International Day of Support for Victims of Torture: “We must not leave the anonymous victims in the shadows”

Today’s International Day of Support for Victims of Torture offers us one more opportunity to reaffirm the current relevance of the problem and the need to continue the fight against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, thus contributing to not to leave in the penumbra the anonymous victims that deserve our support. Their right to live freely and without fear of being subjected to torture and ill-treatment requires it, and efforts should be continued to strengthen the legal and institutional framework to prevent it.

The Ombudsman, in particular in its role as a National Mechanism for Preventing torture, has sought to contribute to a greater awareness of society on this issue. Irrespective of the circumstances, there is no justification for any conduct constituting torture and ill-treatment, and it is important to reflect on certain practices in order to prevent them from becoming risk factors.

In this context, in the annual report sent to the Assembly of the Republic, the Mechanism briefly analyzes the main issues that have raised concern in the area of ​​freedom prevention. In prisons, the impact of the prison guards strike, the insufficient supply of individual cells and the need for greater opportunities for prisoner occupation were highlighted. In the temporary accommodation centers, the lack of information on reasons for detention and the state of the process, the lack of legal support, and the lack of contacts with the outside world were highlighted. This lack of contacts with the outside world, along with mental health, has also been discussed in the context of deprivation of liberty in schools.

The openness to constructive dialogue among all, especially those who contact these victims, and the recognition that sometimes small changes can have a huge impact on people’s situations, is particularly relevant here. The consequences of torture extend over time, and it is the responsibility of all of us to relieve them in the name of individual dignity. Intensifying the fight against must therefore be considered fundamental.