The United Nations (UN)’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is annually observed across the world on 26th June to raise awareness and remind people that human torture is not only unacceptable, it is also a crime.
- This day is also observed to speak out against the crime of torture and to honour and support victims and survivors of torture throughout the world.
- The day also offers an opportunity to call on all stakeholders to unite in support of the millions of people around the world who have been victims of torture.
i. On 12th December 1997, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/52/149 and proclaimed the 26th June of every year as United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
ii. The first-ever International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was observed on 26th June 1998.
Note: The year 1998 marked the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which proclaimed that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” on 10th December 1948.
The day was established 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.
Why June 26?
26th June marks the day in 1987 on which the ‘Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’ came into force.
UN Convention against Torture:
i. The UN convention was adopted by the UNGA on 10th December 1984 and came into force on 26th June 1987 after it had been ratified by 20 states.
ii. Its implementation by States parties is monitored by a body of independent experts, the Committee against Torture.
- Currently, there are 173 State parties to the Convention.
- The year 2023 marks the 36 anniversary of the entry in force of the UN’s convention on torture.
What is Torture?
i. The term ‘torture’ is defined as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.
ii. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and its purpose:
i. The UN’s Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is a unique UN operation that gives direct help to victims of torture and their families.
ii. The fund was established in 1981 by the UNGA to focus global attention on the needs of torture victims.
iii. The objective of the fund is to help victims and their families to rebuild their lives and to seek redress for the human rights violations they have suffered.
iv. The Fund is managed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner (OHCHR) for Human Rights, the focal point for UNs human rights activities.
Funds in 2023:
i. In 2023, the Fund awarded 184 annual grants for civil society organisations to implement projects for direct assistance to torture victims, for a total of USD 8,931,000.
ii. The Fund also awarded six annual grants to help build the capacity of civil society organisations providing vital services to survivors.
Note: In addition, the Fund allocated over USD 605,000 for emergency grants to be awarded on an as-needed basis throughout 2023 to respond to human rights and humanitarian crises.
About United Nations (UN):
Founded in- 1945
Secretary-General- António Guterres
Headquarters- New York, the United States of America (USA)