Joint Report on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture Asia Alliance against Torture and Ill-treatment June 2021

I. Background

The Asia Alliance Against Torture (A3T) is a collaborative movement to build and connect a community of human rights lawyers against torture in the Asia region and foster the sharing of advocacy strategies and experiences to build capacity for reform and ensure freedom from torture in Asia. A3T was created with various similarities of context and challenges in different member countries in Asia, perpetuating an impunity environment. However, at the same time, member countries have a rich experience of human rights advocacy and litigation, which provides opportunities to work collaboratively to fight systemic issues of torture and inhuman, degrading, and other forms of ill-treatment. It also enables countries in the region to learn from one another through shared strategies and tools and build meaningful collaborations.

Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. Torture certainly has a negative impact on many aspects, such as physical health and mental health. Victims also suffered material and immaterial losses.

The international community has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings. In the international human rights context, efforts to provide human rights protections related to the right to be free from torture are obligations that every country must fulfill as a state obligation. In its report on the Peremptory Norms of General International Law (Jus Cogens, the International Law Commission) lays out a non- exhaustive list of what are considered peremptory norms of general international law prohibition of torture.

In addition, there are already established instruments related to the prohibition of torture, namely through the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Optional Protocol and The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Joint Report on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture A3T

Despite the absolute prohibition of torture under international law, torture persists in all world regions, including Asia. The sea of impunity creates an insufficient condition for survivors of torture. The national mechanisms have not fulfilled their promise of justice. The victim experiences atrophy of justice. Although many long for some form of justice, they adjust their expectations and become helpless. Their genuine participation in the long journey to justice is the key to breaking the cycle of impunity.

From the general explanation above, there is still a trend of torture practices in several countries in Asia. The laws and regulations do not help to decrease this trend. To make matters worse, the law enforcement members are the agents that often execute torture practices. Therefore, the following chapters will elaborate on the legal framework and case studies on torture practices in Asia.

The report can be accessed here