Human Rights

Topics: Human rights, Torture, Universal Declaration of Human Rights Pages: 5 (1613 words) Published: December 9, 2013
The convention against Torture has not brought an end to states horrific abuse of their citizens. Far from it. Although the convention has not achieved its lofty goals, it has contributed to the almost universal view that torture is an unacceptable practice. The aim of this essay is to critically analyse how the Committee against Torture and the Human Right Committee have both generated a rich jurisprudence on the extent of state obligations related to the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment beyond the traditional view of or preventing the use of torture in interrogations.

Torture has received so many international recognition due to its wide use in the Second World War. Torture is clarly defined in section 1 (1) of the Convention against Torture as ‘…any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession’. Other explanation of torture is that it ‘…is intended to humiliate, offend and degrade a human being and turn him or her into a thing’.1

There is a wide record of the use of torture since the history of mankind. For example, in the Roman law, it was customary to apply torture as a way of uncovering the commission of a crime.2 Also, there were reports of torture being permitted in situations where a confession was needed for a punishment in Japanese and Chinese criminal code.3. Also, the United Nations in its Special Rapporteur on torture in 1987 to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, indicated that torture is a common occurrence in all states.4 However, torture was given a positive view by the Isreali Supreme Court Judge Landau who decided that it was legal to apply torture on Palestinian prisoners to protect Isreali citizens and also fight terrorism. This view was condemned by professor Leibovitz who held that any form of torture should be opposed by all means.5 Another justification of torture is the well-known ticking bomb scenario where it is considered that torture can be applied in situation where a bomb is hidden in a central city and likely to explode if the individual is not tortured to reveal its where about.6 This view is arguably condemned by Theo Van Boven who commented that ‘The legal and moral basis for the prohition of torture and other cuel, inhuman or degrading treatmet or punishment is absolute and imperative and must under no circumstances…be surbodinate to other interests, policies and practices’.7

Due to the terrible abuses that happened during the World War 11, the United Nations General Assembly decided to implement a prohibition against torture, and in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 5 which states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. This ban on torture has subsequently been incorporated into other international and national treaties of the human rights. It is found in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has been ratified by 153 countries. This convention declares that stating “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In Particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation”. The prohibition is also contained in Article 1 of the Convention against Torture (CAT); and also in national treaties like the European Convention on Human Right Article(ECHR) 3; the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ECPT Article 5; the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Article 5, and so much more.This developed is viewed as the most successful international human rights treaties, due to the extent in wjhich laws have been created to prohibite the use of torture.8

The United Nations needed to ensure...
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