background document will talk about definition and the history of torture, how
it evolved and understand its position in modern world. “No one shall be subjected
to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” (UN,
Convention against Torture describes it as an act by which serve pain or
suffering is caused, whether physical or mental for obtaining information or as
punishment for committing a crime act (BBC.co.uk, 2017). Torture is a
very sensitive subject. No matter what a person has to say to say about
torture, there is a moral reason why they are not saying it. If everyone is against it,
why would one bring it up and make people think about it and risk changing
their minds? (Shue, 2007).
“There is scarcely for the
finding a savage or primitive race which does not employ torture either in its
religious rites or it’s code of punishment” (Scott, 2013 p56). History of
torture takes us back to the savage life. Tormented individuals were supposedly
‘gifts to the Gods’ (Scott, 2013). The acts of torture back then were very
barbaric and are not used in today’s world. However, torture has been normalized since 9/11 and is still often justified
because of terrorism (Breacher, 2016).
contrary to every relevant international law, including the laws of war. No
other practice except slavery is so reprobated in law or human convention. Yet,
unlike slavery which is definitely still happening but affects a few people,
torture is widespread and growing. According to Amnesty International many
governments are using torture and are independent upon it for their very
survival (Shue, 2006).
It has been said
that everyone in their right mind should believe that torture is wrong. All
over the world, organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch testify, that people are being tortured in pursuit of these ends even as
you read these words. People are too often tortured just for the sadistic pleasure
of it. If there is any way to justify torture, then it is only in the
circumstances of the ticking bomb scenario. The ticking bomb scenario is one of
the most known methods of torture which makes our society believe that torture
acts should be pursued if it involves an innocent group of people. If any form
of torture is justifiable at all, then it’s justifiable when it is the only
possible way of getting the information needed to save lives of innocent
people. Nothing else could possibly make torture okay (Brecher, 2007).
that it is very clear that the ticking bomb scenario shows what is wrong with
this view. A moral theory which permits hundreds or thousands of people get
maimed or killed rather than hurting one person who has the needed information
to prevent such horrendous scenarios. There is definitely more than just one
way of saying what is wrong with torture. There are no exceptions to why
torture will always be wrong. (Brecher, 2007).
There is certainly
more than just one way of saying what is wrong with torture. There are no
exceptions to why torture will always be wrong. Torture treats the victim as a
means to an end instead of an end in themselves. It violets human rights and
dignity of the victim. No one should be put in the position to perform such
acts on other people.
recently there has been unanimous agreement that torture was wrong; regardless
the reason, timing, and place. Or at least that’s what it looks like. It is
said that almost every writer since the early 1970s believes that torture is
acceptable in extreme cases. Many people think torture is justifiable in the
ticking bomb case, and believe that if the torture is non-lethal and you
compare one person to hundreds or thousands of those being blown up and killed,
then it is okay to do so because it’s going to prevent larger group of people
from dying (Brecher, 2007).
The case studies
that this background document will focus on are Freedom from torture in Mexico
and Guantanamo Bay.
has a poor record on human rights abuses. In 2001, Mexico’s National Human
Rights Commission exposed a report on human rights abuses by the government and
security on individuals accused of being left-wing activist between 1970s and
1980s. But the worst human rights abuses happened during presidency of Luis
Echeverria in 1970-1976. The report states detail of torture and forced
disappearance of 532 people. In 1999, the Human Rights Watch published a report
about abuses by Mexico’s authorities; judges, military, federal police and the
state. It has been said that although Mexico bragged about their laws
protecting human rights, including the Convention against Torture, they were
not put into practice. Suspects were tortured and evidence was tampered as well
as extra-judicial executions were performed (Bbc.co.uk, 2017).
Since January 2002, The Department of Defense has held 779 men at
Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Guantanamo Bay was used and the rendition programme
was expanded, this is because the prisoners should be interrogated by the US
military not overseas intelligence as the US argued. The camp’s history dates take
us much further back to when the US and Cuba signed an agreement that gave the
US access to Guantanamo Bay as a naval station. In this agreement, a clause was
found that let the US people the rights to “exercise complete jurisdiction
and control” over the area (Rothman,
methods such as sleep deprivation, beatings, water boarding, slamming detainees against a wall and
threats were used. The details of these acts are sickening. After the CIA released
the reports, a Pakistani man admitted to being sexually abused while being a Guantanamo
prisoner. This abuse was not included in any of the public reports. In 2016, President
Obama proposed closure of the Guantanamo Bay, but never mentioned torture or human
rights violations in regard to Guantanamo Bay (Rothman, 2015).
Torture is a sickening and a primitive
method of extracting information. There are and always will be alternative
methods to extract information from a suspect. It violates human rights and for what could be worse, more humiliating,
disrespectful and disregarding than torturing and breaking people and treating
them like they are not human? With many active human rights activists, people
are becoming more aware of torture and its wrongfulness.
Public awareness has increased
and progress is being made in many areas of the world. For many human rights
defenders and activists, the future is hopeful.