In support of torture survivors, Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), as a network member of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, on June 26, 2021 joined other torture abolitionists around the world to commemorate the day in Liberia.
However, RAL says its attention has been drawn to the use of torture as a means of extracting or getting confession and information from accused persons by institutions, including state security apparatuses, private security, local authorities, and traditional groupings, and others.
The human rights organization reminded Liberians and others that torture leads to untimely death, injury and causes one to lie on himself or herself with the believe that he or she is going to be freed when accused.
“As torture is not a good practice, RAL would like to draw the attention of the Liberian Government to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations accepted by the country during its 3rd review in Geneva for implementation. The recommendations called for the abolition of torture in Liberia through legislation,” the organization said.
Meanwhile, RAL is appealing to the National Legislature to monster the courage and have the political will for the domestication of international treaties ratified or signed by the government including the UPR recommendations accepted by Liberia.
“RAL would like to use this opportunity to reawake discussion with lawmakers on its Anti-torture bill submitted to the National Legislature in 2011 for passage into law. The bill seeks to criminalize torture under the laws of the country as it is not a good practice,” the organization further said.
In a release signed by the National Coordinator Sam M. Nimely, the organization further said “Additionally, RAL would also like to prevail on various embassies of countries that recommended to Liberia to abolish torture, to engage the government of Liberia through the National Legislature as a means of adding value to RAL advocacy for the total abolition of torture in the country.”
Torture is a crime under international law. According to all relevant instruments, it is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances.
This prohibition forms part of customary international law, which means that it is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a state has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited. The systematic or widespread practice of torture constitutes a crime against humanity.
26 June is an opportunity to call on all stakeholders including UN Member States, civil society and individuals everywhere to unite in support of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.
RAL is a criminal justice system reform, anti-torture and death penalty abolition advocacy group. The group has membership with several national, regional and international networks/coalitions, including, Transitional Justice Working Group, Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, West African Human Rights Defender Networks, Pan African Human Rights Defenders Networks, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.