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

United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in
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The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an observance held annually to express solidarity with those who have suffered the physical and emotional scars of torture. This day aims to raise awareness about the need to end such inhumane practices and uphold human dignity. Globally, nations gather to show their support for the countless torture victims and to encourage rehabilitation to assist in their journey of healing and reintegration into society.

The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 12 December 1997 to commemorate the day the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force in 1987. For New Zealanders, this observance is important as it aligns with the country's commitment to upholding human rights and promoting justice. New Zealand is a party to the Convention against Torture, and the nation's continued support for the elimination of torture reflects its dedication to maintaining a just and humane world.

In New Zealand, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is observed with various activities designed to educate the public about the issue and provide a means for people to show their support. Community groups, NGOs, and educational institutions may organise events such as panel discussions, film screenings, and commemorative ceremonies. The observance also spotlights the ongoing efforts of local organisations working to support torture victims and advocate for human rights. The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is held each year on June 26, providing New Zealanders the opportunity to stand in solidarity with those who have suffered and unite in the global effort to eradicate torture once and for all.

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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.
  • New Zealand has a robust asylum system that ensures individuals at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations are not forcibly returned to their country of origin.
  • New Zealand's commitment to addressing the issue of torture and the rights of victims is in line with its broader commitment to human rights, social justice, and global efforts to promote peace and security.

Top things to do in NZ 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 human rights abuses related to New Zealand's history. Here are our picks:
    1. Operation 8: Deep in the Forest (2011) - This documentary investigates the 2007 anti-terror raids in New Zealand, where the police claimed to have foiled an alleged terrorist plot. The film explores the human rights implications of the raids and their impact on the affected communities.
    2. The Tipping Point (2019) - This documentary looks at the survivor stories of people who have endured conversion therapy in New Zealand, as they speak out against the practice.
    3. The Price of Peace (2015) - This documentary tells the story of Tame Iti, a prominent Maori activist who was arrested and charged with terrorism following the Urewera raids in New Zealand. The film examines issues of state surveillance, human rights, and the rights of indigenous peoples.
  • Read a book to learn more about the UN Support of Victims of Torture. Here are some recommendations:
    1. The United Nations Convention Against Torture: A Commentary by Manfred Nowak and Elizabeth McArthur
    2. Torture in New Zealand? by Felicity A. Goodyear-Smith
    3. New Zealand Human Rights Legislation and Practice by Nick Russell & Chris Lawrence

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