New Delhi, Nov 8 (PTI) National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice (retd) Arun Kumar Mishra on Wednesday said human rights institutions have to work collectively to make societies more humane and civil to eradicate the "menace of torture".
He also called for a shift from retributive jurisprudence to restitution, reparation and compensation to provide justice to victims of torture.
Justice Mishra was speaking at the concluding session of the two-day 14th International Conference of the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) on 'Torture and other ill-treatment: The role of NHRIs' in Copenhagen. The conference was organised by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the NHRC said in a statement.
"We have to work collectively to make societies more humane and civil to eradicate the menace of torture... victims (of which) are poor and hapless individuals. To provide justice to victims of torture, we have to shift from retributive jurisprudence to restitution, reparation and compensation," the statement quoted Justice Mishra as saying.
"We owe it not only to present but future generations (also) to take effective steps to prevent torture," he said.
The human rights panel chief said the responsibility to protect the rule of law lies with the state and its core institutions.
There is a "necessity to frown upon the impunity" that promotes torture and ill-treatment. It is also necessary to hold the authorities concerned accountable for their obligations to prevent torture, he said.
"To effectively address the practice of torture, prosecution of perpetrators and disciplinary action is non-negotiable," he added.
Justice Mishra said preventive mechanisms, continuous monitoring and assessment are necessary for systematic improvement of detention centres, prisons and other places.
International collaboration, sharing best practices and evolving strategies to prevent the prevailing physical and mental torture in various forms is essential. Methods of investigation by police need to be modernised, he said.
Correctional staff and community-wise attitudinal change must be inculcated, he said.
"We must ensure transparency in police actions and places of detention. Modern technology must be used to monitor and detect such violations. Slow handling of complaints and delays in the process of the criminal justice system compound the problem," Justice Mishra said.
Sensitisation of judicial officers, senior police officials and law enforcement agencies towards torture and ill-treatment of an individual is the way forward, he said.
NHRIs, judiciary and other supervisory authorities must act along with state machinery, civil society and human rights defenders to address this issue, he said. PTI KND DIV DIV