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On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we recognize the bravery and humanity of victims and survivors of torture around the world.  The absolute prohibition of torture is a human right enshrined in international law.  Since its inception in 1987, 171 countries—including the United States—have become parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which is inspired by Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its core tenet: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”   

Nevertheless, we continue to see governments using torture and other violations of human rights as tools of ongoing repression against political opponents, members of minority groups and marginalized populations, human rights advocates, and those who simply voice an opinion that these governments do not like.  The United States condemns torture wherever and whenever it occurs and strongly urges governments to abide by their international obligations and end impunity for these crimes.  We also underscore the importance of rehabilitation and transitional justice so victims and survivors can transition from horror to healing.  For this reason, the United States is the largest contributor to the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture that provides support to survivors and their families.  

Today is an opportunity for UN Member States, civil society, and individuals around the globe to unite against torture and urge truth, justice, and accountability for perpetrators of this human rights violation.  As long as there are those who would commit torture, the United States will not waver in its commitment to eliminate it. 


U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future