IAN Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims organised a press conference and a public performance in order to commemorate the 26th of June, UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Manager of the Centre, Branko VujadinoviŠ, pointed out at the conference that since the year 2000 more than 7.500 victims of war of persons affected by the war passed through the IAN Centre. Among them, 2.500 experienced torture during the war. Last year 675 persons received psychological and medical assistance in the Centre. "Victims of torture are extremely sensitive to various psychological problems and they quickly develop various psychological disorders the most frequent of which is posttraumatic stress disorder", said VujadinoviŠ and added that the victims often suffer from anxiety disorders, depression and they are also prone to alcoholism and addiction diseases.
One of the speakers at the conference was Mr. Pierre Dybman, Head of Operations I in the Delegation of the European Commission in Serbia who said that the attitude towards torture worldwide has changed because of the terrorism. Public researches have shown that people have become more tolerant to torture, and they even justify it in some cases.
Head of the Department for treatment and alternative sanctions in Prison Administration within the Ministry of Justice, Mr Damir Joka, said at the conference that there have been complaints of the prisoners to the excessive use of force in cases of disrespect of the house rules or when separating quarrelling groups.
Joka added that the climate in prisons has been changing in the last four-five years, and there are less and less cases of use of force.
At the conference Marijana đoriŠ, IAN Lawyer, introduced the public with all important international documents that regulate the issue of torture, emphasizing the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture as an instrument whose aim is to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Branko VujadinoviŠ invited the Parliament of Serbia to form an independent body for monitoring the situation in prisons. He said that this was the obligation of the State according to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against torture that Serbia has signed.
In the afternoon the IAN activists organised a performance in Knez Mihajlova Street during which four activists originating from different countries of the world were locked in a cage for half an hour with the aim to remind the citizens that torture does not recognise the nationality, and that we need to fight torture and provide necessary assistance to the victims.