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Message on the 30th anniversary of the Convention against Torture by the Secretary General, Geneva, 4 November 2014

Thirty years have passed since the United Nations Convention against Torture entered into force, enshrining in international law an unequivocal prohibition of this heinous practice under all circumstances.

The Convention has inspired new national laws, helped put in place important protection mechanisms and raised awareness about the needs and rights of victims.  Yet torture continues across the world, with devastating impacts on people and societies alike.

Universal ratification and full implementation of the Convention must remain our imperatives.  I fully support the Convention against Torture Initiative to achieve universal ratification in the next ten years.  I would also like to highlight the crucial role of civil society in fulfilling the goals of the Convention.

I call on the 156 States parties to the Convention to do more to uphold the responsibilities assigned to them by this Treaty.  Equally important, I call on States to meet their reporting obligations. Reporting to the Committee against Torture provides a unique opportunity for States to comprehensively, and self-critically,  review and improve domestic laws and practices.  I also encourage States to respond promptly to the recommendations provided by the Committee, take meaningful steps to eradicate torture and meet the needs of traumatized torture victims and their families.

People need to be able to trust their institutions of justice; governments need to protect human rights instead of oppressing people.  Torture has no place in the peaceful, equitable and sustainable future we are striving to build.  Together, let us spare no effort to banish torture, protect people and bring torturers to justice.