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Human rights Government urged to protect victims of torture better

Activists

Activists handing in the petition supporting victims of torture

(Keystone)

A citizen’s petition demanding that Switzerland adopt United Nations global standards when it comes to protecting victims of torture has been handed in to the Swiss government by activist organisations. 

The activists want the Swiss government to adopt the so-called Istanbul Protocol, which regulates the practical protection of victims. It allows the authorities to verify the statements of victims of tortures reliably, wrote the Christian human rights group ACATexternal link in a statement on Tuesday. 

Torture victims are often severely traumatised and unable to give a consistent account of their experiences without contradicting themselves in the process. It was therefore important to apply reliably, scientifically proven standards to evaluate their statements, the group said. 

“This is exactly what the Istanbul Protocol offers,” wrote ACAT, citing UN special representative Nils Melzer. 

The petition was signed by 4,667 people and handed to Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga in Bern. 

Several human rights organisations are behind the petition, which was also supported by the Basque activist Nekane Txapartegi, who was released from a Swiss prison last year after having been held in custody for 17 months.

swissinfo.ch/ln

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