Policy Areas

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Norway has aligned with an EU declaration on 26 June 2006 concerning the support of the ninth United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

The declaration reads as follows:

On the occasion of the ninth United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26th June), the EU underlines the priority which it attaches to the global eradication of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to the full rehabilitation of torture victims.

Torture is not only a tragedy for the victims – the direct and the indirect victims. Torture is also degrading and injuring to the minds of those who perpetrate torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to societies, which tolerate such outrage. No culture of impunity is acceptable.

The EU firmly recalls that there is an absolute prohibition placed on the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and that all States must ensure that they do not resort to these barbaric practices. Recalling the Resolution 60/148 adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 2005, the EU reiterates its principled condemnation of any action or attempt by States or public officials to legalise, authorise or acquiesce in torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances, including on grounds of national security.

The EU urges all States, which have not yet done so, to become parties to the International Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as a matter of priority and to co-operate with the relevant international mechanisms. The EU welcomes the ratification of UNCAT during the course of the last year by Madagascar and Nicaragua.

Scrutiny and openness are essential factors in combating the insidious practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and, with this in mind, the EU warmly welcomes the entry into force on 22 June 2006 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture as a key milestone towards the establishment of an effectiveand innovative torture preventive mechanism at the universal level. In that context, the EU
welcomes the pivotal role played by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and other civil society actors in advocating for the ratification of OPCAT. The EU also strongly encourages all States to consider signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

The EU attaches immense importance to the UN’s role in fighting torture and supporting victims and underlines its support for the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the UN Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture, the OHCHR, UNCAT, CPT and other mechanisms making valuable contributions in this field. The EU is continuing to undertake political, diplomatic and financial initiatives to combat torture within the framework of the EU Guidelines against Torture which were adopted by the Council in 2001. All EU Member States co-sponsored and actively supported the drafting and adoption of a resolution against torture at the 60th session of the UN General Assembly. Moreover, the EU adopted on the 27 June 2005 a Regulation which prohibits the export and import of goods whose only practical use is to carry out capital punishment or to inflict torture. The export of goods which could be used for such purposes is also subjected to authorisation by EU Member State authorities. This welcome step will serve to further reinforce the global fight against torture. The EU hopes that other States will introduce similar legislation.
The prevention of torture and the rehabilitation of torture victims are major priorities for funding under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). €22 million was allocated for prevention and rehabilitation projects in 2005 and 2006 and torture will remain a priority under the successor programme to the EIDHR in the years ahead.

The EU takes this opportunity to commend the persistent efforts by the many NGOs and individuals working tirelessly for the prevention of torture and to alleviate the suffering of victims, as well as in mobilising public opinion on this important day in the UN calendar. The EU resolves to continue and intensify its own efforts to secure a world free from torture.The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia*and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia,and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the  Stabilisation and Association Process.

(26 June 2006)

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