24/06/2005
Press Release
SG/SM/9959
HR/4860
OBV/496


PROHIBITION OF TORTURE IS ABSOLUTE, NON-NEGOTIABLE, SECRETARY-GENERAL

 

SAYS IN MESSAGE FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY

 


Following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the International Day in Support for Victims of Torture, 26 June:


The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an occasion to reaffirm our commitment to eradicate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in whatever guise or manifestation they occur.  It is an occasion to pause and remember torture victims who have not survived, to listen to the stories of those who have, and to support their quest for justice for torture victims and their families -- including by supporting the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.


For the United Nations, whose founders reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and the dignity of the human person, preventing and stamping out torture is a vital objective.  The Special Rapporteur on Torture has been working for two decades to help advance that goal.  The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, which establishes a framework to allow visits by international and national bodies to places where persons are deprived of liberty, is critical to the effectiveness of the Special Rapporteur’s work.  I reiterate my appeal to all States to ratify and adhere to it.


We must also remind ourselves that the absolute nature of the prohibition of torture is non-negotiable, and that torture cannot be justified by any circumstances whatsoever.  This includes an absolute ban, in accordance with Article 3 of the Convention, on transferring any person to another jurisdiction where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person is at risk of torture.


Torture, in all its forms, and in all contexts, is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.  On this day, let us reaffirm our commitment to that principle, and resolve to persevere in our efforts to end torture in our world.


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