People perish of torture in Ukraine too
On 14 June in the informational center IREX ProMedia representatives of the Ukrainian Association of Amnesty International (UAAI) held a press conference, where they told that they started a worldwide campaign against torture. In particular, the place of the press conference was declared as a ‘torture-free zone.
These days The UAAI celebrates its seventh anniversary. The first spots of the movement appeared in Ukraine in 1991, and nowadays 41 UAAI organizations operate in the Ukrainian territory. Amnesty International, as a worldwide movement for human rights protection and releasing prisoners of consciousness, by way of attracting the attention of the world public, was founded by Peter Benenson, an English journalist and advocate. After the publication of his article ‘The forgotten captives in 1961 the idea to organize a worldwide campaign for human rights protection was supported in the majority of countries.
During its existence Amnesty International (AI) actively worked on cases of 43 thousand prisoners of consciousness, 40 thousand of them were released. The top priority spheres of the AI activities are the protection of womens and childrens rights, release of all prisoners of consciousness, just trials for all political prisoners, abolishment of the death penalty, struggle with political assassinations and torture. The AI includes a network of professionals – groups of medics, lawyers and other people, who use their knowledge for human rights protection.
In the course of the round table held these days UAAI head Svetlana Kharitonova informed that since 1997 the AI received reports on the application of torture by state officers from more than 150 countries. Torture is widely spread and often applied in more than 70 countries. In more than 80 countries such practices result in the death of the victims. According to Ms. Kharitonova, Ukraine is one of these countries. She added that torture was applied both to the suspects of crimes and to political prisoners, socially unprotected people and dissidents, men and women, adults and children.
Information from 150 countries confirms that the most frequent kind of torture and degrading treatment is beating by police or militia. Some victims die after it. Frequently applied kinds of torture are as follows: rape and sexual molesting and electroshock (in 40 countries), suspending the victim (in 40 countries), beating on the soles (in 30 countries), strangling (in 30 countries), long-lasting isolation (in 50 countries).
The most active torturers are: in 140 countries -- policemen and militiamen, in 40 countries – the military, in 20 countries – so called ‘death squads. During last three years torture and degrading treatment of children was observed in more than 50 countries. The captive children risk much to be raped or sexually molested both by policemen and their cellmates. Since 1997 the Ai received messages from 50 countries on all continents about rapes and sexual use of women by state officials.
During the round table its participants also learned that during the current year the Ukrainian ombudsperson got several hundreds of complaints concerning torture by militiamen and prison guards.
‘Torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment shall not be applied to anybody, reads Article 5 of the Universal Declaration on human rights. The AI appeals to governments of all countries to publicly condemn torture; state officers of all ranks shall declare ‘torture-free zones within the space controlled by them. The Ai also appeals to citizens, who experienced torture and degrading treatment, to turn to the European court of human rights.