Torture is when someone puts another person in pain as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something. This pain may be physical or psychological. People who have been tortured often suffer from long term physical problems or mental health issues and the person may even die.
Reasons for torture change
Reasons for torture can include punishment, revenge, political re-education, deterrence, and interrogation. Victims or third parties may be forced to take actions against their will. Torture may for the sadistic gratification of those watching the torture.
Torture for information change
A common reason for torture is to get information from the victim, for example, to get confessions or the names of accomplices. Information got by torture is unreliable, because people suffering tend to say whatever the questioner wants them to say. Nevertheless, it was used for centuries by all kinds of societies. It was authorised by the Christian Church during the Inquisition from 1252 to 1816.
Present day change
Almost all countries agree that torture is a violation of human rights and one of crimes against humanity. On 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 5 states, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". To ensure human rights protection against torture, the Convention against Torture has adopted by United Nations in 1984.
Amnesty International is the leading non-governmental organisation against the use of torture. It has regularly reported on which countries it thinks still use torture. It says "Over the last five years, Amnesty has reported torture in at least three quarters of the world - 141 countries".
- Amnesty International.