On International Day Against Torture

Tomorrow, 26th June, is the United Nations’  International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.  This is a day set aside by the international community to show solidarity with victims of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and renew commitment to denounce and criminalize torture and seek justice to the victims.

The Convention Against Torture (CAT) came into force on June 26 1987, as a major step towards global action against torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Prof. Bem Angwe, reflecting on this day noted that 25 years after CAT, torture remains a common feature in many countries of the world.

The right to freedom from torture according to the Executive Secretary is non-derogable under any circumstances and therefore constitutes a grave human rights abuse to apply torture especially to extract information from a suspect, he said. Prof. Angwe reaffirms the commitment of the NHRC towards eradicating torture, stressing that the Commission adopts zero tolerance against torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.

He said the Commission will continue to monitor and investigate complaints of torture adding that a Torture Documentation Centre now exists in the six zonal offices of the Commission.  The Commission, he also disclosed has established a Public Interest Litigation Unit (PILU) to specifically handle cases of this nature.

The Executive Secretary called on the National Assembly to pass into law the bill to domesticate the Convention Against Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment before it. According to him, the domestication of CAT will stem the tide of impunity and criminalize torture as, a grave human rights abuse.


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