|This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable. It is long overdue that a day be dedicated to remembering and supporting the many victims and survivors of torture around the world.||”|
—Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
The day was selected by the United Nations General Assembly for two reasons. First, on 26 June 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed – the first international instrument obliging UN members to respect and promote human rights. Second, 26 June 1987 was when the United Nations Convention Against Torture came into effect.
The decision to annually observe the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was taken by the UN General Assembly at the proposal of Denmark, which is home to the world-renowned International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).
The first 26 June events were launched in 1998. Since then, dozens of organisations in dozens of countries mark the day each year with events, celebrations and campaigns.
On July 16th, 2009, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was chosen as a public holiday in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Every year the IRCT monitors the campaign plans of organisations around the world and towards the end of the year publishes the 26 June Global Report where it describes the events held in commemoration of the day. According to the latest 26 June Global Report (2010), at least 38 countries around the world commemorated the day with conferences, workshops, peaceful rallies, cultural and musical events, events for children, etc.