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Torture

Countries within the simulation that uses means of torture. *Warning: Disturbing content

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What is Torture?

Quaker Concern for the Abolition of Torture / Via qcat.org.uk

The subject of torture remains hugely controversial in today's era of whether or not, torture is justifiable to obtain important information. Torture, by legal definition, "is any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person..." according to United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The motives for torture can be to obtain information or a confession, to punish, coerce, or to intimidate, or may otherwise be for the pleasure of the person inflicting pain. Although torture is prohibited in most countries, some countries still practice it while others have not ratified the treaty. This practice is a serious violation of human rights and is deemed inhuman, degrading, and unacceptable, although, not illegal. (Tiffany)

1. North Korea

The Big Blog of Torture / Via thebigblogoftorture.blogspot.ca

North Korea is perhaps, one of the worst countries in the world in terms of human rights that still practices torture as punishment for both political and common crimes. North Korea is a dictatorship and communist state that is isolated and completely separate from the rest of the world. As such, the country does not abide by international laws and has no intent on changing its ways to satisfy these norms across the world. Torture in North Korea is, therefore, legal as there are no domestic or international laws in place that forbids this practice.

The country has several prison camps dedicated to those who have been accused of committing a crime, even without subject to a fair trial. These camps are known for imprisoning three generations of a family for one member's crime in punishment ("Voices of the damned..." Daily Mail) Prisoners—including those who are born in the camp—are either detained for the rest of their lives in internment camps or sentenced to long-term. The conditions in North Korea prisons are harsh and prisoners are subject to cruel torture and inhumane treatment. They are forced to work in slave labor and if not done correctly, too slow, or an order is disobeyed, these prisoners are beaten or tortured. Forms of torture include ordeal by pigeon torture, forced miscarriage by harsh labor, watching public executions, starvation results in eating live insects and animals, and being used as punchbags. Life in the North Korean camps is, therefore, both mental and physical torture. Prisoners are forced to live in poor and unstable life-threatening conditions. (Tiffany)

2. Iran

Hossein Esmaeli / AP / Via vosizneias.com

The Islamic Republic of Iran has not taken any action in the ratification of the UN Convention Against Torture and therefore, torture and other inhumane practices are practiced in Iran. Human rights in Iran has been criticized since the country does not always comply with international norms of human rights, following Sharia law. Torture is frequently used on political prisoners in Iran either as punishment or to force false confessions. Iran uses medieval torture techniques such as stoning, whipping, amputation and physical threats against family members of which are mostly legal. Women are also raped during interrogations for engaging in political protests ("Human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran." Wikipedia.) Iran is also known for practicing white torture, a psychological torture that makes the individual lose their identity and recognition by placing them in solitary confinement. Several prisoners who have experienced this such as Amir Fakhravar in 2004, says the suffering never stops. Torture is common in all of Iran's prisons, but the Evin prison is perhaps the most barbaric and notorious of them all which holds political prisoners including journalists and protestors. Victims are speaking up about the torture that they faced in the Iranian prison to gain the attention of the UN and the rest of the world ("Iran's Islamic Tortures: 'They Brutally Stabbed Me'" Frontpage Mag.) Thus, Iran is also one of few countries that openly practices torture and other means of degrading acts. (Tiffany)

3. India

ndian police carry a colleague injured during clashes with members of a sect said to have been living illegally at the Jawahar Bagh park in Mathura on June 2, 2016. © AFP / Via rt.com

Although India signed the UN Convention Against Torture in October 1997, the country has yet to ratify the treaty which means they have not given official consent to the agreement and is, therefore, not subjective to the act. While torture in India is illegal, custodial violence is not. Custodial violence in India refers to the torture, rape, death and/or other types of violence in police custody. It is not new in India and it is currently legal under the Indian Evidence Act, the Indian Penal Code, and the Police Act, 1861 which allows authorities to punish detainees to extort information or confession in the custody of the police ("CONCEPT OF CUSTODIAL VIOLENCE AND TYPES OF TORTURE." Academia.edu.) Authorities abuse this power by using excessive force not warranted in law and claiming to interrogate detainees by torturing them.

Custodial violence is one of the worst forms of human rights violations like any other, however, as opposed to other forms of violence, law enforcements are supposed to "protect" their citizens instead of brutally torturing them. With that being said, these victims are helpless and powerless and nothing can be done about it. Instances of torture also include malnutrition, unhygienic conditions, and overcrowding in police custody which may all lead to death. According to Asian Centre for Human Rights in 2002 to 2008, there were four custodial deaths per day due to torture by the police ("Custodial Violence." Custodial Violence in India). Although India has domestic laws that concern torture, torture in the hands of the police is permissible in order to retrieve information from the detainee. (Tiffany)

4. Japan

Australian War Memorial / Via en.wikipedia.org

In the past, Japan has been known for their history of Japanese war crimes during WW2. This involved torture, executions, mass killings, and other atrocious crimes committed by the Japanese. Prisoners were tortured in several ways, either to gather military intelligence, to experiment, or for other various reasons. These inhumane torturing methods included impaling prisoners on bamboos, water intoxication, radiation poisoning and many other methods, all of which lead to death. Japan has since apologized for their actions, showing remorse and solicitude. With that being said, Japan is doing their best to improve their justice system by banning torture, oppression, and other human rights issues in order to preserve peace and humanity.

Japan is among 161 parties that follow under the UN Convention against Torture, prohibiting torture, extradition, and other cruel treatments around the world. However, there have been suspected human rights violations in Japan in terms of punishment. As opposed to India and several other countries that authorize the use of force by police officers, Article 36 of the Constitution in Japan states that "the infliction of torture by any public officer and cruel punishments are absolutely forbidden" and therefore, torture by police officers is punishable ("Human rights in Japan." Wikipedia.). Although this is the case in Japan, there have been suspicious acts of torture that were never reported, especially in police interrogations and in prison. Torture is used in Japan for coerced confessions, treatment of illegal immigrants, and punishment, which are often unreported. (Tiffany)

5. China

A demonstration of form of torture used on Falun Gong practitioners in China (Minghui) / Via img.theepochtimes.com

China has also ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in 1988 and although torture is outlawed, brutality and degradation are common in some prisons. The Chinese government plans on reforming their judicial procedures and reduce torture in prisons, however, this does not seem to be the case. According to the Amnesty International report in 2015, there were several alleged beatings and torture in police custody. Reports have also stated that China has only banned certain acts of torture but there were no specifics regarding psychological torture ("China still uses medieval torture methods against opponents – Amnesty." The Guardian.).

In a recent article, several victims described their experience inside China's correctional facilities and the extreme torture that they faced. One victim was subjected to electric shocks, beatings, medical tests, violent sexual assault, and other forms of torture by prison guards. This was a regular occurrence. ("Prisoners subjected to electric shock, stretching and more." NewsComAu). These victims were incarcerated for crimes such as practicing a different religion and refusing to give up on these beliefs. Although China has denied these allegations and claims that torture is banned in the country, the 2014 Human Rights Watch report says otherwise, revealing that torture was still a routine in China's jails. (Tiffany)

6. United Arab Emirates

Electric Shocks at Labor Camps, Minghui / Via en.minghui.org

The UAE is also one of a hundred state parties that have ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, just recently in 2012. Although the UAE signed this treaty, the country itself does not abide the law. Since 2011, the country has carried out forced disappearances in which both foreign citizens and Emirati citizens have been abducted and imprisoned. This is a huge concern in the UAE as more and more people have been disappearing and being tortured in the country. Several sources state that they were abducted and placed in secret detentions and tortured either through electric shocks, severe beatings, prying off fingernails, sexual abuse and many other vigorous forms of torture. According to research by the human rights group Reprieve, 75% of prisoners in Dubai’s central prison claim to have been tortured (

7. Syria

Torture in Syria has been at an all time high due to the ongoing civil war, but kept a secret due to the fact that it happens at the hands of officials. Amnesty International revealed the horrific secrets hidden inside various detention facilities in Syria. Hundreds and hundreds of prisoners are tortured, abused both physically and mentally, and left for dead. An average of 10 people have been brutally abused and killed on a daily basis in facilities run by trained government officials. Prisoners claim that once you have been detained, officials will do anything they are capable of in order to gain a confession. The goal is to obtain further information on other revolutionaries and protesters. The various methods used to torture these prisoners include: pulling out their nails, hanging them from the ceiling, burning them with boiling hot water, and forcing them to fit into rubber tires. Many die during interrogation, but others die due to the sickness and diseases developing overtime. Several prisoners were also raped, and forced to rape other inmates by the guards. Due to these claims, the military intelligence branches in the cities of Damascus and Latakia were listed as torture centres by the Human Rights Watch in 2012. Amnesty International believes that over 17,000 people died between the months of March and December in 2011 under the custody of Syria. However, the real number could possibly be higher as many deaths have been left unknown. (Juhi)

8. Cuba

The torture taking place within Cuba’s prisons is also quite prevalent. Cuban inmates are forced to live in confined spaces and unhealthy conditions, where they often face all sorts of abuse, as well as alienation. Prison guards also abuse the inmates physically and sexually, increasing the level of torture within Cuba. These inmates are also abused emotionally and psychologically. Many of these prisoners are forced into prison labour programs where they are worked till they drop dead. Furthermore, new detainees are forced to live in degrading condition, where they go days without food or water. These cells are infested with various cockroaches and insects, which affects the physical health of the inmates. Many are also denied clothes and bedding. Families of inmates also have to suffer through suspended visits and phone calls. These means of punishment are deemed completely inhumane as these inmates were detained simply for expressing their political and social beliefs. Recently, the UN commissions on human rights expressed concerns in terms of human rights violations in Cuba, and suggested that the government should allow UN officials to visit the country and address this prevalent issue on torture. After this resolution passed, the commission stated that Cuba did not make any improvements in terms of human rights. (Juhi)

9. Russia

Torture methods used in Russia are quite similar to those used in Cuba and Syria. These include constant beatings, sexual abuse, suffocation, electric shock, and being hit with poles. Some prisoners are also held in solitary confinement, and often blindfolded throughout the process of interrogation. Medical care is needed in order to treat these inmates, however, care is often limited or even completely denied. Furthermore, there have been reports of gay Russian men being taken to concentration camps and tortured. These men were arrested, taken to these camps, and beaten until they confessed to their homosexuality. Many were beat with hoses and poles. The methods of punishment are extremely inhumane in terms of the circumstances. Homosexuals should not be tortured and punished solely based on their sexuality. Inmates should also get a fair amount of humane treatment, and should only suffer harsh treatments under severe circumstances. Russian intelligence groups have also been claimed under terror watch by Human Rights Watch, and should definitely improve their treatment towards inmates and citizens. (Juhi)

10. Mexico

While the citizens of Mexico plead for someone to address the situation of torture within the country, national authorities turn the other cheek and hope that the international authorities will address the situation. Torture is used in Mexico in order to obtain information and get citizens to confess to their crimes. Men and women are stripped of their clothing, held at gunpoint and told that they will be raped. Suffocation, beatings, and sexual abuse is the least of it. Few were told that their families will be brought in and abused and raped as well. Police officials rape, beat, and electrocute many men and women to get them to confess to crimes they did not commit. Tailyn Wang, a torture survivor, claimed that the police officers beat her despite knowing that she was pregnant, and her child came out in a pool of blood. These circumstances are utterly horrid and disgusting. There were over 2000 complaints of torture within Mexico in 2014, but the government does not have hard data or evidence to prove so, and a 600% increase in torture complaints between the years of 2003-2013. Despite these facts, there have only been 7 convictions related to torture in the past 23 years. The government turning the other cheek is simply unacceptable, as citizens look to their nation for security and protection. Mexico does not show improvements in terms of human rights. (Juhi)

11. Nigeria

Official authorities in Nigeria torture men, women, and kids on a daily basis beyond anything any of us can imagine. The severity of torture within the country, initiated by the officials who are supposed to protect these citizens, is unbelievable. According to the Nigeria’s laws, torture is not considered a criminal offence, however, it does prohibit torture under their constitution. This encourages many officials to inflict torture onto others. Through evidence and reports gathered over the last decade, it is stated that there are several chambers where Nigerian police officials torture their citizens, and abuse the power they have as the military. Those that are detained are completely isolated; no connection with the outside world and no communication with their families. The techniques and methods used by these officials is horrific. These include nail and tooth extractions, choking, electrocution, sexual abuse, and regular beatings. In one specific case of a 24-year-old girl, she was taken to a room, told to remove all her clothes, and had tear gas sprayed on her private parts in order to get her to confess to crimes she did not commit. Since these cases are not made public, many stories are not often heard. The Nigerian government is in fact aware of the situation taking place, and has taken actions in order to put a stop to all the torture. However, the process has been extremely slow, and torture continues to be inflicted. (Juhi)

12. Pakistan

The methods of punishment used by Pakistani police may just be as surprising as the countries mentioned previously. Inmates in Pakistani prisons suffer brutal torture at the hands of Pakistani officials on a daily basis. These methods include whipping, extractions of fingernails, rubbing of eyes with hot chilli, brutal beatings with sticks and poles, and tying their wrists together and hanging them from the ceiling. The abuse may get so brutal that the police officials often become exhausted after the interrogation. Police officials are always armed with sticks and bamboo canes. Unfortunately, many of these beatings go unnoticed as they are not reported. This brutality takes place so often that it is now considered a norm, nothing is surprising. In order to put an end to this, the Pakistani government has agreed to sign the UN Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Furthermore, Pakistan launched the Pakistan Police Torture Project which aims to put an end to the police brutality and harsh methods used by these officials. However, victims are still encouraged to come forward and share their stories in order to detain the officials involved. Overall, Pakistan is putting in great effort in order to combat this prevalent issue. (Juhi)

Works Cited

Tiffany

"Custodial Violence." Custodial Violence in India. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

"Human rights in Japan." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Nabi, Irfan. "CONCEPT OF CUSTODIAL VIOLENCE AND TYPES OF TORTURE." Academia.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Phillips, Tom. "China still uses medieval torture methods against opponents – Amnesty." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

"Prisoners subjected to electric shock, stretching and more." NewsComAu. N.p., 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Rafizadeh, Majid. "Iran's Islamic Tortures: 'They Brutally Stabbed Me'" Frontpage Mag. N.p., 12 Oct. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Walters, Guy. "Voices of the damned: These horrifying stories from concentration

camp victims reveal, with chilling clarity, why this week North Korea was likened to Nazi Germany." Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Yuhas, Alan. "UAE beat foreign prisoners and gave them electric shocks, evidence shows." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 26 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.

Juhi

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-war-news-latest-doctor-reveals-horrific-torture-in-prison-as-amnesty-international-estimates-a7196171.html

http://www.cubaverdad.net/torture_in_cuba.htm

http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/10/reports-of-concentration-camps-and-torture-for-gay-men-in-russia-6565025/

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/04/08/russia-police-custody-torture-abuse-441489.html

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2013/06/torture-russia-torture-traditional-component-proof/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2015/10/stop-torture-mexico/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2014/09/nigeria-s-torture-chambers-exposed-new-report/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/oct/08/pakistan-torture-prison

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