“Governments around the world are two-faced on torture – prohibiting it in law, but facilitating it in practice” says Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, speaking at the launch of their new ‘Stop Torture’ campaign.
Unfortunately, he’s not far wrong.
Since 1984, 155 states have ratified the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), one of the most important human rights documents in ridding the world of torture. Yet today, 30 years after its creation, more than half of the states party to the convention are still practising torture.
According to a new global survey from Amnesty International, 79 signatories of the UNCAT are still torturing. And despite a global legal ban on torture, those 40 UN states who have not adopted the convention are torturing too.
To stop this, Amnesty’s ‘Stop Torture’ campaign uses stories from survivors of torture and data collected from their global survey to call for the end of torture.
Amnesty’s survey found nearly half (44%) of respondents – from 21 countries across every continent – fear they would be at risk of torture if taken into custody in their country.
But conversely, the survey also revealed that attitudes towards torture must change to allow concrete changes to ill-treatment practices. The vast majority of respondent (82%) believe there should be clear laws against torture, however more than a third (36%) still thought torture could be justified in certain circumstances.
“Torture is not just alive and well – it is flourishing in many parts of the world,” Mr Shetty continues. “As more governments seek to justify torture in the name of national security, the steady progress made in this field over the last thirty years is being eroded.”
Since its inception the IRCT has worked across the globe to prevent torture and to provide rehabilitation and redress for the survivors of torture. As Amnesty International’s research shows, there is still a long way to go to completely stop torture. For the change to happen, states need to provide protective mechanisms to prevent and punish torture.
Amnesty International’s global work against torture will continue, but will focus in particular on five countries where torture is rife: Mexico; Philippines; Morocco and Western Sahara; Nigeria; and Uzbekistan.
Over the coming months Amnesty will publish reports with specific recommendations for each country to form the spine of the campaign.
For more information on the Stop Torture campaign, click this link.