Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office Christoph Strässer issued the following statement today (26 June) on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture:
“Countless people all over the world become victims of torture on a daily basis, mostly unseen by the public eye. Torture is not something which occurs as an exception, it is widespread and is inflicted routinely, at times even systematically, in many countries.
It is not only in police custody or prison, for example to force confessions, that people are tortured. Declaring patients in medical or psychiatric institutions to be insane without sufficient cause and treating or “pacifying” them against their will and by force can also constitute a form of torture or near-torture. Thus in many countries there are victims of torture in hospitals or psychiatric facilities and even refugee, old people or children’s homes. This is not only the case under dictatorships or in developing countries but partly in democratic and developed nations, too.
The international community needs to do a lot more to stamp out torture in all its manifestations. An important step towards doing so would be for all countries to finally ratify and implement the UN Convention against Torture and its additional protocols. It is also vital that victims of torture receive comprehensive care and support, something which includes consistent criminal prosecution of the perpetrators.”