John R. Holmes for Human Rights Watch

Torture in the 21st Century Is Horrendous and Barbaric! Stop It!

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We demand torture eradication and strict compliance with the UN Convention adopted on December 10, 1984! 

This is an appeal to the rulers of all countries that still practice medieval interrogation methods and disregard human dignity, respect for the individual, and basic morality. It turns out that there are a lot of such countries. 

Torture must be eradicated on the entire planet. There cannot be any justification for torture and ill-treatment of people. Even a potential threat to national security does not entitle intelligence services to torture suspects and offenders. 

It is astounding that the majority of countries accepted the UN requirements more than 30 years ago, but in fact their legislation and practice changed very little. The UN Committee Against Torture regularly registers systematic complaints of torture. 

Even in Switzerland, where the rule of law is real, police excesses are observed sometimes, citizens endure forced deportation, and other inhumane treatment is registered. 

A striking example of a real place of torture is the US naval base in Cuba, known as the Guantanamo Bay prison for alleged terrorists. Since 2002, prisoners' rights have been brutally violated here. People are tortured in every possible way: with loud heavy metal music, water and cold, sleep disturbance, physical abuse. 

What can be done if the ruling top of a certain country turns a blind eye to the complaints of torture and ill-treatment? How to deal with situations where a certain country pretends that the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment does not exist? 

There is an obvious solution: 

  1. Authorities must prevent torture by all means at the legislative level, instead of promoting it. 
  2. Society must react vehemently to all proven cases of torture and talk about them without fear. 
  3. Law enforcement agencies must investigate such cases thoroughly and professionally, instead of covering up for their colleagues. 
  4. The task of the mass media is to comprehensively and objectively cover this issue at the regional, national, and global levels. 
  5. The guilty must incur real punishment for what they have done, regardless of their status, position, or other privileges. 

It is terrifying to see cruel and inhumane actions in the XXI century. We must stop this immediately, without waiting for a shocking human toll. No more unofficial justification of torture during case investigations, even if important information can be extracted from felons and notorious offenders. You cannot fight crime with crime. And stop torturing innocent people into taking the blame for something they did not commit. 

Torture is a crime, and it must be punished with the same penalty as attempted murder! 



Torture is a crime!