Observing June 26-
Day In Support of Victims of Torture”
by SICHREM, St Joseph’s C
ollege & NATT 2011,
Blr. Page 2
Brief Report of the Events.
South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) in collaboration with St
Joseph’s College and National Alliance for Testimonial Therapy (NATT) organized events to
observeJune 26- International Day in Support of Torture Victims on the 24 and 25
June 2011.June 26
is the day on which the international community comes together to observe the
UNInternational Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
This day is marked with significance because itwas on June 26
1987, that the Convention against Torture, Inhuman Degrading Treatment orPunishment (CAT) came into effect (adopted in 1984). The Convention requires each State Party totake effective measures to prevent acts of torture within its jurisdiction. Importantly, to make torture acriminal offence in domestic law punishable with appropriate penalties.As of 22
June 2011, there are 147 State Parties, who have shown their commitment to eradicatingtorture by ratifying CAT and 77 states that are yet to ratify CAT - India belongs to this group. Theoverwhelming support of CAT in the international community underlines the importance of the normprohibiting torture in international law.
SICHREM in Karnataka has documented 69 cases of illegal detention, torture, encounters(extrajudicial killings), deaths in police & judicial custody from January 2011 to June 2011(6months),and has filed complaints with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), courts of law,Government of Karnataka, the Police department and other human rights institutions.
Sadly, the practice of torture remains a pervasive feature of India’s criminal justice system and society
more widely. In this regard, it should be noted that instances of torture are not confined to policecustody and interrogation situations. In a variety of other settings, particularly in the private sphere,vulnerable groups are subjected to standards of treatment which are no less severe than those metedout in police custody. Consider for example, the emotional and physical ordeal endured by womenharassed and discrimination based on gender; the plight of young children forced into labor, subjectedto verbal, physical and sexual abuse; the suffering caused by social boycotts on marginalized groups,and the severe inhumane forms of atrocities perpetrated by upper castes and law enforcementauthorities on Dalits. It is a well known fact throughout the country that torture is prevalent, with thevictims being largely drawn from the poor & marginalized in society. These examples serve toreinforce the prevalence of many forms of torture in our society and the need for effective mechanismsto eradicate torture.This being the statement and the theme, SICHREM in collaboration with St
andNational Alliance for Testimonial Therapy (NATT) initiated a journey to create awareness for thebenefit of the general public and students to know about evils of torture and the remedies available.
A film screening on the issue of torture was organized in the college Campus the day before themarch (June 24, 2011) with a view to motivating more people to stand up against torture. After thescreening the floor was opened for clarifications, comments and questions. Several questionspertaining to the issue of torture, criminal justice system, how to control crime without torture, law andorder, powers of police were raised. Answers to the questions were shared with several examples ofcases of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment were cited to drive home the point