International Day in Support of Victims and Torture is observed on June 26 of every year to raise critical awareness about torture and to rally support. It establishes the premise that torture is a crime against humanity. The day is also dedicated to the victims of torture, who have often been swept aside in endless narratives. The day was brought into existence in 1997 after a decades-long campaign, which started with the 1987 Convention Against Torture. June 26 illuminates the necessary steps that we as a society can take to eliminate the use of torture and the ways in which we can support the victims of this heinous crime.
History of United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
Torture, a crime under international law, is still prevalent in many parts of the world. The United Nations defines torture as the intentional infliction of physical or mental suffering to a person to exert some information or execute a punishment. As per the U.N., torture is counted as one of the vilest acts that a person can perpetrate on their fellow human beings. The inhumanity of torture has long been justified as a means to an end. But leading psychologists have decried torture as effective and inept to accomplish any goal.
The quest to declare torture a crime has been long championed in the halls of the U.N. In 1987, the Convention Against Torture came into effect, which regarded torture as a degrading treatment that should be deemed illegal. The U.N. General Assembly marked June 26 as the official United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in 1997. The day seeks to end the barbaric adoption and acceptance of torture. Many global organizations, including Amnesty International and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, organize events around the world to raise awareness about the adverse impact of torture on humans. On June 26, a collective pledge is taken to raise awareness about the urgency to declare torture as a crime at a national level in the remaining countries.
For the victims, the road to recovery from the abuse inflicted by torture is rather difficult. Through the declaration of an international day in support of the victims, the U.N. raises special funds that focus on their healing and recovery with practical assistance and therapy.
United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture timeline
The United Nations General Assembly condemns torture used against humans for the first time.
The General Assembly adopts a formal declaration to offer protection to victims of cruel treatment and torture.
The first-ever Convention Against Torture is adopted and implemented by the General Assembly.
The General Assembly designates June 26 as United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture FAQs
Is torture legal?
Torture is illegal under international law. It is prohibited under U.S. federal law, along with other forms of detainee abuse.
Is torture effective?
Various psychologists have concluded that the information extracted via torture is often unreliable as being under extreme duress impairs the cognitive abilities of the victim.
What constitutes mental torture?
Debilitation, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme temperatures, and starvation are all forms of mental torture.
How to Observe United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
A 2017 Pew Research Poll found that 48% of Americans agree with the use of torture in some circumstances, while only 49% say there is no acceptable use of torture. These statistics are a disgrace to civil society and all the more reason why we should do everything in our power to raise our voices against the normalization of torture.
Donate to the victim fund
Raising funds for the victims of abuse is an integral part of the observation. There are several organizations under the purview of the U.N., which work in direct circles with the victims. Sponsoring individual victims and making generous donations is a great way to show your support for the cause.
Stand up to the bullies
While we wouldn’t dare to compare the scale, we’ve all had bullies in our lives who tortured us for their merriment. On June 26, rally your fellow citizens to take a stand — encourage one another to stand up against bullies.
5 Chilling Facts About Torture That Will Challenge Your World View
Torture doesn’t work
Torture is ineffective as it impairs the cognitive abilities of the victims.
Its impact is life-long
There are serious and long-term impacts of torture on the victim that often leads to P.T.S.D.
It spares no child
Ethiopia’s Center for Victims of Torture proclaimed that 40% of its clients have been minors.
The military veto
Forty-two retired admirals and generals have issued a joint statement declaring torture as a violation of our collective values.
It has no friends
The Convention Against Torture continues to have bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress.
Why United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is Important
Human rights are universal
Inflicting torture upon a human being by an authority is a violation of human rights — regardless of the circumstances. An attack on human rights deserves the highest condemnation, and it is beneath the civilized society to strip a person of their humanity.
There’s hope for a better tomorrow
While torture reveals the worst of humankind, the collective support for the victims rekindles our faith in humanity. On June 26, thousands of individuals from all around the world rally together to raise awareness about this heinous crime and pledge their support toward the victims.
It unmasks the charade
Torture is an outdated practice of uncivilized times that cannot be brought into civilized society. The U.N.’s initiative not only rallies in support of the victims of torture but also unmasks torture as being an ineffective and inept way of treating people.
United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture dates