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From the field

International Day in Support of Torture Victims

Saturday, 26 June, is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

On 12 December 1997, the UN General Assembly formally adopted a resolution marking 26 June as the day each year for the global community to support victims of torture. The objective of the annual observance is to hasten the end of torture and achieve complete implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which took effect on 26 June 1987. Israel and 105 other UN member states have signed and ratified the Convention.

Despite its ratification of the Convention, Israel (through its General Security Service, security forces, physicians, and attorneys) continues its systematic and institutional use of torture during interrogations, torturing at least 850 Palestinians each year. It maintains this policy despite the Convention's absolute prohibition on torture, whatever the circumstances.

The methods of torture used by Israel include deprivation of food and sleep, painful tying-up for prolonged periods, exposure to extreme heat and/or cold and/or loud music, beatings, violent shaking, psychological pressure, threats against the detainee and his family, and poor sanitary conditions. These interrogation methods result in severe and long-term physical and emotional pain and suffering.

B'Tselem calls upon the Israeli government to cease immediately the use of these interrogation methods. The time has come for Israel to join the international community in bringing an end to the physical and psychological suffering.