Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
FYI, per the provisions of Article 1 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the term “torture” is defined as follows:
“…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.”
And the provisions of Article 2 of this Convention further prohibit torture, specifying explicitly those special circumstances such as “state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency” [Art. 2(2)] or “An order from a superior officer or a public authority [Art. 2(3)] which cannot be invoked to justify torture.
Thus, International Law seeks to prohibit torture under any circumstances at any time, while further specifying (per the provisions of Article 14) that redress must be provided for all victims.
Despite all of these provisions of international law prohibiting and sanctioning torture, the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture will channel, in 2016, “a total net of US$ 7.1 million to 178 projects providing victim-centered services to more than 47,000 victims, both adults and children, in over 81 countries” [UN Fund]. And the theme for the 2016 UN International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture emphasizes the real possibilities of transitioning from “From Horror to Healing”….
UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
UN International Day in Support of Victims of Horror
UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture