AHRC Statement on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

(This statement is also available in Chinese and Korean, Please check your attachment)


Invest Money to eradicate Torture; Mere talk is just hypocrisy!

Perhaps, the only day that really reflects the reality of Asia is this day which remembers the victims of Torture. This is a continent that is so sick with torture. What is worse is that, the most educated and the sophisticated classes of this society tolerate torture and have no hard feelings against it.

Asia’s victims of torture find very little support from their communities. Those who hold moral and ethical leadership are almost mute about torture and quite many of these persons directly or indirectly tolerates the use of torture. The political leaders, while signing UN Convention Against Torture and Other Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment and thus acquiring respectability in the international community, cynically laugh at efforts to stop torture and do every thing to protect the torturers and not the victims. Even the judiciary for most part, is determined not to stop this practice. Above all the National Human Rights Commissions who are supposed to be using their mandate to promote human rights play humbug when it comes to the stopping of torture.

It must also be said, that in Asia, the contribution of the United Nations to stop torture is so insignificant that hardly anything has been achieved in this area. Even the countries where there are habitual practices of barbaric forms of torture like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia and others, had received hardly any intervention from the United Nations agencies that are worth mentioning.

One of the worst mockeries of justice is to leave the investigation of torture to the very institutions that perpetrate torture. Without law enforcement agencies with genuine power to investigate the police and other agents who engage in torture, lot of talk that goes on about torture will only generate further cynicism and demoralization. This in real terms means investment of money and other resources to prevent torture. There is no way to escape this: financial commitment to prevent torture is a moral responsibility.

The Meditations and reflections on this day must be on the failures of protection. If anything really different is to happen in the coming years the extent of the colossal failures to prevent torture or to protect the victims must be genuinely reflected upon.

Real and strong movements against torture are long overdue in Asia. It is time to face the challenge. Those who can lead, are the people’s organizations themselves. It is their duty to awaken their communities against the prevalent barbarities. It is also their duty to critique those who hold positions of moral leadership in their countries, including the religious leaders. In the political field this issue must be brought to surface, so that the actions and positions of the political leaders on this matter are brought to the public scrutiny.

The only way to alter the present situation is to treat Torture as a heinous crime and genuinely enforce the law against perpetrators. This can be done by getting the agencies to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, genuinely. For the proper functioning of these agencies there should be sufficient financial allocations.

On this day, we must say good bye to mere paying of lip service to the prevention of torture. Instead, the following actions must be undertaken urgently;

-Activities to make this a public issue of highest priority

-All governments must be questioned on the extent of the financial commitments to prevent torture.

-The leaders of moral and ethical opinions including religious leaders, who refuse to raise the issue of real safeguards against Torture, must be exposed and shunned.

-The issue of torture must be kept very visible all the time through such methods as erection of monuments to symbolize struggle against torture, constant publication of advertisements, constant critiques on this issue, putting up of web-sites on torture victims and torture practices, keeping vigils, constant use of urgent appeals and other relevant activities-.

-A sense of urgency must be kept up throughout the year.


Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AS-06-2001
Countries : Asia,
Issues : Torture,