The 26th of June is a little under two months away. While that may be an obvious statement of fact for anyone with a calendar, for those in the global anti-torture movement – or anyone who wishes to fight against torture – the 26 June is the annual day to come together in honour of torture victims.
The UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is commemorated each year by victims of torture, their families, those active in the global anti-torture movement and their supporters. The 26th of June was selected as this day as it is the anniversary of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) coming into force in 1987. UNCAT is the cornerstone document in international anti-torture work as all countries that ratify it are obligated to introduce legislation and mechanisms to prohibit and prevent all forms of torture or cruel, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment.
Already, more than a dozen organisations around the world – torture rehabilitation centres, advocacy groups and human rights defenders – have announced their plans to mark 26th June. Last year, nearly 100 groups, from Peru to the Philippines, and from South Africa to Sweden, marked the day through activities as diverse as marches, demonstrations, and seminars as well as through thought provoking performances of music and drama.
This year’s theme for the day is rehabilitation: that rehabilitation is a right of every torture victim and that it works in undoing some of the effects of these heinous crimes. While torture is horrific, healing is also possible. Rehabilitation makes dignity, health, and economic independence for torture survivors a possibility.
So, YOU have two months until 26 of June. What are you doing? Find out more about what you can do to help at our website.