United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

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2024 Date26 June 2024
2025 Date26 June 2025

United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

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United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is a global observance aimed at raising awareness and ensuring the total elimination of torture. It serves to remind society of the ongoing struggle faced by torture victims, and joins together a multitude of organisations and individuals across the globe in a unified fight against this cruel and inhuman treatment. This important day also reiterates the need for prompt, effective rehabilitation for those who have endured such atrocities and the enforcement of existing laws and standards pertaining to torture.

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 12 December 1997, this event signifies an unwavering commitment to upholding the absolute prohibition of torture under international law. The importance of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture to Australians is multifaceted, with relevance on both a local and international scale. While Australia is perceived as a country with strong human rights records, there is still a responsibility to continue addressing any forms of cruel treatment and to provide rehabilitation for survivors. Further, Australia's active engagement in the international community calls for solidarity and cooperation in the global eradication of torture.

Australians can contribute to this cause in various ways, such as raising awareness and participating in educational activities, donating to local and international organisations aiding torture victims, and advocating for human rights and torture prevention. In doing so, Australia remains true to its national values, ensuring a world where dignity, justice and freedom prevails in the face of one of the gravest human rights abuses. The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is observed annually on June 26th.

Facts & quotes about victims of torture

  • The term torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions - UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Torturers must never be allowed to get away with their crimes, and systems that enable torture should be dismantled or transformed - UN Secretary-General António Guterres
  • The UN not only supports victims themselves but also their family members who might be affected by the trauma.
  • Over the years, Australia has faced criticism for its treatment of asylum seekers, specifically those detained in offshore detention centers like Manus Island and Nauru.
  • Australia has a national framework for protecting human rights, which includes a commitment to prevent and address torture.

Top things to do in Australia for this observance

  • Watch the UN's video on torture and how it is done in secret.
  • Learn more about the UN's fund for victims of torture.
  • Watch a documentary about victims of torture in Australia. Here are our suggestions:
    1. Chasing Asylum (2016) - This documentary film sheds light on the lives of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia's offshore detention centers, showcasing the inhumane treatment and torture that many of them face.
    2. Border Politics (2018) - In this documentary, prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside travels the world to investigate the treatment of refugees in various countries, including Australia. He finds that all of these nations have been willfully harming asylum seekers through their policies, leading to torture and abuse.
    3. Trauma (2019) - This Australian documentary explores the long-term impacts of torture on survivors and their families, including the difficulties faced in their search for healing, justice, and a sense of normalcy.
  • Read a book that discusses Australia's human rights, policies regarding asylum seekers, refugees, and torture. Some of these books include:
    1. Human Rights Overboard: Seeking Asylum in Australia by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham, and Chris Goddard
    2. Border Crimes: Australia's War on Illicit Migrants by Michael Grewcock
    3. Australia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats, and Bodies by Suvendrini Perera

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