Friday, October 7, 2011

June 26 International Day in Support of Torture Victims 2011

Brief Report of the Events.

South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) in collaboration with St Joseph’s College and National Alliance for Testimonial Therapy (NATT) organized events to observe June 26- International Day in Support of Torture Victims on the 24 and 25th June 2011.

June 26th is the day on which the international community comes together to observe the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This day is marked with significance because it was on June 26th 1987, that the Convention against Torture, Inhuman Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) came into effect (adopted in 1984). The Convention requires each State Party to take effective measures to prevent acts of torture within its jurisdiction. Importantly, to make torture a criminal offence in domestic law punishable with appropriate penalties.

As of 22nd June 2011, there are 147 State Parties, who have shown their commitment to eradicating torture by ratifying CAT and 77 states that are yet to ratify CAT - India belongs to this group. The overwhelming support of CAT in the international community underlines the importance of the norm prohibiting torture in international law.

SICHREM in Karnataka has documented 69 cases of illegal detention, torture, encounters(extra judicial killings), deaths in police & judicial custody from January 2011 to June 2011(6months), and has filed complaints with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), courts of law, Government of Karnataka, the Police department and other human rights institutions.

Sadly, the practice of torture remains a pervasive feature of India’s criminal justice system and society more widely. In this regard, it should be noted that instances of torture are not confined to police custody and interrogation situations. In a variety of other settings, particularly in the private sphere, vulnerable groups are subjected to standards of treatment which are no less severe than those meted out in police custody. Consider for example, the emotional and physical ordeal endured by women harassed and discrimination based on gender; the plight of young children forced into labor, subjected to verbal, physical and sexual abuse; the suffering caused by social boycotts on marginalized groups, and the severe inhumane forms of atrocities perpetrated by upper castes and law enforcement authorities on Dalits. It is a well known fact throughout the country that torture is prevalent, with the victims being largely drawn from the poor & marginalized in society. These examples serve to reinforce the prevalence of many forms of torture in our society and the need for effective mechanisms to eradicate torture.
This being the statement and the theme, SICHREM in collaboration with St Joseph’s College and National Alliance for Testimonial Therapy (NATT) initiated a journey to create awareness for the benefit of the general public and students to know about evils of torture and the remedies available.

Report for PVCHR[1]