"The law is crystal clear: torture can never be used at any time or under any circumstances, including during conflict or when national security is under threat. On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we express our solidarity with and support for the hundreds of thousands of victims of torture and their family members throughout the world."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Eritrean refugees wait for protection and assistance, May 2014. Over the past 25 years crimes against humanity, including torture, have been committed in a widespread and systematic manner in Eritrean detention facilities, military training camps and other locations across the country. © EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
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.
Recovering from torture requires prompt and specialized programmes. The work of rehabilitation centres and organisations around the world has demonstrated that victims can make the transition from horror to healing.
This year, 2016, also marks the 35th anniversary of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, administered by the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva, a unique victim-focused mechanism that channels funding for the assistance to victims of torture and their families.
The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture accepts donations.