Torture reported with growing frequency worldwide – UN experts

24 June 2005

Torture is reported with growing frequency from all regions of the world and the lives of individuals and their sense of security continue to be scarred by it on a daily basis, United Nations human rights officials said today in a message ahead of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture being marked on Sunday.

Torture is reported with growing frequency from all regions of the world and the lives of individuals and their sense of security continue to be scarred by it on a daily basis, United Nations human rights officials said today in a message ahead of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture being marked on Sunday.

The joint statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, the UN Committee against Torture, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on torture and the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, recalled the obligations of states to take effective measures to prevent all acts of torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

“The importance of prevention cannot be overemphasized,” it declared, reminding states of their obligation to investigate and punish all acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment and strengthen efforts to fight impunity.

Recognizing the ordeals of victims and survivors of torture, “both those who have spoken out and those who have suffered in silence,” it urged states to give effect to their obligation to ensure that the victim obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.

Victims of torture have a right to sue for compensation, including civil compensation, it added.

Recalling that the Beijing World Conference on Women 10 years ago recognized that sexual violence and gender-based violence constituted torture where the state perpetrates such acts, consents or acquiesces to them, it highlighted the need to raise awareness of such violence, including domestic violence, and to strengthen measures to prohibit and prevent as well as investigate, prosecute and punish all such acts.

“Gender-based violence, including domestic violence, plays a particularly insidious role in teaching and perpetuating a culture of violence,” it added.