from continuing.
“Effective redress is not possible without States addressing impunity,” said Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. “In addition to receiving reparation, it is crucial for victims to be involved in truth-seeking exercises, and in judicial processes to ensure effective and impartial investigations, prosecutions and judgements that reflect the gravity of the offence. It is also central for societies to put institutions and mechanisms in place to prevent future violations,” he said.
Rehabilitation of victims is key not only for the individuals affected but for society as a whole, according to Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture which conducts field visits to places of detention. “Wherever and whenever torture and ill-treatment occur, a meaningful prevention implies prevention for the victims and their relatives. Our committee has learned from direct experience the central role that rehabilitation occupies in the cycle of prevention,” he said.
Helping to rebuild lives
The focus on a victim-oriented approach also highlights the need for properly resourced rehabilitation centres, the experts say.
Every year, the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture supports hundreds of such centres to give humanitarian, medical and legal assistance to victims and their relatives.
It is estimated that the Fund assists annually between 50,000 to 70,000 victims and their relatives, including Syrian refugee Sabeen, who was kidnapped, repeatedly raped, and saw family members killed in front of her. Sabeen, 24, fled to Jordan where her mother took her to a centre that receives a grant from the Fund to provide therapy and support for torture victims. (Read Sabeen’s story here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Acallforactioninsupportofvictimsoftorture.aspx)
The Fund, which relies on voluntary contributions from governments, the private sector and individuals, has seen its donations drop 30% since 2008 to $8.4m in 2012. Its donor base has also shrunk from 38 donors in 2008 to 22 in 2012.
“Too many governments are cutting back on this in the light of economic problems,” said Mercedes Doretti, a forensic anthropologist who chairs the Fund’s Board of Trustees. Ensuring prompt and proper treatment for victims of torture can reduce the financial cost to the state, she noted.
“We strongly hope that this renewed focus on victims’ redress and rehabilitation will translate into more resources being made available to respond to thousands of torture victims,” said Ms Doretti.
(*) The joint statement was issued by the UN Committee against Torture, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence and the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
Read about the work of the Fund here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/UNVFT/Pages/WhattheFundis.aspx
For more information:
Committee Against Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CAT/Pages/CATIndex.aspx
Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CAT/Pages/CATIndex.aspx
Special Rapporteur on Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/SRTortureIndex.aspx
Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/TruthJusticeReparation/Pages/Index.aspx
BAN KI-MOON | Victims of torture must not face reprisals for seeking redress through the UN
Joint Statement* to mark the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Tuesday, 26 June 2012.
GENEVA (26June 2012) – An arbitrarily detained man reaches out to United Nations human rights bodies for justice. While the UN body rules in his favour, the man faces grave reprisals for speaking out in defence of his rights. He is denied medical treatment, placed under solitary confinement and allegedly beaten by prison authorities.
Today, on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we remind States that they have an obligation to protect such individuals and to ensure that they do not face reprisals or intimidation for cooperating with United Nations bodies.
Every year, the Committee against Torture and independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council receives individual communications from victims of torture, and information about alleged violations from human rights defenders and civil society actors from all regions of the world to be considered in their reports. Many detainees, at great personal risk, find the courage to share their traumatic experiences of torture and ill-treatment with the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Torture during their visits to detention centres.
Every year, hundreds of rehabilitation centres, small and large, supported by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, provide indispensable humanitarian, medical and legal assistance to thousands of victims of torture and their family members.
Many of those victims and actors who enable us to do our work by providing invaluable expertise and by sharing the sufferings they have endured, experience intimidation and reprisals.
Reprisals against people who cooperate with the United Nations mechanisms in protecting and advancing human rights are absolutely unacceptable and are in violation of international law and States’ legal obligations. There must be an effective means of ensuring that reprisals do not occur, and if they do, the individuals involved and the State must be held accountable.
Under the Convention against Torture, States have an obligation to take steps to ensure that complainants and witnesses or any other individual or organizations that cooperate with the Committee are protected against ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisals. Similarly, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture calls on States parties to fully respect their obligation under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture to ensure that individuals it meets during the course of its visits are not sanctioned as a result of their cooperation.
In urging States to establish and support rehabilitation centres or facilities where victims of torture can receive treatment, the General Assembly stipulated recently that States should also ensure the safety of their staff and patients.
On this Day, we stand in solidarity with those who, after having suffered the worst forms of torture and ill-treatment, place their trust in United Nations mechanisms despite the risk of reprisals. It is imperative that States translate their commitment to the fight against torture with measures that guarantee that victims and human rights advocates engaging with the United Nations mechanisms against torture will not be subjected to reprisals and re-victimization.
(*) This joint statement was issued by the United Nations Committee against Torture, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, the 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.
The Committee against Torture: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/
The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment:
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/opcat/index.htm
UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/TortureFundMain.aspx