The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is celebrated on June 26 every year. Torture, which is one of the cruellest crimes against humanity, is especially abhorrent because it violates the victims’ personhood and deprives them of human dignity. In order to brutally assert the perpetrator’s dominance over their victims, it is frequently employed as a coercive and dehumanising technique.
The United Nations declares that torture is always unlawful and never acceptable, regardless of the situation. This prohibition is enforceable by all nations, including Pakistan, as it is a part of customary international law. In order to remind nations of their commitments under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, June 26 has been designated as a day of support for torture victims.
Pakistan has ratified this agreement. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s own legislative attempts to end torture, which Amnesty International has called a “endemic” scourge, have frequently failed.
The Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention and Punishment) Bill was approved by the Senate in July of last year with unanimous consent.
The law was introduced by Sherry Rehman of the PPP with the assistance of Shireen Mazari of the PTI, who served as the then-minister for human rights. Given that it garnered support from both parties, it was anticipated that the legislation would swiftly pass the National Assembly before being signed into law by the president. It is regrettable that it has been almost a year and we still haven’t seen it become a law.
There is no doubt that the state must significantly strengthen its oversight of legal and criminal proceedings in order to stop torture carried out by those working for the state. The fact that physical or psychological torture is now practically accepted in police and intelligence investigations is a good indicator of the level of the rot in our system.
Because the state did not make sure that those responsible with investigating crimes and gathering evidence did their duties while abiding by the legislation they are expected to uphold, the sickness has spread.
Exploitation of forced “confessions” is frequently the simplest approach for torturers to resolve open cases because they risk little or no punishment.
Other times, the strategy is employed to “teach a lesson” to people the government has designated as “undesirables,” such as journalists and dissidents.
The Senate’s anti-torture law from the previous year aimed to abolish this impunity-based mentality. It outlines exact definitions of what constitutes torture as well as severe penalties that are intended to deter potential offenders.
If adopted, it would encourage police, intelligence, and other security organisations to conduct thorough, legal investigations in order to support their charges against suspects while also providing some safety for detainees.
The United Nations declares that torture is always unlawful and never acceptable, regardless of the situation. This prohibition is enforceable by all nations, including Pakistan