International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The 26 June is, with the words of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. It is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable". This date marks the entry into force of the UN Convention against Torture and is since 1997 designated as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. All over the world, anti-torture advocates take the opportunity to remind States of their duties to respect the fundamental rights of all people and to prevent torture.

In the light of this day, APT Secretary General Mark Thomson will address members of the European Parliament in Brussels in a debate following the recent review of the EU guidelines on torture.

In Tunisia the APT will take part in a series of commemorative events. Together with OMCT, the Bar Association and the Association Tunisienne des Jeunes Avocats, the APT will conduct a seminar about the role of lawyers in the prevention of torture, with a particular focus on the access to a lawyer from the outset of detention as a safeguard against torture. A number of international and national NGOs dedicated to the eradication of torture will participate in the events during the week of 26 June, including the Organisation contre la Torture en Tunisie (OCTT), OMCT, Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) and Action des Chrétiens contre la Torture (ACAT).

In Lebanon, the APT will organize jointly with the Restart Centre and the OHCHR a workshop about the criminalization of torture on 25 June, in which different legal proposals against impunity for torture will be discussed. The workshop is part of a series of events that Lebanese NGOs organize to commemorate the 26 June.

In Panama, APT’s regional office for the Americas organizes a documentary film screening and a cultural event on the 26. For more information, please contact Paola González.

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) coordinates an annual 26 June campaign, this year on the theme "Rehabilitation works and is a torture survivor’s right". Further, the OMCT gathers information on 26 June activities by members of the SOS-Torture network on their website.