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Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 5
Torture is legally defined by the UN as the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering on another. Perpetrators of this terrible act are almost never convicted of anything, and they continue to walk free as the government does nothing. The creativity of humans is boundless and torture ranges from beating to humiliation to sticking needles underneath a victim’s fingernails. Across the world today, and for thousands of years past, people are tortured by the governments they trust to protect them, whether directly or indirectly.
Torture is rife through human history, very diverse in nature, and its popularity as a method of persuasion and a form of punishment has continued through time. Torture as punishment has been common since ancient times, and throughout human history. Since the beginning of civilization, torture has been present. Romans had crucifixion, Egyptians had desert sun death, and in medieval times, the creativity of torture blossomed (History of Torture). In China, ling chi, or “death by a thousand cuts” was a torturous execution method involving the removing of small bits of skin until the victim died that was used for hundreds of years until its ban in 1905 (Eldridge). The creativity of torture is immense. A report of a victim being force-fed a mop and another report of the joints of victims being attacked with electric drills has been recorded by Amnesty International in their 2014 Stop Torture media briefing. But people are tortured for many reasons. Victims are often targeted for their opinions or their religious and political views, or possibly for just being who they are. Those whose ideas differ from the ideas that control the government are at a higher risk. But victims can also be government officials tortured by rebellious armed groups (Amnesty International 11). The “who, what, where, when” of torture is very difficult to pin down, because of its vast history and structure.
Governments preside over justice and are often involved in ill-treatment. During King Hassan II’s rule of Morocco from 1961 to 1999, thousands of his political enemies were unlawfully imprisoned incommunicado and tortured (Jelloun). At Abu Ghraib, a US military prison in Iraq, Iraqi men, women, and teenagers were tortured and Humiliated by US military personnel (Hersh). People that threaten the government are targeted to ensure that the government retains control. The events at Abu Ghraib were acts of terror that instilled fear of the US in many Middle Eastern people. Governments are frequently the perpetrators of ill-treatment, as it tends to be advantageous to them and governments have the authority to make it happen.
International legislation binds many governments to the standard of never tolerating torture, but one of the biggest issues with eradicating torture is the government’s refusal to acknowledge its existence. Amnesty International’s Stop...