Alert Leading Belarusian activist's jail sentence of nearly 15 years confirmed

Detained children at increased risk of torture

Detention centre in Pernambuco State, Brazil © Bianca Moreira

52nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Oral Statement by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

14 March 2023

Mr. President,

The OMCT thanks the Special Rapporteur for her report which highlights good practices but also major challenges to accountability for torture. We would like to emphasize two other significant obstacles to accountability:

First, detained children often lack access to adequate complaint procedures and are not informed of their rights, including not to be tortured. This, added to their specific vulnerability and status, prevents them from even reporting torture to competent authorities. Access to lawyers and contact with families are fundamental to ensuring accountability.

Second, partisan law enforcement, particularly in repressive countries, where torture serves as a mean for governments to stay in power and is a major reason for impunity. Human rights defenders are also increasingly arbitrarily detained and tortured as direct reprisals for their human rights work. The OMCT is particularly concerned that in Chad, one thousand peaceful demonstrators have allegedly been detained and some tortured since last October. In Türkiye more than 200’000 investigations under the anti-terrorism legislation have also been initiated in the last two years.

We further welcome the report’s emphasis on the protection of survivors, victims and witnesses. The number one reason why victims do not complain about torture is fear of reprisals. We recommend that governments include victims who file a torture complaint into their formal victim and witness protection program.

Finally, we are extremely concerned about the arbitrary detentions, torture and deaths in custody in El Salvador, and call on the government to ensure that the state of emergency complies with the State’s international human rights obligations.

Thank you.

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