A Right Against Torture?

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Explain how you would try to justify an absolute right against torture, and how you would try to meet the main objections to such a proposed right.

This essay sets out to deal with the very important issues raised by the practice of torture in today’s society. More precisely, the point of this paper is to defend a right against torture, of which all people should benefit, and not just any kind of right, but one of an absolute nature.

In order to deal with these issues the essay will firstly justify why and absolute right against torture is mandatory from a philosophical point of view as well as a methodological one. Secondly, this essay aims to present its defences and critiques against the main objections to this proposed absolute right. In achieving both goals the paper will present empirical and normative evidence of why people from all over the world should benefit from this absolute right, and not just in writing, but also in practice.

Before venturing forth with the arguments necessary to defend the absolute right against torture I will explain the term of ‘absolute right’ as it is needed so that everyone understands the importance of such a right and even more, so that everyone can acknowledge the gravity of infringing upon such a right.

An absolute right is a right that cannot be infringed upon under absolutely any circumstances. The right against torture qualifies as such an absolute right under agreements such as the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights), the UKHRA (UK Harm Reduction Alliance) and the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). There are today 192 signatory states of the UDHR; these states are legally bound to respect all of the articles of this document. The main problem is that even though all of these states have signed the declaration, there have been reports between 1997 and 2001 of torture being practiced in 140 countries. It is therefore sad when we come to the conclusion that even though this right is one from which these people should have been protected from, that has not happened and it has not been enforced, but severely infringed upon in many of the states it should be guaranteed. An absolute right against torture as far as I am concerned should not even be defended in any kind of way, but instead it should be implied, it should be a given and it should not be a topic of conversation in any corner of the world. The reasons why I will always try and be a stalwart defender of such a right are many. The two main arguments I would like to propose in order to defend this right are the fact that torture constitutes an incredibly immoral and degrading practice, and that furthermore, torture practised in today’s society will halt, at least on some level, the capability of human beings to progress. The world has evolved from all points of view, today we live in a world that has significantly improved technologically, a world that has seen major improvements in ways of thinking, a world that is now more human rights based than ever, and yet the same world cannot seem to be able to let go of one of the most backwards practices it has ever invented, torture. The status-quo of today’s world is not violence as it was in the Middle Ages, on the contrary, we live in a world that has more and more tried to enhance its defence of human rights and to reduce the as much as possible the unnecessary use of force, terror and violence against humanity and not only. Perhaps if we had all lived in the Middle Ages, the practice of torture would not seem as appalling as it does to so many people today. I strongly believe that torture is wrong no matter what approach I take. Torture is immoral and fundamentally wrong and it has both short-term and long-term disastrous consequences on all human beings – not just those people it is used against. Although torture has been declared an illegal it has been used many times. This means it happens in an undisclosed manner, people do not really know...
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