Secretary-General's Message for 2014
Every day, mental and physical torture and ill-treatment are intentionally inflicted on women, men, children in all regions of the world at the instigation of public officials – the very people whose job it is to enforce the rule of law, protect human rights and keep people safe.
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. 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.
Regrettably, the right of victims of torture to effective remedies, including rehabilitation, is yet to become a reality, in particular in the context of armed conflicts and large-scale humanitarian crisis.
The Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is a practical tool of the United Nations to extend prompt assistance to victims of torture and their families. Today, along the borders with Syria, the Fund is supporting projects providing vital services to victims of torture fleeing violence and persecution. Essential psycho-social assistance is being delivered to help victims of all age groups recover and regain their dignity. I thank the States and private donors that are supporting the Fund's efforts, and urge even more to join in this work.
I urge States that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention against Torture, which this year marks 30 years since its adoption. As we honour the victims on this International Day, let us pledge to strengthen our efforts to eradicate this heinous practice.