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 Observance of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture serves as an annual reminder to the global community of the importance of standing in solidarity with those who have suffered from torturous acts. Advocating for the total eradication of such inhumane practices, this day aims to raise awareness and promote the full rehabilitation of affected individuals. It also seeks to highlight instances where the rights of victims may have been violated and encourages states to take appropriate measures to prevent and prosecute cases of torture.

Introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1997, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture has steadily gained traction over the years. Although the UK may not appear to have a direct connection to occurrences of torture, adopting a deeper perspective reveals the vital role the country plays in international humanitarian efforts. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a key advocate for human rights, the UK holds significant influence in shaping global policies against torture, and seeking justice for its victims.

In the United Kingdom, the observance typically involves hosting educational seminars and panel discussions, with government and non-governmental organisations sharing information about the worldwide fight against torture. Citizens may also participate in awareness-raising campaigns and by engaging in social media discussions to amplify the message of support. The observance of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture takes place on the 26th of June each year, with events and activities held across the country to mark the importance of eradicating torture and ensuring justice for victims.

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.
  • The United Kingdom ratified the UN Convention against Torture in 1988, committing itself to take effective measures to prevent and punish acts of torture and to provide redress and rehabilitation to victims.
  • The United Kingdom has a long-standing commitment to the prohibition of torture, upholding the principle in its domestic and international policies. This includes its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture under Article 3.

Top things to do in the UK 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 the United Kingdom. Here are our suggestions:
    1. The Road to Guantanamo (2006) - This docudrama tells the story of three British citizens who were detained and held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where they faced various forms of mistreatment and torture.
    2. The Secret Policeman (2003) - This documentary explores the use of torture and human rights abuses within the British police force, uncovering disturbing stories of victims.
    3. Taking Liberties (2007) - This documentary investigates the erosion of civil liberties in the United Kingdom since the implementation of various anti-terrorism laws, including stories of people who have suffered as a result.
  • Read a book to learn more about the UN's Support of Victims. Here are our picks:
    1. Freedom from Torture: A Guide to State Obligations under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by the Association for the Prevention of Torture
    2. The United Nations, Human Rights, and Torture: Addressing Gaps in the UK System by Toby Archer and Daniel Holder
    3. Torture and Human Rights: From the British Isles to Global Dominance by Malcolm Evans and Rod Morgan

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