With leaders around the world condoning torture, including in democracies such as the USA, the Philippines and Brazil, it is more important than ever that the UK stands up for the beliefs and ideals it has championed and fought for.
The UK has a proud tradition of upholding human rights, justice, and offering protection to those fleeing torture and persecution. Winston Churchill and British lawyers helped to cement that when they were instrumental in the development of the European Convention on Human Rights in the wake of the atrocities committed in the second world war.
Dangerously, extremist views and the rise of populism, both in the UK and globally, are threatening our long-held British values and putting the rights of vulnerable people, like those who have survived torture, at risk.
In May, the United Nations Committee against Torture slammed the UK government for its failure to meet international obligations to prevent torture and ill-treatment.
It's time we stand up for these values and create a country we're proud to call home, and that our politicians do the same.
I believe the UK should be a place of safety for people who have survived torture
The UK must:
- Be proud to offer safety to people forced to flee their homes because of torture.
- Ensure a fair system that gets decisions on asylum claims right first time. The people making decisions about peoples' lives must not reject them unfairly and send them back to torture.
- Give people who have been tortured the chance to rebuild their lives and become part of our society. To do this, it must help them access therapy, healthcare, education, legal support and a safe and secure home.
- Not lock-up people who have already suffered terrible abuse. Survivors of torture should never be detained for immigration purposes.
- Stand up to governments and our leaders when they commit or enable torture or turn a blind eye to it. Torture destroys peoples' lives. We believe that trade agreements should never take priority over people’s rights. Nothing can ever justify torture.