International day in support of victims of torture: organizations helping Ukrainians

June 26, 2022

On June 26, 1987, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment entered into force. It became an international tool for the protection of human rights against any torture under any conditions and circumstances. And June 26 became the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. 

Torture is phenomenon that causes torment and pain to a person, regardless of the circumstances and purposes, regardless of whether the punishment ends with this procedure or is followed by death. Torture is one of the most serious forms of attack on the mental and physical integrity of human beings. 

Torture is subject to a universal prohibition under international law. And in situations where such acts are committed and are associated with an armed conflict, they constitute a war crime. 

The Ukrainian people have been subjected to many ordeals, and the torture, abuse and inhumane treatment of our citizens continues even during the full-scale invasion by the Russian Federation. More and more military personnel (as well as civilian Ukrainian citizens), who were released, testify about torture, interrogations, threats, beatings, administration of unknown drugs, rape and other atrocities committed by the representatives of the aggressor state. We also have evidence that Ukrainian political prisoners illegally imprisoned by the Russian Federation are being tortured.

Despite the fact that Ukraine does not yet have targeted state programs for the care of victims of torture and inhumane treatment, there are a large number of Ukrainian and international organizations that provide medical, psychological and social support. 

Ukraine without Torture is an organization which aims to develop a network of monitors of the national preventive mechanism from among public activists; to improve the conditions of stay and reduce the cases of torture of people in places of detention; to promote standards of proper treatment. 

Blue Bird NGO  — specialists of the organization provide comprehensive social, psychological and legal support to survivors of captivity, their family members, families of the missing and the dead.

HealthRight International  provides access to treatment for the survivors of torture (improvement of condition, mitigation of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms). They also work with the families of victims.

International Medical Rehabilitation Center  provides free medical and rehabilitation assistance to victims of torture and ill-treatment, victims of war or victims of gross violations of fundamental human rights and family members of such persons.