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193 member states unanimously support the Danish resolution against torture in the United Nations General Assembly

13.11.2013  02:58

Denmark has again this year submitted a resolution in the UN General Assembly in order to create progress in the global fight against torture. Today, Tuesday 12 November 2013, after lengthy and intense negotiations all 193 Member States of the UN adopted a resolution which strongly emphasises the prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This resolution is particularly important since not all countries around the world have ratified the UN Convention against Torture.

The Danish Minister of Development Cooperation, Mr Christian Friis Bach, states: “I am very satisfied that Denmark once again has had a strong resolution adopted in the UN on the global fight against torture. Regretfully, the use of torture is still widespread, even though an absolute prohibition of torture exists within international law. With this resolution Denmark now put the fights against torture even higher on the agenda and we are focusing on key areas such as torture victims' right to redress and the importance of individuals’ ability to freely contact the institutions working to prevent and combat torture. We must continue the fight against torture and uphold the compliance of the widely accepted international rules - in the UN and in all other relevant contexts. "

Background

The resolution is an omnibus resolution against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Denmark is internationally recognized for its leadership role in this regard. Every time Denmark submits the resolution, we are working to strengthen it, also by adding new topics. In this year’s resolution we have focused on four initiatives.

First, the national and international preventive and monitoring bodies play an important role in the fight against torture. Unhindered cooperation with such entities is, therefore, crucial. There is a special need to protect the contact and cooperation of individuals, groups or associations with these bodies. This year's resolution against torture therefore urges states to ensure accountability for any attempt to impede such cooperation.

Second, states are urged to provide victims of torture full and prompt access to redress, including prompt access to rehabilitation. Access must be ensured both in the state where the torture has been committed, and in the states where victims of torture happen to reside.

Third, all States are encouraged to take effective measures to address overcrowding in detention facilities, since overcrowding can create conditions which may impact the dignity and human rights of the persons deprived of their liberty.

Fourth, the resolution focuses on the changes in the UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners. The current rules are more than 50 years old and therefore partly outdated. The resolution highlights, inter alia, that the amendments to the rules should improve the standards for the treatment of prisoners.

Denmark expects to present a thematic resolution on the fight against torture in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2014.
Read the resolution in its full length here.

For further information on the Danish resolution on torture please contact:
Julie Garfieldt Kofoed, Second Secretary
The Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN
E-mail: julkof@um.dk

Pernille Walther, Head of section
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Human rights Office
E-mail: pernwa@um.dk