Government spearheading new anti-torture initiative

A new initiative to combat torture has been founded, with Denmark at the helm

Denmark is working alongside Chile, Ghana, Indonesia and Morroco to ensure that the 40 members of the UN that have not yet ratified the 1987 convention against torture do so, and that the countries that have ratified the treaty live up to its demands. The movement, the CTI (the Convention against Torture Initiative), has set a ten-year target for the goals to be realised.

“We’re in it for the long haul with our eyes fixed on the goal,” Martin Lidegaard, the foreign minister, said in a press release.

"We aim to stand here again in ten years and celebrate that all states in the world are parties to the Convention against Torture and we are all better at implementing it.”

Becoming a hub of knowledge
The CTI will operate in a number of ways to support the government's attempts to ratify the anti-torture treaty, UNCAT.

One of the ideals is that the countries form a “hub of knowledge” to collect and develop best practices and inform countries of guidelines.

The CIT will also work as a vehicle to appraise the improvement of torture prevention by states that have ratified the convention and as facilitators to assist governments in the implementation of UNCAT.

The CTI has established a ‘platform of friends’ for those who wish to support the initiative. Norway, Togo and Tunisia joined earlier this month in Geneva, and  yesterday Costa Rica, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK also joined.

Responsibility for future generations

Chile, which has a history of torture, was motivated to join the CTI in order to pave the way for a better future for its country.

“Some years ago, my country experienced the systematic practice of torture,” Heraldo Muñoz Valenzuela, a former ambassador to the US, told media.

“This experience made us more aware of our responsibility vis-à-vis future generations to make Chile a country where every one of the inhabitants can live without fear of suffering torture.”

Notably, the US has not expressed any intention to support the Convention against Torture Initiative, although it is one of the 155 countries that has already ratified the convention.