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A world free from Torture

26 June 2011

Statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

A world free from torture

As the world observes the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), a regional federation of organizations of families of the disappeared and human rights advocates inAsia, express our solidarity with all victims of torture and of state violence around the world.

Today marks the twenty-fourth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention against Torture (CAT), an international treaty that serves as a reminder to everyone that the prohibition of torture and other forms of inhumane and degrading treatment is absolute and cannot be derogated under any circumstances.

However, despite the more than two decades of global commitment to end torture, this egregious practice remains a stark reality today particularly inAsia. Torture is still routinely committed by state security forces by inflicting deliberate physical and mental suffering on a person in order to secure a confession or exact punishment regardless of guilt or innocence or to extort money for personal gain.

Torture comes in many forms including enforced disappearance. This is true not only for the fact that the desaparecidos are undeniably subjected to torture but also because their disappearance causes severe pain and agony to their families who are continuously deprived of knowing the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared loved ones. The community and the greater society are also affected by this horrendous crime.

Lamentably, enforced disappearances often occur with total and continuing impunity that allows those who are responsible for these inhumane acts to escape accountability and deprives the victims and their families the access to justice.

Based on concrete realities on the ground, most of the Asian governments have shown an utter lack of political will to fulfill their obligations to make human rights a reality.

Today as we pay tribute to those who have endured the unimaginable crimes against humanity, in unison with the international community, we speak in denouncing enforced disappearance as a despicable scourge against human freedom and dignity and all other forms of torture.
On this occasion, we once again urge all governments who have not yet acceded to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Punishments and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to sign and ratify these treaties as soon as possible.  Doing so will serve as a necessary step towards prevention and elimination of torture and other forms of state violence.

We can make the world a better place for all peoples everywhere if we can make it free from enforced disappearances and all other forms torture.

Signed and authenticated by:

MUGIYANTO                                                        MARY AILEEN BACALSO

Chairperson                                                                  Secretary-General

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