[JURIST] Senior UN officials urged [press release] the international community on Thursday to end the practice of torture in celebration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture [official website]. “As we honour the victims on this International Day, let us pledge to strengthen our efforts to eradicate this heinous practice,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website]. The Secretary-General praised the unilateral ban on all forms of torture in the Convention Against Torture [text] but expressed concern that 41 nations have yet to ratify any such ban. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] stated that:
Torture is an unequivocal crime…Neither national security nor the fight against terrorism, the threat of war, or any public emergency can justify its use. All States are obliged to investigate and prosecute allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and they must ensure by every means that such practices are prevented.
The High Commissioner went on to stress that information extracted through torture cannot legally be used in courts of law or by intelligence agencies.
Earlier this month UN human rights experts urged [JURIST report] the Israeli Parliament to withdraw proposed legislation that would allow for the forced feeding and medical treatment of hunger striking inmates, widely considered a form of torture. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] launched [JURIST report] a world-wide anti-torture campaign in May. Earlier in May the UN urged investigation [JURIST report] into human rights violations, including torture of civilians, in South Sudan. In April the Iraqi Justice Ministry temporarily closed [JURIST report] Abu Ghraib Prison [JURIST news archive], an institution infamous for continuing reports of torture since the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War. Earlier in April the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] voted [JURIST report] to declassify and release a report on its findings regarding the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website].