International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is held annually on 26 June. The day is dedicated to speak out against the crime of torture and to honor and support victims and survivors throughout the world and pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable and express our solidarity with, and support for, the hundreds of thousands of victims of torture and their family members throughout the world who endure such suffering. The day is also an opportunity to speak up against the unspeakable and reassert the obligation not only to prevent torture but to provide all torture victims with effective and prompt redress, compensation and appropriate social, psychological, medical and other forms of rehabilitation.

The day was selected by the United Nations General Assembly for two reasons. First, on 26 June 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed during the midst of World War II – the first international instrument obliging UN members to respect and promote human rights. Second, 26 June 1987 was when the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect.

The decision to annually observe the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was taken by the UN General Assembly at the proposal of Denmark, which is home to the world-renowned International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRTR) The first 26 June events were launched in 1998. Since then, nearly 100 organizations in dozens of countries all over the world mark the day each year with events, celebrations and campaigns. On 16 July 2009, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was chosen as a public holiday in Bosnia and Herzogovia

Every year the IRCT monitors the campaign plans of organizations around the world and towards the end of the year publishes the 26 June Global Report where it describes the events held in commemoration of the day. According to the latest 26 June Global Report (2012), at least 100 organizations in 60 countries around the world commemorated the day with conferences, workshops, peaceful protest rallies, cultural and musical events.

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