By Robin Gomes
The United Nations chief has called on the international community to end the “abominable and useless practice” of torture, saying it is “unacceptable and unjustified at all times, including during states of emergency, political instability, or even in a war.”
Victims of torture
In a message for the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “victims of torture have a right to an effective remedy, rehabilitation and redress.” He said the 26 June observance was instituted to acknowledge and honour the “many survivors of torture world-wide, including those who have been tortured for their political or other views, those caught in the fight against terrorism or those who have been tortured simply because of their differences.”
Pope Francis has also come out strongly against torture. In a tweet on Tuesday he wrote, “Torture is a mortal sin! Christian communities must commit themselves to helping victims of torture.”
Much remains to be done
The absolute prohibition of torture, Guterres pointed out, has been stipulated in unequivocal terms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the United Nations Convention against Torture. The UN Secretary-General acknowledged that much has been achieved in the fight against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and treatment, yet more action is needed to eradicate torture fully.
He invited all to also pay tribute to all those who stand in solidarity with victims and their families – and reaffirm our commitment to ending this abominable and useless practice.