UN human rights commission says torture 'can never be justified'

UN human rights commission says torture 'can never be justified'

The lead United Nations human rights body today condemned all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which it said "could never be justified under any circumstances."

Acting without a vote, the UN Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution calling upon governments to prohibit torture and condemning any attempt by States or public officials to legalize or authorize torture under any circumstances. The Commission also reminded governments that corporal punishment, including of children, could amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or even to torture.

In other action today, the Commission -- currently holding its 57th session in Geneva -- called upon States that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions, with a view to completely abolishing the penalty. Adopting a resolution by a vote of 27 in favour to 18 against with 7 abstentions, the Commission also urged States not to impose the death penalty on persons suffering from any form of mental disorder.

Adopting another text without a vote, the Commission encouraged the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue the development of human rights education and training materials and urged the UN Department of Public Information to further develop mass media strategies for the effective promotion of human rights.

Other texts approved by the Commission today concerned the promotion of a democratic international order, the prevention of genocide, the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2005), science and the environment, and fundamental standards of humanity.