Minister Kitt calls for an end to torture
On International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Overseas Development and Human Rights, Mr Tom Kitt, T.D., expressed his abhorrence at the use of torture. The Minister described torture “as an affront to the dignity of the human person” and stated that “it is one of the most devastating human rights abuses; as well as inflicting terrible physical pain, torture has crippling emotional and psychological effects on victims”.
The Minister added that the “International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is an opportunity for the international community to remember the suffering of victims and to call for the perpetrators of such atrocities to be brought to justice.”
The Minister said that Ireland was committed to working for the prevention and eradication of torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment and that Ireland would work to this end in international fora including, the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Minister called for all governments “to speak out against torture, investigate allegations of torture, prosecute torturers and support programmes to help victims of torture.”
The Minister stated that Ireland's commitment to eradicate torture was demonstrated by our support for the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. In 2002 Ireland donated over €70,000 to the Fund. This year Ireland's contribution to the fund has been increased to €100,000.
The Minister paid tribute to the role played by human rights NGOs and human rights defenders, saying “they work selflessly and often at great risk, to bring cases of torture to the attention of the international community and to assist those at risk of torture”.
The Minister noted that Ireland's firm commitment to the international mechanisms for the promotion of human rights, such as the UN Committee Against Torture was reaffirmed by Ireland's recent support for the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 18th December 2002.
Note for editors:
Observed on 26th June every year the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture focuses on helping torture victims and ending torture. The 26th June was first designated as International Day in Support of Victims of Torture by the UN General Assembly in 1998. The date is particularly significant as it marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention Against Torture in 1987 and the day the United Nations Charter was first signed in 1945. The Convention Against Torture obliges States to make torture a crime and to prosecute and punish those guilty of it. It notes explicitly that neither higher orders nor exceptional circumstances can justify torture. Ireland ratified the Convention in April 2002.