Tuesday, July 3, 2012

'Journey against Torture' show solidarity and support for all victims of torture.

'Journey against Torture' show solidarity and support for all victims of torture. 

Promotion of Human Dignity - categorize activities/actions/behavior/tricks, works/mechanism/machinery/facility, experiences/practices/occurrences/incidents, emotions/sentiments, expectations etc. and make crime...


People of India calls upon the Government of India to immediately ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CAT”) and to pass a domestic legislation categorically prohibiting torture immediately.

26th June marks the UN International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture. It provides us with an opportunity to honour the victims and survivors of torture, and for us all, survivors of torture and their allies, to stand in solidarity. This day is marked with significance because, it was on June 26th 1987, that the Convention against Torture, Inhuman Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) came into effect (adopted in 1984).

Article 1 of CAT defines torture 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, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

Despite its absolute prohibition, torture continues: both physical and psychological torture. Torture is today prevalent in over half the world’s countries. This is a disgrace in the twenty-first century. Its victims are men, women – often targeted by rape and other sexual torture, and also, children. Torture victims are disproportionately from marginalized groups, in particular the poor, but also women and minority groups. The aim of torture is to exert power, to punish, create fear, to destroy trust, to break down the victim’s personality and resilience. It is first and foremost a means of instilling fear in society at large. Torture is not only destructive at the individual and family level, but also a crucial obstacle to economic and social development.

The effects of torture continue long after the actual act has happened. And rehabilitation is crucial – for the individual, their family and their society. The purpose of rehabilitation is to empower the torture survivor to resume as full a life as possible. Rebuilding the life of someone whose dignity has been destroyed takes time and as a result long-term material, medical, psychological and social support is needed. It is important to stress that rehabilitation is possible. And it works. The positive impact of rehabilitation efforts is often far-reaching. Rehabilitation is also a right. Article 14 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture expressly provides that States should make compensation an enforceable right, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.

As of 22nd June 2011, there are 150 State Parties, who have shown their commitment to eradicating torture by ratifying CAT and 74 states that are yet to ratify CAT - the Government of India has still not ratified CAT, (signed in October 1997). Ratification would be an important step in securing the effective protection against torture by requiring changes to domestic law aligning Indian practice with the well-established international standards on torture. 

The Government of India introduced the Torture Bill in the Lok Sabha on 26th April, 2010. The Lok Sabha passed the Bill on May 6, 2010. The Rajya Sabha then referred the Bill to a Select Committee through a motion adopted on August 31. The Committee submitted its report in December 2010 and made some recommendations which would correct most of the defects in the Bill if accepted.  The time has now come for the Government to amend and expand its current definition of torture to conform to its obligations of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Sadly, the practice of torture remains a pervasive feature of India’s criminal justice system and society more widely. In this regard, it should be noted that instances of torture are not confined to police custody and interrogation situations. In a variety of other settings, particularly in the private sphere, vulnerable groups are subjected to standards of treatment which are no less severe than those meted out in police custody. example, the emotional and physical ordeal endured by women harassed for dowry, or who are subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender; the plight of young children forced into child and bonded labor, or subjected to verbal, physical and sexual abuse; the suffering caused by social boycotts on marginalized groups and the severe inhumane forms of atrocities perpetrated by upper castes on Dalits.

Together on this UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we affirm the right of survivors of torture to rehabilitation. We take the opportunity to remind governments to take seriously their responsibilities to ensure as full rehabilitation and we remind all that rehabilitation is a right and it works.

The Government of India ensure following demands :-

1) To ensure that an order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as justification for committing torture;
2) To provide an effective mechanism to promptly investigate any allegation of torture;
3) To make compensation an enforceable right, including the means for full rehabilitation. 
1. The immediate ratification of the Convention against Torture without any reservations and the signing and ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention;
2. The passing of legislation which brings domestic violence within the definition of torture;
3. Specific safeguards protecting women, children, dalits and minorities, set out in legislation and strictly enforced through human rights institutions and court directions;

'Journey against Torture’ show solidarity and support for all victims of torture. 

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