"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."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Torture victim from Mauritania, undergoing rehabilitation at the African Centre for the Prevention and Resolution of Conflicts, Vivre Caprec, in Senegal. The centre is funded by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Torture. (OHCHR Photo)
Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. The United Nations has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings.
Torture is a crime under international law. According to all relevant instruments, it is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances. This prohibition forms part of customary international law, which means that it is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a State has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited. The systematic or widespread practice of torture constitutes a crime against humanity.
On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, (resolution 39/46), annex, which entered into force on 26 June 1987.