Tuesday, June 26, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: 25 Years of UN Convention Against Torture: Human Rights Activists Say "NO to Torture" in Torture Victims' Day Vigil in Trafalgar Square, 6-8pm

26th June 2012 - for immediate release

The London Guantánamo Campaign [1] and human rights activists will hold up banners saying "NO to torture" in over 30 languages at a vigil to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture [2] and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Torture [3] on the north side of Trafalgar Square, outside the National Gallery, at 6-8pm today.

Aisha Maniar, a spokesperson for the London Guantánamo Campaign, says, "After the horrors of World War II, the world said "never, never again", but it quickly changed its mind. Instruments like the Convention Against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights were introduced to make states honour the obligations they signed up to, but the failure continues, particularly on this most basic of rights, to protect the most vulnerable in society.
"In the twenty first century, a pernicious new angle has been added to the practice of torture: outsourcing through extraordinary rendition, an international crime almost all states have played a part in. As well as standing in solidarity, we demand accountability for all victims. The demonisation of victims, as asylum seekers, suspected "terrorists" and insurgents must stop; the true criminals, those guilty of crimes against humanity, must instead be prosecuted.
"The twenty-fifth anniversary provides a good opportunity for reflection, one that is unlikely to be taken. The government's recent introduction of the Justice and Security Bill [4], tipped more in favour of the latter, should not be used as a method of preventing disclosure of involvement in torture and denying victims the right to justice."


1. The London Guantánamo Campaign campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition. http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com/
2. In 1998, the United Nations consecrated 26 June each year as International Day in Support of Victims of Torture: http://www.un.org/en/events/torturevictimsday/
3. The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force internationally on 26 June 1987: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat.htm

4. Justice and Security Bill, published 29 May 2012: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2012-2013/0027/lbill_2012-20130027_en_1.htm

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