International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2019: Current Facts and History
The UN General Assembly proclaimed International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June in 1997. The main aim is to totally eradicate torture.
What is a Torture?
According to Human Rights Law torture is defined as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person in which a public official is directly or indirectly involved for a specific reason. Torturers are seen as the ‘enemy of all mankind'. It is considered so barbaric and incompatible with the civilised society that it cannot be tolerated.
In fact the Human Rights Court have stated that torture is 'deliberate inhuman treatment causing very serious and cruel suffering'.
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: History
The Convention against Torture came into force on 26 June, 1987. It was an important step of human rights globalising the process and acknowledging that torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment should be universally illegal. On 12 December, 1997, The UN General Assembly passed a resolution 52/149 and decided to observe 26 June as the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture to eradicate torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It is to be remembered that pain or suffering caused by legal penalty is not considered as torture.
On 26 June, 1998, the first International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was held. On this day United Nations appealed to all Governments and members of civil society to take an action to defeat torture and torturers everywhere. Also, that same year marked the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
How International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is celebrated?
Various rehabilitation centers and human rights organisations around the world celebrate the UN's International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June every year. Event on this day give a chance to unite and raise voice against torture. Several organisations like the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and Amnesty International have played an active role in organising events around the world to promote and make people aware about this day. Various activities like photo exhibitions, distribution of posters and other material to boost people's awareness related to human torture etc. are organised.
The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, administered by the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva is a unique victim-focused mechanism that channels funding for the assistance to victims of torture and their families. The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture accepts donations.
Therefore, under international law, torture is a crime. It is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances. It becomes a part of customary international law which is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a State has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited.