International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell
Torture has no place in any society. No circumstances, including war or public emergency can ever justify the use of torture. Yet, thousands of human beings around the world continue to be subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, with almost total impunity for perpetrators.
On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we stand in solidarity with all victims of torture and their families and reaffirm our strong determination to combat torture worldwide and in all contexts, notably in places of detention.
As conflicts and crises multiply, the use of torture is also becoming more widespread. The EU deplores the numerous reported cases of torture, extrajudicial killings and other atrocities in Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. These acts will not go unpunished. The perpetrators of serious human rights violations and abuses, not only in Ukraine but all over the world, must be held accountable.
Defending a rules-based international order is more crucial than ever. Supporting the International Criminal Court investigations, UN mandated Commissions of Inquiries and other independent investigative mechanisms is key to serve justice for victims and ensure accountability for serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
Torture cannot be eradicated without ending the trade in tools used to torture, ill-treat or execute human beings. The EU welcomes the recent report from the UN Group of Governmental experts on torture-free trade which represents a milestone in the global efforts towards establishing common international standards in this field. We call on all States to engage in the ongoing UN process and to join the Alliance for Torture-Free Trade.
The EU will continue to do its part in this crucial endeavour. We will continue to speak out against torture and support actions to uphold human dignity. We celebrate the 35th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT), and with 173 State parties, its universal ratification is now within reach. The EU will spare no effort to urge partner countries to ratify the UNCAT and ensure they live up to their commitments.
On this day, we also pay tribute to all actors, including civil society and human rights defenders who courageously engage to fight impunity, protect and support victims of torture around the world.
Let us make sure that their efforts are worthwhile and that this outrageous and illegal practice becomes a thing of the past. We owe it to the victims and survivors of torture.