On October 12th, Mr. Harrison-Greenwood delivered a statement to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. He commended Ms. Edwards for her insightful report to the UN and reaffirmed the Sovereign Order of Malta’s support for states to cooperate in the extradition of perpetrators, educate law enforcement, and establish national mechanisms designed to aid investigation.
In his statement, Mr. Harrison-Greenwood juxtaposed the robust legal framework for the prevention and punishment of torture with a staggering statistic, highlighting that instances of torture have been reported in three-quarters of UN member states. He posed a powerful question: How is this possible when widely ratified international treaties, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention, unequivocally establish acts of torture as crimes against humanity?
This laid the foundation for presenting the Sovereign Order of Malta’s extensive expertise in aiding victims of suffering. Mr. Harrison-Greenwood elaborated on our experience in providing psychosocial support to Ukrainian refugees and delivering lifesaving medical care to Rohingya refugees living in deplorable conditions created by their government. He illustrated the corrosive impact of state-endorsed human rights violations, shedding light on how they can erode the delicate bond between those who govern and those who are governed.
Mr. Harrison-Greenwood then emphasized the necessity for more stringent oversight from UN mechanisms and increased state compliance in investigating and prosecuting perpetrators. He concluded by posing a question to the Special Rapporteur: ‘How do you plan to stimulate greater state access for the evaluation of national torture prevention mechanisms and detention centers?