Human Rights Contemporary Issue

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a)Outline the nature of the violation
Torture is a serious human rights violation and is strictly prohibited by international law however it still does continue in majority of the countries around the world. Torture is an act of deliberately inflicting severe pain on someone without any legal causes. Torture is not only physical pain but also includes the act of causing mental pain as well such as threats to family or loved ones. Torture has been used as a punishment to intimidate or control a person. The term torture includes a variety of methods such as severe beatings, electric shock, sexual abuse and rape, hard labour, near suffocation etc. Torture is considered a violation of human rights under Article 5 of the UN UDHR which states ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.

A location in which torture occurs is Guantanamo Bay detention camp (GTMO) in Cuba. GTMO is a detainment and detention facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The facility was established by the Bush administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later in Iraq. It is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo of the United States government in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay. A few torture methods being inflicted upon the detainees of GTMO includes sleep deprivation, beatings, locked in confined cold cells, sexual assault and torturing with broken glass, barbed wire and burning cigarettes

b)Outline the international instruments and mechanisms in place to deal with the violation, and outline how these mechanisms have been breached There are numerous laws in place to deal with events involving torture and the following are the international treaties and mechanisms that determine standards for the human right to be protected from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. According to Article 5 of the UDHR which states that ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ torture is a human rights violation. Torture is a breach of Article 5 of the UDHR as it is an act of deliberate severe pain inflicted on someone to gain information. Methods of torture such as beatings, sexual assault, rat torture, scaphism are all cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment which are prohibited and are a breach of the UDHR.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a treaty adopted by the General Assembly. This covenant elaborates the principles laid out in the UDHR. Torture is a violation of this convention as it is prohibited under Article 7, which states ‘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. As torture is a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment it is classified a breach of this covenant.

The United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is an international human rights instrument, under the review of the United Nations, that aims to prevent torture around the world. It is the principal UN treaty concerned with torture. It compromises 33 articles covering the rights at stake and the enforcement mechanisms. Torture is a violation of human rights as the Article 2 of the convention prohibits torture and no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be raised to justify torture. Torture breaches this article as it torture still exist today even though there are laws prohibiting its occurrence.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against torture (OPCAT) entered into force on 22 June 2006 and is an important addition to the UNCAT. The purpose of the protocol as stated in Article 1 is...
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