In a statement on Saturday’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, three independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council insisted that “those who have survived the torture have an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation,” including rehabilitation.
Follow the convention
They confirmed that the Convention against Torture (CAT) provides for redress for blatant human rights violations and the restoration of dignity.
“It is particularly important that governments respect and uphold the right to redress,” they said, adding that authorities should ensure that medical and other professionals treating victims of torture can do their jobs freely.
The same guarantees should also be given to civil society organizations and legal defenders so that they can do the important work of documenting torture and assisting the rehabilitation of victims, the legal experts said.
The term “rehabilitation” includes appropriate medico-psychological, social and other relevant specialized treatment.
Reprisals in battle
The UN experts warned in 2012 that victims of torture face reprisals if they complain to the United Nations or cooperate with it.
“Since then, there has been a growing trend towards reported reprisals and hardships against individuals and groups specifically for working with the United Nations,” they affirmed.
CAT, the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Torture have taken all steps to combat retaliation and reprisals against civil society organizations that combat torture and assist victims.
“Vital” citizen space
Last year, Secretary General António Guterres adopted a call to action for human rights, making civil space a priority, and issued the UN guide: Protecting and promoting civil space.
In their declaration, the experts pleaded for the civil area as “vital” for the prevention and control of torture and the protection of the rights of the persecuted and ill-treated.
“We urge states to uphold the absolute and universal prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to create an enabling environment for reparation and rehabilitation of victims of torture and allow civil society to act freely,” they said .
Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on a specific human rights issue or country situation. They are neither UN employees nor are they paid for their work.
Click here to see the names of the three experts.