Lesson Series 61: The right to be free from torture

The Issue

The right to be free from torture is absolute and constitutes a non-derogable state obligation. Despite this, countries throughout Asia continue to see widespread acts of torture committed by police and military officers. In many countries, policing systems are inextricably bound to the practice of torture. The direct or indirect state sponsorship of torture, violence and ill treatment towards its citizens has grave implications for state-societal relations, as well as for individual well being. In fact, the majority of countries where torture is prevalent are facing numerous political and social crises, including ineffective rule of law, instability and poor realization of basic human rights.

Despite the prevalence and gravity of torture, there is a lack of effective action and debate on the issue. Awareness on how the practice of torture is fundamentally detrimental to the realization of ALL human rights is also missing. It is crucial for public authorities, civil society groups, professionals, academics and ordinary citizens to understand the radical nature of the fight against torture, if other social ills are to be effectively addressed.

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