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International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, 26 June

European and UN anti-torture bodies: duty to protect dignity of detained persons more relevant than ever in current global context of instability and economic crisis

24.6.2016 Geneva/Strasbourg - Ahead of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which aims at the total eradication of torture, the heads of the two international bodies set up to monitor the treatment of any person deprived of their liberty expressed their deep concern at the risks increased instability poses for the protection and preservation of human dignity.

Malcolm Evans, Chairperson of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (SPT), and Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the Council of Europe European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), said: 

“Violent and so-called frozen conflicts, large-scale refugee and migration flows as well as international terrorism pose clear threats for the treatment of individuals who are deprived of their liberty in connection with these phenomena. The economic crisis has also impacted negatively on the treatment of people in detention in many countries. When facing these challenges, states are often tempted to cut corners with human rights. While fighting terrorism or managing migration flows are legitimate objectives, they can never justify inflicting ill-treatment on persons deprived of their liberty or detaining people in inhuman or degrading conditions.

In the current climate of instability prevailing in many parts of the world, it is essential to recall the absolute prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Crucially, this also entails an obligation of prevention. The preventative role of independent international and national bodies that monitor the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty is now more important than ever. We therefore call on states to enhance their cooperation with these bodies, to respect fully their mandate and powers and to make good use of the guidance they provide, with the common goal of preventing new victims of torture.”