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International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
26 June

Secretary-General's Message for 2010

Torture is a crime under international law.  The prohibition of torture is absolute and unambiguous.  Torture cannot be justified under any circumstances whatsoever, whether during a state of war or in response to terrorism, political instability or any other public emergency.

And yet, torture is still practised or tolerated by many States.  Impunity persists for the perpetrators.  The victims continue to suffer.

The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an occasion to underscore the internationally recognized right of all men and women to live free from torture.  It is an opportunity to reaffirm our collective commitment to prohibit torture and all cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

I urge all States that have not yet done so to ratify and honour their obligations under the Convention against Torture and the provisions of its Optional Protocol.  I also appeal to all States to invite the Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit their prisons and detention facilities, and to allow full and unhindered access to those detained there.

In addition, only two additional ratifications are required for the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.  The Convention will reinforce the international legal framework to combat and prevent this heinous practice — which is clearly and historically linked with the practice of torture.  I urge those States which have not ratified the Convention to do so as soon as possible.

On this Day we also express our solidarity with millions of victims of torture, and reiterate the need for all States to provide justice and rehabilitation for them.  I thank donors to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and commend the persistent efforts by many non-governmental organizations and individuals to alleviate the suffering of these victims.

On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, I call on States and people to do their utmost to rid the world of this cruel, degrading and illegal practice.

Ban Ki-moon

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