For or against today’s torture?

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The act of torture exists for thousands of years. It is used in order to force someone to talk or do something. According to the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), torture is “the intentional infliction of severe mental or physical pain or suffering by or with the consent of the state authorities for a specific purpose.”

 Examples of torture:

Waterboarding: a harsh interrogation technique in which water is poured onto the face and head of the immobilized victim so as to induce a fear of drowning.

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–  Sensory deprivation: Consist of removing stimuli (light, sound, smell) from one or more of the senses.

– Starvation and thirst: the deprivation of a prisoner to eat or drink.

Sleep deprivation: The forced deprivation of someone’s necessary amount of sleep has been used in the interrogation of terrorist suspects to make them more amenable to providing information or confessions. […] The effects of sleep deprivation range from irritability, confusion and a decreased ability to concentrate, to loss of consciousness resulting from the failure of red blood cells to transport oxygen to the brain.

There are dozens of tortures’ methods still used today.

For the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), “Torture and ill treatment violate the most basic principles of humanity and of respect for human life and dignity, which must be preserved at all times.”

Amnesty International, a nongovernmental organization focuses on human rights, states that “Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (other ill-treatment) are violations of human rights, condemned by the international community as an offence to human dignity and prohibited in all circumstances under international law.”

Are you concerned about today torture happening around the world?

What is happening today?

* African women, children and man who suffer from torture, rape or sexual abuse in Egypt, suffer from devastating conditions.. (“Report: African torture victims held under devastating conditions in Israel”, Nov 5, 2012)

* In Libya, refugees face torture. According to Amnesty International, “refugees, asylum seekers and migrants […] are being subjected to serious human rights violations that extend far beyond what they experienced under Muammar Gaddafi. Plus, “During five months Amnesty International visited nine detention centers across Libya and talked to detainees, who say they are being subjected to torture and beatings.” (‘Activists ring alarm: Refugees face torture and exploitation in post-Gaddafi Libya’, Nov 14, 2012)

* World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is currently running 10 days of activism against torture. (“Launch of 10 days of activism against torture“, Dec 2, 2012)

* Amnesty International created an interactive map which gives details about the World’s Human Rights based on a the 2012 report

UntitledHow do you react to torture act occurring in the 21st century?

The Geneva Convention  had been revised from the April 21 to August 12, 1949 for the “purpose of revising the Convention concluded at Geneva on July 27, 1929, relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War”. It is stated that (Art. 3, 1.a) “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture […] shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever”.

Despite the fact that it is forbidden to torture people, many countries still use it. I personally think it is unethical to use such horrible methods in order to have information. Prisoners should not be treated like that as it is extremely too violent for humans. It is against the human rights. Plus, “Experts say torture victims can develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and symptoms such as social withdrawal, confusion and sleep problems.” (CNN, ‘Torture’s psychological impact ‘often worse’ then physical’, May 22, 2009)

Fortunately, some NGOs fight against the use of torture:

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and its interactive map. They are currently leading urgent campaigns.

Amnesty International (AI). As discussed earlier, AI fights for the protection of human rights. On the 26 June, 2005, they launched a campaign against torture ‘war on terror’.

International Committee of the Red Cross. They also fight against torture or ill treatment methods.

On the 17th of November 2012, an article was released on The Guardian, about torture methods that George Bush agreed on.

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I then found (on The Atlantic), that according to John Kiriakou who torture Abu Zubaydah, “everything was very closely monitored and approved up the chain of command. The president absolutely knew and approved of the waterboarding. President Bush personally authorized the torture of a prisoner, via the Deputy Director for Operations of the CIA.” The script of John Kiriakou interview is worth reading it to have a vision of the situation..

Extract:

BRIAN ROSS: And did you know the CIA officers feel without a doubt you had the legal right to do what you were doing?

JOHN: Absolutely.  Absolutely. I remember – I remember being told when – the President signed the – the authorities that they had been approved – not just by the National Security Counsel, but by the – but by the Justice Department as well, I remember people being surprised that the authorities were granted.

I knew about torture, but after hours of research I can more easily see today’s situation. What I can say is that it is really sad and unbelievable to see and read such terrible and horrible stories today. Torture should be banned everywhere no matter what the person did. Alternative should be found. But torture must be stopped!

Type on Google Image “Today’s torture”, it is unbelievable (again)..

The interactive map (2012) done by Amnesty International (above) clearly shows what is happening today..

Tell me what you think about the whole subject.. Do you think it is ethically right to torture people to have information?

Don’t you think torture acts lead prisoners to say what the torturer wants to hear?

Do you think torture is a real issue today?

Claire Guidicelli

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