The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment entered into force on 26 June 1987. With the decision numbered 52/149 taken by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 12 December 1997, 26 June was declared as “The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture”.
On 26 June, the date of entry into force of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which was accepted also by our country in 1988, human rights activists and torture victims around the world raise their voices against acts that do not befit human dignity, victims of torture are commemorated and supported.
Today, 173 states are party to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In accordance with the Convention, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”.
Türkiye has taken concrete steps to harmonize its national legislation and practices with international conventions to embody the prohibition of torture. In this context, it has been promised that torture is strictly prohibited and that those who commit this act will be punished, both by the legislation adopted in domestic law and by international conventions. The prohibition of torture is guaranteed by the provision: “No one shall be subjected to torture or ill-treatment; no one shall be subjected to penalties or treatment incompatible with human dignity.” in Article 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Türkiye. Article 94 of Turkish Penal Code the Turkish Penal Code states that “Any public officer who performs any act towards a person that is incompatible with human dignity, and which causes that person to suffer physically or mentally, or affects the person’s capacity to perceive or his ability to act of his own will or insults them shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of three to twelve years.” regulation is included. In addition, the crime of torture is defined as a crime against humanity in Article 77 of the Turkish Penal Code, and in 2013, paragraph 4 of this article within the scope of the Zero Tolerance Against Torture policy, “These offenses are not subject to the statute of limitation.” statement has been added.
Inspection and/or preventive visits by international and national independent human rights mechanisms are of great importance for the implementation of the torture ban. As a national preventive mechanism, HREIT conducts on-site investigations within the scope of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment by conducting announced or unannounced regular visits to places where those deprived of their liberties or those under protection are held and conducts private meetings with people in these institutions. HREIT gives advice to relevant institutions and organizations in its reports on visits and ensures the transparency of closed institutions by sharing its reports with the public.
On the occasion of June 26, “The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture”, it should be underlined once again that acts of torture should not be allowed to go unpunished, and that the systems that allow torture should be completely abolished or changed. The search for justice regarding the suffering and grief of the victims of this crime and the relatives of the victims should be supported. On this day, when tortured people are commemorated, supported and torture is condemned, as the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Türkiye, we reiterate that we stand by the victims of torture and hope for a world where such abuses will not occur.