Tag Archives: torture

Briefing Note: Office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva

Australia

We are shocked by the video footage that has emerged from Don Dale youth detention centre in the Northern Territory in Australia, showing children as young as 10, many of whom are Aboriginal children, being held in inhumane conditions and treated cruelly. Some children were held in isolation for extended periods, sometimes for several weeks, in hot and dark cells with no access to fresh air or running water. In one incident, six children were tear-gassed by prison guards. The videos, from 2014, show another child hooded and strapped to a chair for several hours. Others are shown being repeatedly assaulted and stripped naked. According to the children’s testimony, these abuses took place over several years. Most of the children who were held at the detention facility are deeply traumatized. The treatment these children have been subjected to could amount to a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, to which Australia is a party.

Article 37 of the CRC stipulates that “every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age.”

The announcement by the Government of an investigation into youth detention in the Northern Territory is an important step. We encourage the Government to extend the scope of the investigation beyond the Northern Territory in order to establish that such appalling treatment is not taking place in any other place of detention in Australia. We call on the authorities to identify those who committed abuses against the children and to hold them responsible for such acts. The children who were abused at Don Dale should receive psychosocial rehabilitation to overcome the trauma they have suffered. Compensation should also be provided.

We also call on Australia to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. This important instrument focuses on the prevention of torture. Under the Protocol, Australia would establish a National Preventive Mechanism which conducts regular visits to all places of detention in the country. Events at Don Dale clearly show the immediate need to establish such a system of regular visits to ensure that what happened at Don Dale never happens again in Australia.

29 July

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org )

Nelson Mandela International Day – Monday 18 July 2016

Let’s mark Mandela Day by Adopting a Minimum Set of Human Rights for Millions of Detainees

GENEVA / KAMPALA / STRASBOURG / WASHINGTON DC (15 July 2016) – Speaking ahead of Nelson Mandela International Day, a group of leading human rights experts have called on all States around the world to implement without delay the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: the Nelson Mandela Rules.

The Rules represent a universally accepted minimum standard for the treatment of prisoners, conditions of detention and prison management, and offer essential practical guidance to prison administrations.

“Speedy and decisive steps towards implementation would truly honour the legacy of the great Statesman and inspirational leader Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez; the Special Rapporteur on prisons, conditions of detention and policing in Africa, Med Kaggwa; the Rapporteur on the rights of persons deprived of liberty of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, James Cavallaro; and the Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights, Nils Muižnieks, in an open statement* issued today.

“Their implementation in prisons around the world would significantly improve the treatment of millions of detainees,” the experts stated. “At the same time, it is useful guidance to help prison staff deliver their important and difficult task in a professional and effective way, benefiting society at large.”

Worrying trend shows increased number of child torture victims

An increasing number of child and adolescent victims of torture has been  reported by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT) and the organizations it funds. In 2016, 5,279 child and adolescent victims of torture are expected to be assisted by organizations funded by the UNVFVT.  Continue reading

UN torture prevention body urges Nauru to set up detention monitoring mechanism

The UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) has ended its first visit to Nauru, which focused on the situation of people being detained on the island and the need to establish an independent body to monitor places of detention. During their three-day visit, the SPT delegation visited Nauru’s police station and prison, as well as the Regional Processing Center (RPC) for asylum-seekers, a large facility comprising three separate units housing men, women and families with children who have been attempting to reach Australia. Continue reading

UN Committee against Torture to review New Zealand, Congo, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, Serbia, Colombia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The above are among the 157 States parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As States parties, they are required to undergo regular reviews by the Committee on how they are implementing the Convention and the Committee’s previous recommendations. Continue reading

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. The United Nations has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings.

Continue reading