COLUMN: Speak up against torture

The harsh suffering that victims of torture face in detention is disturbing and a threat to universal human rights.

COLUMN: Speak up against torture

Today is the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

The Convention against Torture and Other, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment defines torture in the following manner: “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Various individuals commit torture around the globe, such as police and prison authorities, terrorist organizations, groups led by government regimes, and others.

The extent to which torture takes place is appalling. According to Amnesty International, “torture or other ill-treatment [has occurred] in 141 countries over the past five years.”

Furthermore, it has been found that many countries who had signed the Convention against Torture are in fact still engaging in torture and this is in direct contravention to international law.

The harsh suffering that victims of torture face in detention is disturbing and a threat to universal human rights.

Take the case of Claudia Medina Tamariz, for instance, who states that she was tortured in Mexico through electric shocks, sexual assault and beatings.  This is one of many cases of torture that take place in various countries around the world, and the methods of torture that tormentors use are various and extremely cruel.

Victims may have their voices subjugated by those in power. Their legal rights trampled upon, evidence of torture hidden away, and lack of access to medical care are examples of further mistreatment that torture victims face when detained.

Additionally, victims not only face the immediate pain and suffering, but can also suffer from long-term physical and psychological health problems.

Ultimately, many torture victims fail to even get justice for the pain that they have endured, and torturers might not face any prosecution.

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) describes how torture can affect a person of any age, including children, and that it can be prevented through various means.

The IRCT supports increasing justice for victims by holding those who have committed crimes accountable.  Governments are also urged to follow the Instanbul Protocol, which encourages collection of medical and forensic evidence in torture cases.  Torture is simply unacceptable and inhumane, and it is important that we as a society take a strong and unified position against it.

Various international human rights documents, such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights advocate against torture and mistreatment. However, this abhorrent practice continues to take place.

Governments and law enforcement authorities must truly act in the well-being of all.  To use torture to obtain information, get a forced statement, or punish an individual for a crime is not tolerable.  T

To show your support for Claudia, please visit the following link:

To support other victims of torture in their fight for justice, please visit:

On this day, let’s all commit to creating a world free of torture so that the children of this planet can live in a world where no one’s human rights are violated.

Japreet Lehal is a student at Simon Fraser University. He writes regularly for The Leader.


Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP are looking for “an unknown man who wrapped his arms around” a female youth in Clayton Feb. 26. (Black Press file photo)
Youth assaulted by unknown man in Cloverdale

Mounties looking for ‘tall and thin’ Caucasian man in his 40’s with short dark brown hair

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

St. John Ambulance is looking for financial support in its bid to install 1,000 publicly accessible AED devices throughout British Columbia. The stands which hold the defibrillator also contain naloxone and first aid kits. Cost to equip and install each stand is around $8,000. (stock photo)
St. John Ambulance aims to install 1,000 publicly accessible AEDs across B.C.

First of two defibrillators planned for Crescent Beach already in place

Alex Browne photo The felling of two mature Douglas Fir ‘eagle trees’ on Oxford Street, just south of Prospect Avenue, in June of 2019, prompted a review of tree management bylaws and policies now before White Rock council. The trees were felled on instructions from City of White Rock staff, who said the work was necessary because they had become hazardous. (File photo)
City of White Rock mulls ‘tree protection’ bylaw

More stringent measures needed to protect canopy – councillor

Surrey TEDx talks move online with ‘fast-paced’ event that’s free to watch March 27

Last year’s TEDxBearCreekPark attracted 900 spectators to Bell theatre

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read