International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

Despite the unequivocal ban on torture under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, thousands of people around the world continue to be subjected to it, and other forms of ill-treatment.

The EU condemns Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine and the numerous reported cases of torture, extrajudicial killings, and other atrocities committed. The EU also denounces the ill-treatment, torture, and appalling conditions that political prisoners, prisoners of war, and civilians around the world are subjected to, whether in Belarus or in Iran, among others, or in conflict zones such as Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Myanmar. All perpetrators must be held accountable.

On the International Day in support of Victims of Torture, the EU honours and remembers torture victims and reaffirms its commitment to work tirelessly to eradicate torture within and beyond its borders and bring justice and rehabilitation for all victims and survivors of torture.

We are convinced that political commitment and strong partnerships can bring about change in the next decade.

The EU calls on those States that have not yet ratified the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol to do so as a matter of priority. All States need to ensure that torture, wherever it takes place, is promptly investigated, properly documented, resolutely prosecuted and punished. We call on all to strengthen the investment into torture prevention and invite governments to join the Global Alliance for Torture-Free Trade to stop the trade in goods that serve no other purpose than to inflict pain on human beings.

This year the EU is joining forces with a consortium of civil society organisations and launching a new initiative, called ‘United Against Torture’, to push for change in over 100 countries. This innovative partnership will allow us to make a difference on the ground, backing our clear political stance in support of the complete prohibition of torture in law and in practice with a more strategic investment.  It channels EU funds to cover the whole spectrum of anti-torture work from prevention and protection to justice, reparation, and rehabilitation, also exploring the nexus between use of force and ill treatment that so concerns our citizens today.

It will put victims and survivors at the heart of our action for a torture free tomorrow.