International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – 26th June
Any act of violence leaves the victim reeling in pain physically as well as emotionally. The world is faced with an even more threatening and grave form of violence in the name of torture. Even today, citizens are tortured in 90% of the countries in the world. Torture is perpetuated by any person acting in official capacity as police officers or militia for a number of reasons like extracting a confession or just information. While the larger objective may vary, torture aims at destroying a person’s self-esteem and integrity by means of maximum physical and mental pain and humiliation.
Victims of torture are usually people from the poorest and most marginalized sections of the society simply because they are more vulnerable and have little or no awareness about how to access justice and their rights. To reiterate the fact that torture is a crime that violates a person’s human rights, the United Nations celebrates 26th June as the ‘International Day in Support of Victims of Torture’. Through this, the UN and various other organizations that work towards helping torture victims with support and rehabilitation, aim at spreading awareness about the existence and impact of methods of torture in different parts of the world. This day seeks to appeal to all governments and civil society members to contribute and take action in overcoming all actions that are cruel and degrade people through torture. A global survey conducted by Amnesty International highlighted that torture is widespread even in countries where it is illegal. Instead of having a zero tolerance approach to methods of torture governments constantly lie to their own people and the world about it and use terms like “enhanced interrogation methods” to mask what really happens. An infamous example of the same is the detention and interrogation system of the US run prison at the Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, which uses methods like water boarding and sleep deprivation to torture the people held captive there.
Torturing people is not only illegal but is also criminal. Instead of employing means of torture under different names, governments must commit to working towards eradicating the same completely and establishing institutions and mechanisms to provide support and rehabilitation to victims of torture.
At CSR, we recognize the impact of torture and violence on the victims and how it severely affects their capabilities to lead a normal life. In India, victims of domestic violence face treatment equivalent to torture and very often are unable to raise their voices against the same due to immense societal pressure. To tackle the same and provide relief to the victims, as a part of our capacity building project, our organization works on enhancing the capabilities of service providers and other stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
It is the responsibility of the civil society and the various government bodies to ensure that nobody is subjected to inhuman treatment and torture for whatever reason and that people who have been victims to such unfortunate practices get the resources and support to be able to lead a normal life.