26th June – Statement on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was established by the United Nations in 1997. This day is intended not only to give a voice to victims of torture and their families, but also to strengthen political commitment against torture. The date commemorates the entry into force of the UN Convention against Torture on 26 June 1987.
Torture is a crime under international law. It is absolutely prohibited for all States and cannot be justified under any circumstances. Today reminds us that torture remains a global challenge and that much still needs to be done to eradicate it.
Torture most often occurs with the aim to extract a confession by law enforcement, intelligence officials, and military personnel. ‘In my time as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, I observed that the most frequent setting where torture and coercion take place is the course of the interrogation of suspects and for the purpose of obtaining confessions’ says Juan E. Méndez.
For this reason, time and again international experts have urged to move away from accusatory, coercive, manipulative and confession-driven practices towards the adoption of investigative interviewing techniques (UNSRT, Méndez, 2016). This year the adoption of the ‘Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigations and Information Gathering’, also referred to as ‘Mendez Principles’, marked a monumental achievement in this regard.
On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights welcomes this achievement and stands ready to join efforts for the implementation of this landmark development.
The full statement is available in the download section.