When we speak of ‘torture as usual‘, this is not meant to be flippant, but to provide backing and examples of Professor Manfred Nowak, former UN special investigator on torture and IRCT Patron, contention that torture is practised in an estimated 90% of countries around the world.
It’s stories of asylum-seekers being denied a haven and returned to countries where they are tortured. It was the case in Egypt, now undergoing a revolution spurned by people who said they would not stand for torture any more. It’s continued impunity for those who torture, fuelled by the poverty of the victims, and is an ongoing struggle for our member centres to prevent torture in climates with no consequences.
Despite these daily examples, we thankfully still have global condemnation of cases of systematic use of torture specifically to stifle growing opposition movements: the case in point being Syria.
At Friday’s special UN meeting, called for after a UN-appointed investigations team found evidence of widespread human rights abuses and torture, including of children, the UN Human Rights Council overwhelmingly voted to condemn the Syrian authorities for their ongoing brutal treatment of its people.
With radical changes continuing in the Middle East and North African region, we have hope for change in Syria.