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Myths about Torture MYTH 1: Torture is mainly used against terror suspects or during war. THE TRUTH: The focus on torture and other ill-treatment as part of the War on Terror in media and entertainment has skewed the global picture. In reality, most victims of torture and ill-treatment are not terrorists. Usually, they’re poor, different, petty criminal suspects or they have dared to disagree with their government. Torture is mostly practiced as a means of dehumanising enemies, exploitation or political convenience but regardless of the motive, it is never justified. MYTH 2: Torture is a way to get reliable information. THE TRUTH: Often, the information gained through torture is false and misleading, because people will say anything when being tortured. Governments can use a wide variety of humane questioning techniques which have proved efficient, resulting in accurate and useful information without the devastating personal, societal and legal consequences of torture. MYTH 3: Some forms of torture are not that bad. THE TRUTH: Torture does not come in levels. All forms of torture are despicable and illegal under international law. MYTH 4: Only a handful of the worst governments use torture. THE TRUTH: Reading the following content in this edition of Am-Unity, you will see that this is not true. Punishments and acts that can be classified as torture by international law are being used by many countries around the world, including Australia. Over the past five years, Amnesty has reported on torture or other ill-treatment in 141 countries. In some torture is the exception, but in many it is routine and systematic.

What to Know

To date 155 countries have adopted the Convention against Torture – of which 79 still tortured people in 2014. 44% of 21,000 people surveyed from 21 countries don’t feel safe from torture by their own government. Common Methods of Torture

Safeguards against torture

• Electric shock

• Lawyers must be present during interrogations

• Prolonged isolation/solitary confinement

• Doctors must be able to conduct independent medical examinations

• Whipping

• Families must have contact with their relatives in custody

• Mock executions • Cigarette Burns

• Confessions obtained by torture can never be used as evidence

• Sleep deprivation

• Anyone who commits or facilitates torture must be brought to justice

• Inhumane detention conditions • Extreme heat or cold • Boiling water • Medical care denied • Suffocation • Forced abortion and sterilisation

(Information adapted from Amnesty International Stop Torture Myths and Fact, July 2014) To assist Amnesty International’s campaigns against torture follow this link



Profile for AM-UNITY Magazine

Edition 3  

The 3rd edition of AM-UNITY magazine is out now! Just click on the magazine cover on the left to view our latest edition - in it we explore...

Edition 3  

The 3rd edition of AM-UNITY magazine is out now! Just click on the magazine cover on the left to view our latest edition - in it we explore...