The Stop Torture Campaign
Electric shocks. Beatings. Rape. Humiliation. Mock executions. Burning. Sleep deprivation. Water torture. Long hours in contorted positions. Use of pincers, drugs, and dogs.
The very words sound like the stuff of nightmares. But every day and across every region of the world, these unimaginable horrors are the reality for countless men, women and children.
Torture is abhorrent. It is barbaric and inhumane. It can never be justified.
It is wrong, self-defeating and poisons the rule of law, replacing it with terror.
No one is safe when governments allow its use.
Torture occurs when a person intentionally inflicts severe pain or suffering on another for purposes such as obtaining information or a confession, or punishing, intimidating or coercing someone. During 2013–14, Amnesty International recorded at least 27 methods of torture used worldwide, including:
· electric shocks
· stress positions
· water torture/forced suffocation
· sleep, food and water deprivation
· inhumane detention conditions
Torture around the world
There is evidence of increasing use of torture in Nigeria. Amnesty International’s recent research indicates that police and military personnel routinely use torture to extract information and “confessions”, and to punish and exhaust detainees. The authorities apparently lack the political will to adhere to international human rights obligations.
Use of torture and ill-treatment by security and police forces remains widespread throughout Mexico, and impunity rife. Mexico has made numerous commitments to prevent and punish torture and ill-treatment, but these measures are inadequate and largely ignored.
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said at the launch of Out of control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico that complaints of torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico by police and the military have increased by a staggering sixfold over the last decade—and since the war on drugs—to 1,500 last year. He quoted the report saying that torture includes electric shocks, rape and mock executions; making the report a painful read.
For years Amnesty International has been investigating and recording evidence of torture in Mexico. Here are 14 facts from the latest report, Out of Control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico, is full of shocking facts about just how widespread and toxic the problem is.
The use of torture is widespread in the Philippines. State security forces including law enforcement officers torture suspects and prisoners. Justice is out of reach for the vast majority of people who are tortured. Perpetrators are almost never held to account. The country has an extensive legislative framework to stop torture, and the government has pledged to increase its efforts to ensure these laws are implemented.
Torture and ill-treatment is rife in Uzbekistan. Amnesty International receives persistent and credible allegations of routine and pervasive torture and ill-treatment by security forces and prison personnel. Reports suggest that people are tortured when arrested, transferred and awaiting trial, and in detention facilities.
Reparation for torture victims provided in Article 13 & 14 of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT)
UNCAT provides for the right for victims to obtain redress, fair compensation, rehabilitation and the right to make a complaint, to have it impartially investigated, and to be protected from retaliation for making complaints.
Reparation: UNCAT article 13 & 14
- financial compensation
- medical care and rehabilitation
- restitution (seeking to restore the victim to his or her previous situation)
- guarantees of non-repetition and forms of satisfaction such as restoration of their dignity
- reputation and a public acknowledgment of the harm they have suffered
What is Amnesty International doing about torture?
Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International
In May 2014, Amnesty International launches its global Stop Torture campaign to ensure that everyone be protected from torture. In the thirtieth anniversary year of the UN Convention Against Torture, the organization is building on more than 50 years of experience to insist that governments live up to their promises and respect international law. It is urging people to demand a stop to torture.
Amnesty International is seeking the establishment and implementation of effective safeguards against torture as the route to change. When effective safeguards are in place, people are protected. When safeguards are not in place or not put into practice, torture thrives.
In Malaysia our effort is two-prong:
i) To highlight two of the five movement priority cases under the Stop Torture campaign banner:
ii) To call on governments of the world to implement safeguards against Torture, focusing on calling on the Malaysian government to adopt the UN Convention Against Torture.