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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > June
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 26, 2003


United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

June 26 is the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, commemorating the date in 1987 when the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into force. The United States became a party to that Convention in 1994 and there are now 132 parties.


The prohibition of torture is a basic principle of international law, and is not subject to negotiation or compromise. The United States not only condemns and prohibits torture, but also urges other countries to abide by the prohibition of torture.

The United States helps the advance toward a world free of torture by a number of means, including a $5 million contribution to the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. In addition, we support torture victims’ treatment centers in the U.S. and abroad, provide funds to the Center for the Victims of Torture’s global project on New Tactics on Human Rights, and press for progress through our bilateral diplomacy. The Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices report impartially and forthrightly on incidents of torture worldwide. The Department’s new report Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record, released this week, details what we are doing around the world to address the worst human rights abuses, including torture. These efforts engage both governmental and non-governmental organizations and promote effective action in the fight to end this scourge and assist victims and their families.

We continue to be appalled by the actions of governments that use torture or turn a blind eye to its occurrence. They may try to escape international scrutiny and accountability for their actions, but as long as torturers around the world spread fear and suffering, the United States will not waver in its commitment to eliminate torture.


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