On this day, June 26th, coincides with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which was approved by the United Nations and opened for signature, ratification, and accession in resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984, and applied in 1987, UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
In commemoration of this day, the International Humanitarian Law Center, in cooperation with the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observe, organizes a workshop about the spread of torture phenomena in Libya, and declared in it the launching of the national project to aid and support torture victims.
The day opened up with a word from the chairmen of the Board Mr. Riad Al-Hamdi, in which he stated that of the most dangerous violations that could befall a person would be torture and cruel and humiliating treatment, because of the physical and psychological trauma it leaves, which sometimes leads to death and disablement; therefore, we at the International Humanitarian Law Center were careful to commemorate the International Day Against Torture, so that we could remind governmental and non-governmental organization that humans have a life to live in dignity, and to the satisfaction of the laws and legislations in force. He added, “Despite what difficulties we face in real life, in terms of financial support for the programs and activities the center performs; we promise that we will not give up, nor hold back in constant giving in the humanitarian field, and our motive for that is love for God and country.”
Following was a word from the representative of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Law Observe in Libya, Mr. Musa Al-Geneedy, who wished success for the important workshop and huge project they had gathered to announce its launching, to document the torture victims in Libya. He also stated that despite the local and international laws incriminating torture, this crime still takes place and is common in the world, especially in Libya post February 2011.
He added “…We believe that wrong ideas, beliefs, and behaviors can stop with Human rights work, serious awareness, aiding the victims, and combating punishment aversion.”
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observe reaffirms its insistence with determination, and with cooperating with the International Humanitarian Law Center in Libya, to make the torture combating project work, considering how it is a very disturbing crime on both local and international levels; where the effect of torture doesn’t end with its physical halting, but could turn into a permanent disability, in addition to its deep psychological scars, and their effect in the social ladder through torture’s resulting in distrust for the general masses, and the urge for revenge.
He said in his statement that he was sure that the outcomes of this project will raise the level of human rights, and will contribute to defending victims and tortured parties. He also assured that “We at the Observe will extend the hand of cooperation in partnership with the International Humanitarian Law Center for any operation aiming to develop the laws and essential structures in Libya to solidify a mentality that believes in human rights and dignity.”
The opening ceremony conclusion was a speech by Dr. Hisham Musbah Al-Itry, Vice Head of Human Rights Violations Monitoring Team, Ministry of Justice, in which he commended the part of the IHCL in spreading the culture of human rights, and reaffirmed his support for the launch of the aid and support torture victims project. He added, “We seek to urge the Libyan authorities to take care of protocol, and activate the Convention against torture, and create a realistic mechanism to limit torture in Libya.”
After which Mr. Riad Al-Hamdi announced the actual launch of the project of Aiding and Supporting Torture Victims in Libya, then giving the stage to the Vice Director of the Center Mr. Mohamed Muthfir Ben Ramadan, to reveal more details about the project, in which he explained that the direct effect of torture, being a physical act befalling people, then as its nature of a crime that happens to people leaves large marks, physical and psychological, and both the victims and their loved ones. And to alleviate the severity of these effects and help thousands of victims and rehabilitate them to break free of their crisis, we saw fit to give this crime a great deal of this attention, due to the weakness the governmental institutions are suffering, in toe with the nation’s instability.
As such the discussion session began about the crime of torture, which covered the legal part –local and international-, as well as social and psychological, concerning the victims of torture. It was led by Dr. Mahfooth Al-Towati a member of faculty of the Libyan Academy in Misrata, and with the participation of:
- Faiza Al-Basha, member of the Faculty of Criminal Department, Faculty of Law, Tripoli University, where her intervention on the crime of torture in international treaties and conventions.
- Mokhtar Shanan, Member of the faculty of the Faculty of Law, Azzaitona University, specialized in International Humanitarian Law, and his intervention was regarding Main Roman Convention regarding the International Criminal Court.
- Musa Genaidy, member of the faculty of Misrata University, specialized in International Humanitarian Law, and representative of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Observe in Libya, and his intervention was regarding the national laws regarding the crime of torture and the decided punishment to those who commit it.
- Bahia Kanoon, member of faculty of Tripoli University, who is in charge of the file on Women and Children in the project of aiding and supporting torture victims, and her intervention was on the psychological complications and social effects resulting from the spread of this phenomena.
Covered in the session were types of torture, what the torture victims suffer from physical and psychological issues, as well as forced disappearance and the resulting physical, psychological, and economical effects, suffered by both the apprehended party or their loved ones. The session also covered the strict procedures that need to be taken in the country, and the need to activate and implement them to stop this phenomenon which has become spread in society systematically. The session also covered the part of the International Criminal Court in combatting torture, and the rights of torture victims.
The local law No. (10) of 2018 was discussed, which was issued by the National Conference regarding the prohibition of torture and forced disappearance, as well as the lack of means in Libya to rehabilitate torture victims, and bring them justice.
And on this International Day in Support of Torture Victims, thousands of Libyans remain with unknown fate, suffering the worst of inhumane treatment and torture in secrete holding and detention centers across the Libyan lands, and the center is putting in all efforts to increase the effectiveness of the fight against torture; to create a world free of torture.