Torture is one of the most barbaric acts of state repression and it co
"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Torture is one of the most barbaric acts of state repression, and it constitutes a direct and deliberate attack on the core of the human personality. Like slavery, it is an expression of the almost unlimited power of one individual over another. In the case of slavery, the human being is degraded to the condition of a non-human object deprived of legal personality. Torture aims to destroy human dignity and reduce the victim to the status of a passive tool in the hands of the torturer.
In ancient and medieval times in Europe, torture was employed to aggravate criminal punishments, usually the death penalty, and to extort confessions. Its use was an officially accepted and legally regulated aspect of the criminal justice system.
Torture was officially abolished in all European countries between 1750 and the 1830. Like the abolition of slavery, its suppression was the fruit of the humanism and rationalism of the Enlightenment. Although torture continued to be applied behind prison walls, there were comparably few allegation so its systematic use in the lane nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Whereas slavery and the slave trade were explicitly prohibited by a number of bilateral and multilateral treaties culminating in the 1926 Slavery convention, torture was so much regarded as a phenomenon of the past that neither international human rights law nor even most domestic bills of rights of this period contained explicit prohibitions.
Torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited in various international treaties and agreements generally considered to have the force of law, among them the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 (CCPR), the 1984 UN Convention against Torture (CAT), the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969, and the African Charter on Human and Peoplesí Rights of 1981. In addition article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 is generally regarded as part of customary international law. The Vienna Declaration and Programme again confirmed in the strongest terms that freedom from torture is a right that must be protected under all circumstances.
Despite this impressive evidence regarding the universality of the right of freedom questions are asked if whether this universal standard can be applied equally to all political systems, religious and cultural groups. The government of certain states claim that amputations and similar forms of corporal punishment provided for by Islamic law do not contravene the right of torture. While feminist groups around the world denounce female genital mutilation, many Africans view the practice as an expression of their traditional culture. In defining torture and other forms of inhuman treatment or punishment, one therefore has to strike universal minimum standards and the requirement to take political, social, religious and cultural particularities into account. This can only be done on a case-by-case basis by the competent international bodies.
Torture and ill-treatment are prohibited by the South Korean Constitution and other domestic laws and since the late 1980s, the South Korean authorities have taken some steps to prevent its occurrence. Generally political prisoners now have access to their lawyers earlier; a small number of police officers have been prosecuted and tried for torturing detainees; and there have been cases in which the courts have ruled that confessions obtained under duress during interrogation were inadmissible as evidence at trial. But in practice the legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures in place have not been effective in preventing it. Changes are urgently needed in practices related to pre-trial detention, training of law enforcement officers and in the traditionally heavy reliance by police and judicial officials on confessions obtained during interrogation. There needs to be a more effective system for investigating complaints and reports of torture and ill-treatment !
and for compensating victims. The South Korean Government should make a declaration under Article 22 of the Convention against Torture, recognizing the competence of the Committee against Torture to receive individual complaints.
Actions aimed at militating against torture needs to be conducted on two levels: (a) eradicating torture in the long term and (b) preventing of torture in the short term. A distinction is made between eradication and prevention as they imply different levels of analysis for the complex social and political phenomenon of
View Full Essay
Abuse, Violence, Torture, Human rights instruments, International human rights instruments, Human rights, Corporal punishment, Use of torture since, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
More Free Essays Like This