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'Prohibition of torture is absolute,' says Ban on International Day in support of victims

'Prohibition of torture is absolute,' says Ban on International Day in support of victims

India Blooms News Service | | 27 Jun 2014, 01:19 pm
New York, June 27 (IBNS): Reiterating their pledge that every victim of torture will one day gain his or her right to acknowledgement, senior United Nations officials marked the International Day in Support of those victims by calling on the international community to strengthen efforts “to eradicate this heinous practice.”

“As we honour the victims on this International Day, let us pledge to strengthen our efforts to eradicate this heinous practice” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message, underlining that no forms of torture should be ever tolerated.

Forms of torture throughout the world range from beatings to rape and public sexual humiliation. Often they include the usage of specific machinery or object to inflict pain on the victims. Torture could also mean forcing someone to witness pain being inflicted on family members, such as children.

Every day, many men and women are subject to torture either in prisons, police stations, or detention centres. Those detained are likely to suffer prolonged isolation and never-ending interrogations. Basic resources, such as food and water and medical treatment are often denied for long periods of time, according to the United Nations.

“The prohibition of torture is absolute. The Convention against Torture states unequivocally that the use of torture is illegal under any circumstances, including armed conflict, the fight against terrorism, political instability or other emergency conditions,” stressed Mr. Ban.

Yet, even though the prohibition on torture extends beyond national borders, there are still 41 countries which have no ratified the Convention against torture, allowing forms of torture and ill-treatment against prisoners and detainees.

“All 155 States that have ratified this treaty have committed to fight impunity by thoroughly investigating and prosecuting violations and bringing perpetrators, no matter their level of office, to justice. They have also accepted the obligation to provide redress to the victims and their families” said the Secretary-General, suggesting that effective remedies and rehabilitation have yet to become a reality.

Many victims of torture across the globe had been assisted through the United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture.

“The Fund is supporting projects providing vital services to victims of torture fleeing violence and persecution.” has suggested Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. “Essential psycho-social assistance is being delivered to help victims of all age groups recover and regain their dignity” added Mr. Ban.

In her remarks, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, declared: “Torture is an unequivocal crime…Neither national security nor the fight against terrorism, the threat of war, or any public emergency can justify its use. All States are obliged to investigate and prosecute allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and they must ensure by every means that such practices are prevented.”

In fact, the prohibition on torture extends beyond national borders: States may not return a person to a country where she or he is at risk of being subjected to torture or other cruel or inhuman treatment. “Furthermore, information extracted under torture may not be used in courts of law,” she said explain that this includes closed proceedings such as military courts, and hearings that the Government has made private for fear they could disclose sensitive information.

“It also means that intelligence agencies may not legally use information obtained under torture. Any such use not only weakens the absolute prohibition of torture by creating a market for information obtained by such means: it also amounts to collusion in acts of barbarity,” said Ms. Pillay.

Continuing, she said that every day her Office, and human rights activists, receive new reports of torture in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. In almost all cases, those who have ordered and committed these violations escape justice.

“They are enveloped in the cloak of national protection or explicit amnesty measures, and their protectors feign ignorance of the horror that has been committed under their authority,” she said, adding that Governments that collude in this impunity violate not only the victim’s right to justice “but also the human rights of us all.”

“On June 26, we in the human rights community honour the world’s many victims of torture…We speak clearly and loudly so that officials everywhere will hear this message: no act of torture, or use of information extracted by torture, can be tolerated,” she said.

 

Holding cell inside a maximum security detention centre. Photo: Emma Reverter

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm