Torture and ill treatment: The ICRC’s position and commitment

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is dedicated to preventing and addressing torture and all other forms of cruel, inhuman, degrading, or humiliating treatment in armed conflict and other situations of violence. While these practices are universally banned, they are still widespread. Not only do they leave long-lasting scars on the victims and their families, but they can also destroy the social fabric of communities and be an obstacle to peace and reconciliation.

Here, we outline some fundamental facts about torture and other forms of ill-treatment and the measures the ICRC takes to combat these abuses.

Torture and ill-treatment – Understanding the reality

The legal side:
Torture and all other forms of cruel, inhuman, degrading, or humiliating treatment are universally prohibited under international law, encompassing both international humanitarian law and international human rights law. This absolute ban underscores that no political, economic, security, cultural, or religious arguments can ever justify such practices. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment constitute an intolerable outrage upon the victims and upon human dignity itself.

The consequences for the victims and their families:
Torture can inflict severe and often irreparable physical and psychological harm on the victims. People who have suffered torture or other forms of ill-treatment often require long-term rehabilitation to recover, and some never do. Families are often the unseen victims of such abuses as they fear for and feel the pain of their loved one, are agonized by a profound sense of helplessness, and are sometimes shattered by the breakdown of their family structure.

The consequences for communities, societies, and their future:
Torture and other forms of ill-treatment can destroy the social fabric of communities or entire societies, generating hatred and fueling cycles of revenge. The consequences of these abuses hence last long after a conflict has ended and can create an obstacle to reconciliation and a peaceful future.
The ICRC’s Actions Against Torture and Ill-Treatment

Engagement with authorities:
The ICRC actively engages relevant authorities and influential stakeholders to prevent and stop abuse. This engagement is conducted in a strictly bilateral and confidential manner to build trust and ensure cooperation. We strive to persuade authorities to uphold judicial guarantees and procedural safeguards to ensure humane treatment of detainees and improve the conditions of detention, as well as to investigate alleged incidences of ill-treatment and hold the perpetrators to account.

Detention visits and support to the victims:
The ICRC conducts regular visits to places of detention to monitor the treatment of detainees and their living conditions. We speak privately to victims of torture and other forms of ill-treatment and seek to restore their human dignity by understanding their needs, ensuring access to medical care and humane conditions of detention, as well as re-establishing contact with their families. Once released, the ICRC may support the rehabilitation of victims of abuse and refer them to organizations that specialize in this field.

Preventive measures:
In addition to direct interventions, the ICRC supports the establishment of national preventive mechanisms and advocates for comprehensive and effective legal frameworks that prevent torture and all other forms of ill-treatment. By promoting robust legal standards and awarness reminding of the absolute prohibition of such practices, we strive to create environments where such abuses are less likely to occur.

The ICRC remains dedicated to its mission of ending these practices, upholding human dignity and supporting those affected by torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

Source : Icrc