Non-state actors, militia groups can be held accountable for torture

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UN Photo/Mark Garten

Non-state actors and unofficial militia who practice torture are not immune from the rules of international law but are accountable for their actions, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned.

Navi Pillay issued the statement ahead of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture observed annually on 26 June.

Under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the crime is prohibited under all circumstances, without exception.

Ms Pillay noted that torture has increasingly been taking place in detention centres set up by unofficial militia and other non-state actors.

Her Office (OHCHR) has recently documented cases of torture by opposition groups in Ukraine and Syria.

These groups include the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) force that has recently made dramatic inroads in Iraq.

Groups like ISIL can also be held responsible for their non-action or failure to prevent to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and to protect the victims.

So far, 154 States have ratified the Convention against Torture and a further 41 States have refused.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’13″

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