Freedom from torture and degrading treatment is something that we have taken for granted over the past few centuries. That is applicable, of course, if we belong to the privileged class. Torture is something that tends to annihilate the person’s physical and mental sense of worth. It also denies one of their inherent sense of dignity.
United Nations has always looked down upon the practice of torture as inhuman and vile. It has been regarded to be a crime under the law. There have been numerous laws passed so far that ban torture under any circumstances. Even the person charged with the most heinous crime does not deserve to be tortured as a punishment, such is the verdict of human rights advocates.
So, is freedom from torture a good charity drive?
Over the past few years, freedom from torture and forced labor has gained worldwide attention. Many charity drives have been conducted to fund the issue.
Human Rights And Freedom From Torture
Freedom from torture was adopted while strictly condemning it by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United Nations General Assembly adopted policies that guarantee freedom from torture and degrading treatment in the Declaration passed in 1948.
Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organizations have been known for their strong stand against torture. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly went on to legally adopt yet another Declaration. This declaration stated that all human beings were to enjoy protection and freedom from torture.
Cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment was also prohibited under this Declaration which was upheld by the United Nations General Assembly.
What Do International Laws Say About Freedom From Torture?
There are several covenants, declarations, and treaties that address the issue of Freedom from Torture. These are extremely binding on the member nations and one must face punishment if not following these rules.
The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights
The Declaration lays down that no one should have to face torture or any sort of inhuman treatment. It has also been stated that no punishment should be of such nature.
Article 7, International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights
The Covenant lays down the same rules as the declaration. Torture has been considered to be an unnecessary element when it comes to basic human transactions of a day to day life.
The Covenant Against Torture And Other, Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment Or Punishment
This Covenant goes as far as describing exactly what elements would be considered to be torture. Torture is said to be anything that includes inflicting the following.
- Severe pain.
- Mental as well as physical torture, or either one.
Such torture is usually inflicted on one,
- To extract information or any form of confession.
- To punish them or anyone else for any harm that they have caused.
- Torture on the ground of suspecting a crime is even worse.
- The victim is coerced.
- Discrimination is also a part of the torture.
However, torture, in this case, is considered when it is being inflicted by a person who is,
- In an authoritative position.
- Who has been directed by a government official,
- When the person inflicting torture is an official,
- Or when the motive behind the torture is official.
Torture shall not be considered to be so when being carried out as a means of lawful sanction.
The Standard Minimum Rules For The Treatment Of Prisoners
This was officially adopted at the first Congress of the United Nations in 1955. These rules dictate what is to be considered acceptable behavior when prisoners are serving time.
The common areas that the rule adjudicates are the following.
- Standards to be followed for registration.
- Proper separation of the detainees as well as their classification.
The accommodations provided to the prisoners. This list includes sanitary settings, provisions for food and drinking water, personal hygiene requirements, proper clothes, and beds for prisoners to sleep on.
- Special provisions are also to be made to facilitate their religious practices.
- Provisions for education, exercise, and sports are to be looked after.
- Medical facilities are being stressed. The treatment of mentally unwell people is also considered essential under the rules.
Declaration On The Protection Of All Persons From Being Subjected To Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman, Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment
This declaration was passed in 1975. It bans all forms of torture that are meted out to people. However, lawful sanctions have been excluded from the list. It also lays down that the standard rules are to be followed.
The Code of Conduct For Law Enforcement Officials
As the name suggests, the code lays down the guidelines that are to be abided by in case of the use of force, when law enforcement officials are using firearms, and during medical treatments.
Article 5 of the Code calls for the following provisions.
- A law enforcement official is prohibited from tolerating any act of torture or degrading treatment. The duties performed by the officials while maintaining these guidelines might as well be termed freedom from torture jobs.
- Any act of threat to a person, to the nation, or to national security by means of war and aggression is also addressed under the Code.
- The Code gives one complete coverage and protection against torture and degrading treatment.
And It’s A Wrap!
Torture can be life-altering for many. The severity of the effects of torture and degradation has been studied by many. Racial and gender-based torture has been observed to be rampant in the community.
African-Americans, Hispanics, Indians, Asians, and Native Americans often tell their stories as to how they have grown used to being harassed by law enforcement or government officials for no apparent reason.
Freedom from torture and degrading treatment has thus become the need of the hour now more than ever.
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