United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has today expressed support for and solidarity with the victims of torture and their families throughout the world, and underscored that torture must never be used under any circumstances, including during conflict or when national security is under threat.
“Despite its absolute prohibition under international law, this dehumanizing practice remains pervasive and, most disturbingly, is even gaining acceptance,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
He recalled that the Convention Against Torture, ratified by 159 UN State Parties to date, obligates States to prevent torture and ensure that a victim of torture under their jurisdiction obtains prompt redress, compensation and appropriate forms of rehabilitation.
The UN chief strongly urged States to stand by victims and support the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, established by the UN General Assembly in 1981.
The Fund requires a minimum of $12 million in annual voluntary contributions and supports hundreds of organizations that provide legal, social, psychological and medical assistance to some 50,000 victims every year.
Mr. Ban said: “When States neglect their obligation to prevent torture, and fail to provide torture victims with effective and prompt redress, compensation and appropriate forms of rehabilitation, the UN Voluntary Fund […] is a lifeline of last resort.”
“Assisting victims of torture and stopping this crime will benefit whole societies and help provide a future of safety and dignity for all,” concluded the Secretary-General.