Strasbourg, 26 June 2012 – On the International day in support of victims of torture, FIACAT organised a meeting at the Palace of Europe, in cooperation with ACAT France, the European Committee for the prevention of torture (CPT) and the Chair of the Council of Europe Human Rights Committee, as a reminder that torture is still a widespread practice throughout the world.
According to Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, the signatory states should long ago have put a stop to any form of torture. However, the President of the International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT), Mme Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual, stated that even now half of all countries still resort to torture.
It was this situation that induced ACAT France to publish its second report, A world of torture http://unmondetortionnaire.com, in December 2011, a text which reports on torture in 23 countries. It also points out that there are many different reasons for torture and many different methods used, and that they exist throughout the world.
The report refers in particular to three European countries which still practise torture (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova and the United Kingdom). A Johan Friestedt, a lawyer and administrator at the European Committee for the prevention of torture (CPT) has pointed out, Europe is not a torture-free zone.
Torture does not stop at the gates of Europe and for this reason FIACAT decided to organise this event within the Council of Europe during the session of its Parliamentary Assembly, to alert European countries to the current situation and remind them that they are also guarantors of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 3 of which refers to this non-derogable right.
FIACAT and the ACAT network are therefore working alongside numerous civil society actors to ensure that the victims are heard, the torturers are condemned and the notion of impunity becomes a thing of the past. François Walter, Chairman of ACAT France, has stated that one of the goals of the ACAT network is a shift of public sentiment from indifference to indignation where acts of torture are concerned. With this idea in mind, numerous ACATs joined together during the night of 23 to 24 June for the Night Vigil (http://www.nuitdesveilleurs.fr), to support by their prayers those suffering at the hands of torturers.
Sabrina Aït-Aoudia : +33 (0)1 42 80 01 60, firstname.lastname@example.org