Unity State marks day for victims of torture

26 Jun 2013

Unity State marks day for victims of torture

26 June 2013 - A week-long series of events to observe the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture ended today in the Unity State capital Bentiu.

The events, which included an art competition for students and drama performances by local groups at two schools, the police headquarters and Bentiu Prison, were organized by the UNMISS Human Rights Division and the Unity State Human Rights Commission, with support from the Ministry of Social Development, Gender and Child Welfare.

A procession through Bentiu town today ended at the Governor's office, where students performed skits about the dangers of torture and winners of the drawing competitions received their prizes.

The solution to ending torture in any part of the world lies in education, Governor Taban Deng Gai said.

"To stop torture, we need (to) change our mind (sets)," said Mr. Gai. "If you have seen your mum being beaten by your dad, I am 80 per cent sure you are going to beat your wife. All this can be stopped if we get education."

On 20 June, the state's Human Rights Commission Chairperson Thomas Wicjial called on students at Rubkona Secondary School to report any cases of human rights violations to the commission.

Students at the school said they appreciated the lessons that they received about human rights and torture and pledged to share the information with others.

"I have learnt many things.... which will be helpful to me and my community," said Kai Diu Kuon, a 19-year old student. "I will (tell) my community to avoid bad practices like torture."

Unity State Deputy Police Commissioner Brig. Gen. Peter Jany Ruot said that police officers were reminded during training that it was their duty to serve and protect people and their property, but not to beat or torture them.

In his message to mark the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged UN member states to step up efforts to assist all those who have suffered from torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.